RIDOT explains how companies get on those blue highway signs

RIDOT explains how companies get on those blue highway signs

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has specific guidelines about how companies are able to get their logos on blue highway signs such as this one near Exit 22 in Cumberland. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

Ever wonder how businesses are selected to have their logos included on those blue signs next to the highway?

In response to an inquiry from The Breeze, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation is shedding some light on what it calls the Specific Service Logo Sign Program.

According to RIDOT spokesman Charles St. Martin, about a dozen businesses each year apply to be on the signs. Applications are only rejected if a sign is already full of logos or a company doesn’t meet the criteria found in an application, such as that their business be open a certain number of days per week and hours per day, have public restrooms, and be located within three miles of an exit ramp.

Asked if businesses have to reapply to stay on the signs, St. Martin said RIDOT routinely checks businesses to make sure they are still open and in compliance. There is no renewal process, he said.

“We spot check the businesses to make sure they continue to meet the criteria,” he said. “The companies pay for the installation of the signs and their maintenance.”
He declined to provide information on what businesses have been rejected or how many are being rejected each year.

The Specific Service Logo Sign Program, according to the state’s brochure, is designated to provide information about gas, food, lodging, camping, or 24-hour pharmacy services available at the next interchange. It is not intended to be an advertising service, according to RIDOT, but is intended to give motorists driving on the highway information on what’s available within easy distance of the exit.

The logo panels themselves must convey a clear message and aren’t accepted if they don’t. Only one type of service is allowed to be displayed on a logo.

No descriptive advertising words, phrases or slogans, including lounge, senior discount, Wi-Fi or anything constituting advertising beyond a business name and logo are permitted.

Editor’s note: In the know is a new feature we hope to run periodically to explain things you pass by every day. Please feel free to send ideas on items you’d like to know more about to ethan@valleybreeze.com .