The earliest road signs were milestones, giving distance or direction; for example, the Romans erected stone columns throughout their empire giving the distance to Rome. In the Middle Ages multidirectional signs at intersections became common, giving directions to cities and towns.

Traffic signs became more important with the development of automobiles. The basic patterns of most traffic signs were set at the 1908 International Road Congress in Rome. Since then there have been considerable change. Today they are almost all metal rather than wood and are coated with retroreflective sheetings of various types for nighttime and low-light visibility.

New generations of traffic signs based on big electronic displays can also change their symbols and provide intelligent behavior by means of sensors or by remote control. These "road beacon systems" (RBS) are based on the use of RFID transponders buried in the asphalt to allow for on-board signalling and interaction between the car and the road.

Yet another "medium" for transferring information ordinarily associated with visible signs is RIAS (Remote Infrared Audible Signage), e.g., "Talking Signs®" for print-handicapped (including blind/low-vision/illiterate) people. These are infra-red transmitters serving the same purpose as the usual graphic signs when received by an appropriate device such as a hand-held receiver or one built into a cell phone.

Road Sign value and price guide

What's your 'Road Sign' worth? Here are some recently sold items (Australia).

Picture Title Date Sold for
36 Interstate 81 And Route 11 Highway 09/2019 AU $294.10
18 Route 66 Sign Double Neon Clock Drive 08/2019 AU $235.26
Road Work Signs 08/2019 AU $170.00
Emergency Truck Light Road Work Sign Tow 08/2019 AU $170.00
Matchbox Lesney Accessory Pack 4 S 07/2019 AU $159.00

See all sold items for more prices.

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