If you would like to skip the “rates and FAQs” section and proceed to the application process, please refer to the “technical resources” section at the bottom of this page. You will need the free Adobe Reader application. (A link is provided to the Adobe Reader site as well.)
Tourist Oriented Directional (TOD) Signs
Advance Sign: The first or primary sign a business has in any given direction of travel is known as the Advance sign. This blue sign is usually ¼ mile from the intersection. It has a directional designation, (e.g. Next Left), and all or part of the registered business name. On the billing invoice, these signs are referred to as “ADV”.
Intersection Sign: The secondary sign a business may have in any given direction of travel is known as the Intersection sign. If a business is not visible from the intersection where the motorist turns off of the highway, they may require an Intersection sign. This blue sign typically includes a directional arrow, and all or part of the registered business name. When necessary, mileage is also indicated below the arrow. On the billing invoice, these signs are referred to as “INT”.
The placement of Advance and Intersection signs is determined by an engineering study of the highway.
Where navigation is difficult, multiple Intersection signs may be necessary.
If more than one TOD business requests a sign at the same intersection, four boards may be installed on the same Advance or Intersection posts.
What are they?
TOD signs are seen as alternatives to billboard advertising by many businesses, but in fact they are classified as traffic control devices and must meet all regulations set by the Federal Highway Administration and State sign standards.
Many confuse these signs with advertising; but as you can see, they are not. They must fall within the restricted requirements of federal and state sign regulations or the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) can lose a percentage of its federal funding.
TOD signs consist of a blue sign panel with white letters stating the name of a qualified tourist oriented business or activity or qualified historical or cultural feature together with directional information located on non-interstate, rural highways.
Do I qualify for a sign at my selected location?
Unfortunately, signs may not be available at all locations. Federal and state rules govern sign placement, the number of signs in any given area, and what types of businesses are allowed on signs. We will work with you to research availability, and place you on a wait-list if applicable. There is no charge to apply for a sign permit or to retain your rank on the wait-list.
How long does it take to get TOD signs?
It all depends on the variables involved. In addition to our criteria and roadway review process, new sign installations require an ODOT engineering review. Our goal is to turnaround sign applications within 30 days. ODOT is allowed another 40 days on reviews which are forwarded to them. Once approved, the timetable adjusts based on the time required to fabricate the signs and have them installed by a specified sign crew. The total estimated time for the entire process is 90-120 days.
What does it cost to have TOD signs?
Annual permit fees are based on the highway traffic volume and area population where the facility is located. See the TOD sign rates page for more information.
How does a facility qualify for TOD signs?
A qualified tourist oriented business is a facility that offers a cultural, historical, recreational, educational or entertaining activity, or unique and unusual commercial activity whose major portion of income or visitors is derived from motorists not residing in the immediate area of the business.
A qualified historical feature is a district or property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A qualified cultural feature is an approved museum.
Typical TOD businesses include art galleries, wineries, golf courses, and amusement parks.
Businesses offering gas, food, lodging, and camping services must apply for logo signs – not TOD signs. If your business is within the categories of a typical logo business, review either the Interstate Logo or Off-Interstate Logo application packets. Please note that eligibility, qualifications and criteria for Logo signs differ significantly from TOD signs.
What is the minimum level of services required for TOD signs?
A qualified tourist oriented business must have:
If my business is seasonal and only open part of the year, can it still qualify for TOD signs?
Yes! If your business is closed for 30 or more days consecutively you may qualify for seasonal rider signs or your signs will be covered with blank panels during the closure. Please indicate on the application the dates your business would be closed.
What areas or locations are considered eligible for TOD signs?
TOD signs may be installed along non-interstate, rural highways as long as the signs meet highway sign spacing requirements.
TOD signs cannot be placed in an area that is urban in nature; therefore, businesses located in “downtown” areas may not qualify because of the urban congestion that would negate our ability to install a sign.
There are some places in the state that have been determined “full” and additional signs are unlikely due to the congestion of signs already installed. Some of those locations are: Bandon, Coos Bay, Florence, Newport, Lincoln City, Seaside, Astoria, McMinnville, Dundee, Newberg, Sherwood.
Are TOD signs allowed on interstate highways or expressways?
No. TOD signs are restricted to secondary highways that are not classified as interstate highways or expressways.
How far away from the highway can a business be and still qualify?
A business must be located within one mile of the intersection where the TOD signs are installed. However, a facility may be eligible for an approved waiver up to a distance of fifteen miles from the intersection.
How can motorists find my facility if it is not visible at the highway intersection?
A typical TOD installation consists of two signs in each direction at locations along the highway near the facility. First, a TOD sign in advance of the intersection is placed approximately 1/4 mile prior to the intersection. This sign, referred to as an “advance” TOD is required and provides motorists with the information needed to allow them adequate time to slow down and begin a safe turning movement off the highway. A second TOD sign, called an “intersection” TOD is placed near the intersection and provides additional guidance to the motorists by using a directional arrow and distance to the facility.
What if a motorist can see my facility, but I simply want a sign to let them know I’m up ahead?
To qualify for TOD signs, a facility must not be visible or recognizable to the motorist within 300 feet of the approaching intersection or access to the facility. If there are road conditions (brush, trees, etc) that hinder the visibility within that 300 foot area, the business may qualify for signs.
How much advertising can be put on a TOD sign?
None. Only the facility’s Registered Business Name or a portion of that name is allowed by Federal standards.
What if the business name changes?
If a replacement is requested by the customer due to a name change, a fee of $100 per sign is charged to cover the costs of manufacture and installation of the new TOD signs.
Can private clubs have TOD signs?
No. Only facilities open to the general public are allowed signing.
The following application and cover letter (explaining the TOD category) are available for you to download on your computer. To read PDF files, you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is free downloadable software on the Adobe solutions website and will help you to print out your application and fill in by hand. Unless you have Adobe Pro (a paid software component) you will not be able to fill in the above permit applications on your computer. The files have not been formatted to allow for this. If you would prefer documents in Word, which may be filled out on your computer, please use this link. Please contact our office if you experience any difficulties printing your brochure and we will mail you one.
Visit our Highway Business Signs main information page for links to other highway sign permits administered by Oregon Travel Experience.