Will state roads ever become highways?

Europe: differences between the colors of the motorway signs

I am now traveling in France and - like every Italian - the first thing we learn when driving on motorways is that the traffic signs have a different color.

In this case in particular, it is quite difficult because motorways are green in Italy and blue in France, while state roads are exactly the opposite (blue in Italy and green in France).

I rummaged around a bit and found a nice page on Wikipedia that lists all (very many) street signs (not just highways).

There is also a reference to " European Standard for Traffic Signs - EN 12899-1: 2001 Fixed, vertical traffic signs - Part 1: Fixed signs, requirements "(no link could be found on the Internet), which is expected to see the 2007 EU standard for road signs.

So I'm still amazed that European countries still have such different characters (colors, dimensions, etc.) in the real world.

Does anyone know if something is being worked on? Should we ever have common EU road signs?

Tor-Einar Jarnbjo

@pnuts: Not really related to this question either. The Vienna Convention only defines motorway signs with white letters on a green or blue background and gives no instructions on the color for "normal" roads, with the exception of signs with dark letters on a light background or vice versa. Both France and Italy have ratified the convention and follow these rules.

Daniele B.

wow ... hot and difficult question ...


One view is that the signs are actually remarkably similar. Apart from a few details that are unlikely to change anytime soon, such as the writing, the colored background on the signposts, a bit of yellow here and there and of course the use of the local language for text information, many things are completely harmonized. You can easily recognize a warning sign as a warning sign, prohibition, speed limit, etc.


I seriously doubt there will be any work to unify the characters. The benefits are debatable (see the Wikipedia article you linked) - it's really easy to understand the characters in different countries - and the cost of changing all the characters in even one country is huge.


Costs are not an issue, just add some taxes ... and of course you can have a long transition period where any new signs placed or replaced will conform to the new design while old signs stay in place. This was indeed the case in the Netherlands, where several different designs were used side by side for decades.