In the United States highway system, all U.S. and interstate routes are signed with the same basic design, but the numbered state routes have signs that differ from state to state. The designs range from simple circles and squares to silhouettes of a president (Washington), a sunflower (Kansas), and a miner's spade (California). Similarly, each of Canada's 10 provinces, as well as the Yukon Territory, have distinct symbols for its highways.
The designs of highway markers for all 50 states, the District
of Columbia, all of the Canadian provinces, and the Yukon Territory, as well as several countries, are
available at this site.
How I first set up this web site
When I was attending Caltech, a fellow Techer, Wei-Hwa Huang, had a folder that shows all of the state highway route markers. From this page of the folder, I scanned each state's route marker separately as a black-and-white image, "hand coloring" them if necessary. Then I cleaned up each image (Minnesota's sign and Kansas's sunflower required total overhauls) and converted them to GIFs. It was a very long and tedious process, but the dramatically improved quality of the pictures was well worth it. Most of the images which I have since put up has gone through the same, manual process, except the photographs, which were scanned in and put up without much processing.
Why I set this web site up
Back in 1996, I regularly read the Usenet newsgroups misc.transport.road and, before that group was formed, misc.transport.urban-transit. In those two groups, I saw a couple of threads on the shapes of state highway signs. When someone said, "Oregon's is kind of an upside-down triangle, but rounder," or "Utah's is a beehive," I wondered, "Wouldn't it be great if someone had a Web site so we could see these things for ourselves?" After searching the Web without any success, I decided to set one up myself.