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What are the colors and the meanings of pedestrian signs?

Pedestrian signs are an important part of regulating foot traffic and ensuring safety for those traveling by foot. These signs use colors, symbols, and words to communicate vital information to pedestrians about regulations, warnings, and guidance. Understanding the meaning behind pedestrian sign colors and symbols is key for pedestrians to navigate safely and properly.

Regulatory Signs

Regulatory pedestrian signs instruct pedestrians on what they must, shall not, or should do. These signs establish legal requirements for pedestrian behavior and are enforceable by law. Regulatory signs use the following colors:

Color Meaning
Red Prohibitive – indicates behaviors not permitted
Blue Mandatory – indicates required pedestrian behaviors
Green Permissive – indicates allowed optional pedestrian behaviors

Some examples of common regulatory pedestrian sign colors and meanings:

  • Red circle and slash – No pedestrians allowed
  • Blue pedestrian symbol – Pedestrians must proceed in direction indicated
  • Green arrow – Pedestrians may proceed with caution

Warning Signs

Warning signs alert pedestrians to conditions that might result in hazards or unsafe conditions ahead. These signs help pedestrians proceed with appropriate caution. Warning signs use the following colors:

Color Meaning
Yellow General warning of potential hazards ahead
Fluorescent Yellow-Green Pedestrian warning signs, school zones, crosswalks
Fluorescent Pink Warning related to road construction

Some common warning sign colors and meanings for pedestrians include:

  • Yellow diamond – Warns of curves, hills, intersections, crosswalks ahead
  • Yellow-green – School zone or pedestrian crossing ahead
  • Pink – Temporary conditions related to road work

Guide Signs

Guide signs provide helpful information to pedestrians to orient themselves in an area and safely reach their destination. Guide signs use the following colors:

Color Meaning
Green Indication of pedestrian facilities, trails, paths ahead
Brown Indication of cultural, historical, recreational sites ahead
Blue Indication of roadways, highways, or RV services ahead

Some examples of guide sign colors and meanings for pedestrians:

  • Green pedestrian symbol – Pedestrian pathway/trail ahead
  • Brown silhouette pedestrian – Historic walking route ahead
  • Blue highway shield – Upcoming highway intersection

Crosswalk Signs and Signals

Crosswalk signs and signals are specialized to control pedestrian crossing at intersections or designated crosswalks. They use a combination of colors, lights, symbols, and words to direct pedestrian crossing behavior.

Crosswalk Signs

Sign Meaning
Rectangular yellow sign with pedestrian and arrow symbol Indicates designated crosswalk location
Yellow diamond sign with black pedestrian silhouette Warns vehicles that there is a crossing point ahead
Yellow sign with two arrows pointing up and down Indicates where pedestrians should cross intersection

Crosswalk Signals

Signal Meaning
Illuminated red hand symbol Pedestrians must not begin crossing
Illuminated white walking person Pedestrians have walk signal and may begin crossing
Flashing illuminated red hand Don’t start crossing, but may finish crossing if already begun
Orange hand countdown display Number of seconds remaining to legally finish crossing

Temporary Traffic Control Signs

Temporary traffic control signs are used in construction, maintenance, or emergency zones to direct pedestrians safely. These signs use the standard colors and shapes but are temporary in nature. Some examples include:

  • Orange cones/drums – Indicate road work zones, closures, danger
  • Orange mesh fencing – Creates pedestrian walkways/detours
  • Orange sign with arrow – Indicates temporary pedestrian walkway direction
  • Orange flag held by construction worker – Signals vehicles to stop

Accessibility and Information Signs

Accessibility and information signs near pedestrian zones and pathways provide details and directions for those with disabilities or needing special access. They use blue and white colors:

Color & Sign Meaning
Blue square with white wheelchair symbol Indicates access for those with disabilities
Blue circle with white letter “i” Indicates availability of pedestrian information or services


Understanding pedestrian sign colors, symbols, and meanings allows pedestrians to safely navigate and comply with regulations. Red, blue, and green signs regulate behavior while yellow and fluorescent colors warn of potential hazards ahead. Green and brown guide signs provide orientation and direction information. At crosswalks, a mix of colors, lights, symbols, and countdowns directs safe crossing. Obeying temporary control signs in construction zones is vital. Finally, blue and white signs provide accessibility services and information. Being able to quickly recognize and properly interpret the entire range of pedestrian signs is an important ability for all pedestrians.