Standard Highway Signs and Markings

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The Standard Highway Signs and Markings book (SHSM, sometimes SHS) is a document published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This document defines standard layouts, symbols, and other features of United State traffic signs and pavement markings.


The first reference in the US defining standard layouts of signs at a national level were a set of exhibits published in conjunction with the "Manual and Specifications for the Manufacture Display and Erection of U. S. Standard Road Markers and Signs", published by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) in 1927. The "Manual on Street Traffic Signs, Signals, (and) Markings" published by the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety (NCSHS) also included layouts for several standard signs.

in 1952, the Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) published a "Standard Alphabets for Highway Signs" book. This contained geometric layouts for standard Federal Series sign lettering from Series A through Series F.

In 1961, full editions of the Standard Highway Signs and Standard Alphabets were published by BPR, incorporating the signs in the 1961 MUTCD.

In 1972, a full edition of the Standard Highway Signs book was published by FHWA, incorporating the signs in the 1971 MUTCD.

In 2004, a full edition of the Standard Highway Signs and Markings book was published electronically by FHWA, incorporating signs and pavement markings in the 2003 MUTCD and new mixed-case Federal Series alphabets. A supplement was published in 2012 containing signs added or revised in the 2009 MUTCD.


The 2004 SHSM book is structured as follows:

  • Cover
  • Table of Contents
  • Regulatory Signs
  • Warning Signs
  • Guide Signs
  • Emergency Management and Civil Defense Signs
  • School Signs
  • Appendix
  • Blank Standards
  • Design Guidelines
  • Standard Alphabets
  • Pavement Markings
  • Object Markers
  • Known Errors

State-Specific Versions

A number of states have developed their own standard sign manuals, which either supplement or supersede the SHSM.

List of State-Specific Traffic Sign References


External Links

Standard Highway Signs and Markings, 2004 Edition and 2012 Supplement