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This is a Plug: TAC’S Electric Vehicle Sign Package


Due to the proMoTIion of sustainable transportation by various government agencies
and the private sector, many electric vehicle (EV) signage initiatives were taken in the
last few years. One unintended consequence of these good intentions is the design of
traffic control devices aimed at EV drivers, but executed without proper consideration to
the best practices that govern the field of traffic engineering. As an example, green
surfaces, actually reserved for cycling facilities, are frequently used for EV reserved
It was in this context that the Transportation Association of Canada’s (TAC) Traffic
Operations and Management Standing Committee (TOMSC) undertook the development
of traffic control devices aimed at EV drivers. Prior to that, the TAC document Handbook
of Recommended Information Sign Symbols for Canada (January 2008) already had a
provision for an EV charging station directional sign, but that was an early effort from
TOMSC at a time when no major manufacturer even offered an EV for sale in Canada.
The design was basically that of the standard gas pump directional sign, but with the
letters “EVC” added (for Electric Vehicle Charging). That sign saw little application as the
EV community took offense to the fossil fuel analogy. With the new reality of electric
mobility front and center, TOMSC set its sights on designing an Electric Vehicle
Charging Sign that meets standards as well as the ever changing technological context
in which it will be used. To that end, supplementary tab sign options were also
developed to stay current with charging technology.
Parking regulations at charging facilities must also facilitate rotation and partial charging
to offer renewed mobility to EV drivers, and not just privileged parking. Depending on
services offered at the facility and the technical aspects of the plug-in vehicle, a full
charge can take as little as 30 minutes or as much as 24 hours. Having the option to
regulate maximum charging time is thus desirable from an operations standpoint. With
this objective in mind, TOMSC also developed an EV Parking Sign to make sure
charging facilities are effectively used to charge up EVs, and not just provide a parking
place for electric vehicles.
This paper and presentation will present in detail TAC’s Electric Vehicle Sign Package,
while demonstrating to delegates the process that leads to the inclusion of a traffic
control device in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCDC).

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Building Tomorrow’s Traffic Control Devices
Beaulieu, D.