Iowa Road Signs

FAQS - TOURIST ORIENTED DIRECTIONAL SIGNS (TODS)


Select a question below to reveal the answer.

What is TODS?

Tourist Oriented Directional Signing (TODS) is official signing that is located within the right-of-way of a primary highway (excluding segments that have an interchange). TODS identify and give directions to activities or sites of significant interest to the traveling public.

Where can TODS be located?

TODS is located immediately in advance of an "at-grade" intersection where a city street, county road, or lower classified highway intersects the highway. TODS is not allowed in advance of an interchange.

How much does TODS cost?

Each sign costs $350. An attraction would typically have two signs per highway for a total of $700. Annual renewal fees due June 30th of every year are $50 per sign.

Can I have TODS on more than one highway?

Yes.

Are there minimum requirements for businesses to qualify?

Yes. The businesses must be located within three miles of the exit, with some exceptions. The businesses must comply with all applicable laws concerning the provision of public accommodations without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, or national origin.

Gas services must be appropriately licensed, provide fuel, oil, and water, free air or tire repair, restrooms, public telephone, and operate at least 12 hours per day, seven days a week, year-round.

Food services must be appropriately licensed, and provide three meals a day (view meal waiver exception), be open six days a week, and a public telephone. Food services must also have a minimum of 10 spaces available for customer seating.

Lodging services must be appropriately licensed, provide adequate sleeping accommodations, have at least ten units (exception made for bed and breakfast establishments), and a public telephone.

Camping services must be appropriately licensed (if applicable), provide adequate parking accommodations, a public telephone, and agree to seasonal removal/masking of Logo signs (if applicable).

Tourist Attractions must be appropriately licensed, be nationally or regionally known, maintain adequate hours of operation, provide restrooms and drinking water, adequate parking, a public telephone, agree to seasonal removal/masking of Logo Signs (if applicable) and qualify as one of the following: a natural phenomena, historic site, cultural site, scientific site, accredited college or university, religious site, area of natural beauty, or area suited for outdoor recreation. Applications for tourist attractions will be reviewed by the Tourist Signing Committee.

For all services, the installation of trailblazing signs (up to a maximum of two) are required for those businesses which are not located on the intersecting roadway.

For in-depth information concerning the minimum Logo Sign requirements, view the Iowa Administrative Rules

Can an attraction in a large city qualify for TODS?

The attraction must also be located outside the urban area, established by the U.S. Census Bureau, of a city with a population of 5,000 or more.

Who fabricates and installs the TODS?

The Department of Transportation will design, fabricate and install the TODS.

What is the size and color of the TODS?

The signs are 72 inches long and 18 inches wide. Lettering is white on a blue background with white border.

How much information can be on the TODS?

The message is limited to the name of the attraction, directional arrow and mileage to the attraction. An additional word or two would be added to the message if the name of the attraction does not clearly reflect the nature of the attraction. TODS can have 2 lines of copy with approximately 15-18 letter spaces allowed per line

Can seasonal attractions qualify?

Yes. Seasonal attractions must be open a minimum of 4 consecutive weeks. The seasonal attraction is required to have a closed panel attached to the TODS when the attraction is closed for the season.

How do I apply?