Roadway Typography

matteson's picture

Just a general question:

I was in a pub the other night sitting next to an old photograph of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive from the late 1920s. The words on the roadway (not the signage) read from top-to-bottom. It seems these days it always reads from bottom-to-top (at least in the States). Anybody know when/why* this changed occurred?

*I'm assuming it's because bottom-to-top is how you encounter the words while driving, but was there some sort of research, government committee, etc.

hrant's picture

Maybe it has to do with how fast you're going over the stuff?


kakaze's picture

I don't think I've ever seen a highway sign reading from bottom to top.

Isaac's picture

>(not the signage)

matteson's picture

Yeah, not the signage. The words on the actual road. Like:




.00's picture


matteson's picture

>how fast you're going over the stuff

Because it's also in bike lanes, I don't think that's it. I mean, I ride pretty fast some mornings when I'm running late, but not that fast ;-)

>It works either way.

It does work 'functionally' both ways, but grammatically it only works the one way.

Anyhow, I just found it curious. I had assumed that it had always been bottom-to-top.

kakaze's picture

Nevermind, I'm blind.

I don't think I've ever seen signs on the road like that either, but I never really pay attention. The only ones I can actually remember right now are the ones that say SCHOOL, but they're only one line.

Dan Weaver's picture

The signs in Manhattan that are on the road do read Lane Bike, and Xing Ped. I think its because of the speed the cars go. A side note I can ride my bike faster across town than a car can go, but what the cars do is go as fast as they can between red lights. Why, I have no idea.

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