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Retroreflectivity 101

Reflecting 101

Reflectivity 101
When it comes to traffic signs there are basically 3 grades of reflectivity, EGP or Engineer Grade Prismatic, HIP or High Intensity Prismatic and DGP Diamond Grade Prismatic, each are explained below:
EGP - Engineer Grade Prismatic Reflective Sheeting
  This material is also referred to as "Type I Reflective". Engineer Grade Prismatic reflective is used for non-critical signs like parking and private property subdivisions. The "Engineer Grade Prismatic Reflective" has an approximate reflectivity of 500 feet. This material is durable and will reflect at night when light hits it. Our signs are .080" or 1/16" thick with an engineer grade prismatic reflective sheeting applied over the surface. Signs will never rust and have a minimum life span of 7 years. Signs meet State and Federal DOT's "Type I Reflective" specifications.

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HIP - High Intensity Prismatic Reflective Sheeting
  This material meets the Department of Transportation's "Type III & IV reflective" requirements. This material has an approximate reflectivity of 250 foot-lamberts per square inch which in feet is approximately 1,000. This material is durable and will reflect at night when light hits it. It is ten times more reflective than EGP, Engineer Grade Prismatic reflective sheeting. The Type III and IV are usually required for higher speed roads like highways. Signs are .080" or 1/16" thick with high intensity prismatic sheeting applied over the surface. Signs will never rust and have a life span of 10 years.

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DGP - Diamond Grade Prismatic Reflective Sheeting
  This material has an approximate reflectivity of 1,000 foot-lamberts per square inch. Diamond Grade is used on high speed interstate roads. Diamond Grade shapes can be seen from approximately 1500 feet and overall reflectivity can be seen from one mile away at night. This material is durable and will reflect at night when light hits it. It is the brightest reflective sheeting offered. It is 5 times more reflective than HIP, High Intensity Prismatic reflective sheeting. Signs are .080" or 1/16" thick with prismatic reflective sheeting applied over the surface. Signs will never rust and has a life span of 10+ years. Signs meet most State and Federal DOT specifications.

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Does your signage meet the latest DOT specifications?
Effective Now:
  Your traffic devices must conform to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
   - If public travels on private property that you own or manage
   - Includes shopping centers, offices and apartment complexes

The key here is: "If the public travels on it"


 The minimum reflectivity for non-critical signs like parking signs, is EGP, or Engineer Grade Prismatic.


For critical signs like traffic signs, HIP, High Intensity Prismatic or DGP, Diamond Grade Prismatic.


  Personal Injury or loss of life in an area where traffic signs fail to comply with new Federal standards will result in exposure to tort liability. Visit www.minimumreflectivity.org for more information regarding minimum reflectivity bylaws.

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New MUTCD Requirements For Street Signs:
  - Minimum reflectivity of HIP, High Intensity Prismatic
  - Combination of upper & lower case letters
  - Font Style must be “Highway Gothic” (Effective Jan 2016)
Incorrect Correct
Other MUTCD Street Sign Recommendations:
  - Roads with Speed Limit of 40 mph or less
      6" initial letter height
  - Roads with Speed Limit of 25 mph or less
      4" initial letter height
  - Roads with Speed Limit of 40 mph of greater
      8" initial letter height for post mounted signs
      12" letter height for overhead street name signs
Reasons For New Retroreflectivity Requirements:
  -  Signs more visible to nighttime drivers
        More than 50% of fatal traffic accidents occur at night
  -  Signs more visible to older drivers
      65 year old drivers require 4 times the amount of light
      to see a sign at night as a 25year old driver
  - Signs more visible in inclement weather
Timeline to Implement New Requirements:
  - January 22, 2012
       Roadway owners must have a sign management plan
       in place
  -  January 22, 2015
       Regulatory, Warning and Post-Mounted signs must
       meet retroreflectivity requirments
  -  January 22, 2018
       Street Name signs must meet retroreflectivity
       requirements. If signs meet retroreflectivity
       requirements and are in all capital letters, they may
       remain in service for the remainder of their useful life.
           After the end of their useful life signs should be
           replaced with a combination of upper & lower
           case letters.
Questions of the reflective sign kind?
Contact us, just click here!

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