Get your business on a blue sign

Learn about the Motorist Information Sign (MIS) program and how to get your business included on a blue service information sign.

Motorist Information Signs (MIS) are installed along state highways to alert travelers to services available at or near a freeway interchange or a highway intersection. These signs use a blue or brown background with business logo signs attached, helping to direct travelers to your fuel, food, lodging, camping, recreation activity, tourist activity, or 24-hour pharmacy business.

The MIS program is a great way to connect travelers to your motorist service business. Our state highways carry hundreds of thousands of people every day, and they drive past many of these signs. We install the main signs - you provide the business logo signs.

There are limits on how many business logos may be installed for a particular service and highway type. Businesses are selected on a first come, first served basis. Additional businesses are placed on a waiting list and contacted in order as space becomes available. Businesses with installed logos that change ownership can remain if the business name does not change and it still meets eligibility requirements - otherwise, it is considered a new business and must go through the application process again. Participating business owners who are selling their business are requested to contact their MIS program representative.

Logo signs are limited to one sign per direction per any activity (fuel, food, lodging, camping, recreation, tourist activity, or 24-hour pharmacy) for any business, and located at the interchange or intersection closest to the advertised business.

How it works

Motorist Information Signs are installed in advance of freeway off-ramps and highway intersections. The main sign (back panel) is installed by us. Participating businesses provide the logo signs. Typically, a maximum of six logo signs can be installed on one back panel sign, and a total of four back panels can be installed at an interchange or intersection, depending on available space. Typically, each back panel includes one or more different service types - it is not common to have more than one back panel with the same service type.

If there are no back panels at an interchange or intersection, a new one may be installed if it will not be in visual conflict with other signing in the area. MIS back panels must be 800 feet from any green guide or directional highway signs. Back panels on freeways and expressways may only be installed where a motorist can conveniently exit and then re-enter the highway and continue in the same direction, and may not be installed at interchanges leading from one freeway or expressway to another.

Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in the MIS program, your business must be open to the public, including minors, and must conform to all applicable federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination on grounds of race, religion, color, age, sex, or national origin when providing service to the public.

Businesses shall be located within the following distances from the highway, in any direction, depending on the type of highway:

  • For interstate highways, fuel, food, and lodging businesses shall be within three miles, and camping or tourist activities shall be located within five miles.
  • For non-interstate highways, fuel, food, lodging, recreation, and tourist activity businesses shall be located within five miles.
  • 24-hour pharmacies shall be within three miles of all highway types.

If no services are available, or choose to participate in the MIS program, within these distance limits, we are able to extend these distances in three mile increments, up to a maximum of 15 miles in most cases, or 20 miles in a distressed area.

If your business is located on the highway, and the business or on-premise sign is visible at least 300 feet prior to an intersection or business entrance, your business does not qualify for the MIS program.

Your business must receive its principle source of revenue from the sale of goods, products, or services that fall within the applicable service category below. Each category has its own additional criteria which must be met.

Fuel

  • Provide fuel, oil, water, and tire repair. Tire repair may be off-premise.
  • Provide modern sanitary restroom facilities and drinking water.
  • Provide telephone access.
  • Be in continuous operation for at least 16 hours per day, seven days a week.

Food facilities located within a fueling facility can qualify for food signing if all of the food activity criteria below are met.

Food

  • Be licensed or approved by the county health office.
  • Provide modern sanitary restroom facilities.
  • Provide telephone access.
  • Service hours must be at least:
     Fee Zones 1 and 2: Continuous operation to serve at least two daily meals for a minimum of 10 hours per day, six days a week.
     Fee Zone 3: Continuous operation to serve at least two daily meals for a minimum of eight hours per day, six days a week, and available without reservations.
  • Provide indoor seating for a minimum of 20 people and provide parking facilities for a minimum of 10 vehicles. If curbside service is provided, provide a minimum of 10 drive-in service stalls.

Lodging

  • Be licensed or approved by the Washington State Department of Health.
  • Provide adequate sleeping and bathroom accommodations available without reservations for rental on a nightly basis.
  • Provide telephone access.

Camping

Camping is only applicable for activities available from interstate highways.

  • Have a valid business license.
  • Provide at least 20 camping spaces.
  • Provide adequate parking, modern sanitary facilities, and drinking water for camping spaces.
  • Have an attendant on duty to manage and maintain the facility 24 hours per day while in operation.
  • Provide camping spaces available without reservations for rental on a nightly basis.

Recreational activity

Recreational activities are only applicable for activities available from non-interstate highways. Recreational activities consist of sports and activities of interest to family groups and the public, in which people generally participate for the purposes of physical exercise, collective amusement, or the enjoyment of nature.

  • Where applicable, be licensed or approved by the state or local agency responsible for regulating the particular type of business.
  • Campgrounds must meet the requirements previously described in the "Camping" section above.
  • Be open to the motoring public without an appointment, for at least six hours per day, five days a week, including Saturday and/or Sunday.

Tourist activity

Tourist oriented businesses shall be one of the following:

  1. A natural, recreational, historical, cultural, educational, or entertainment activity, or a unique or unusual commercial or nonprofit activity, where the majority of income and/or visitors are derived during its normal business seasons from motorists not residing in the immediate area of the activity.
  2. Listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, the Washington Heritage Register, or as a National Historic Landmark with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Signs on private property that mark the entrance to the historic district and a letter of support by the jurisdictional local agency are required.
  3. A commercial district, as adopted by a city ordinance or resolution, with a minimum of one million square feet of leasable commercial space located within one square mile. The commercial district must provide a unique commercial activity where the majority of the district's customers do not reside in the city where the district is located. The commercial district shall be located within one mile of the nearest state highway. Only the commercial district name will be displayed on the motorist information sign - corporate logos may not be displayed.

Tourist activities must be open to the motoring public without appointment, at least six hours per day, five days a week, including Saturday and/or Sunday.

24-hour pharmacy

  • Be open 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
  • Have a state licensed pharmacist present and on duty at all times.

RV symbol

RV Symbols are an add-on to your business logo, and are not a standalone category. To be eligible to include an RV symbol on your logo sign, your business must provide the following amenities and accommodations for recreational and other large vehicles:

  • A hard-surfaced access to and from the business, that is free of potholes, is at least twelve feet wide, and has a minimum turning radius of 50 feet.
  • The roadway access and parking facilities must have a minimum overhead clearance of 14 feet above the road surface. This includes utility wires, tree branches, and other obstructions.
  • Directional signs must be posted on the premises as needed to indicate RV friendly parking spaces and other on-site RV friendly services, including directing RV drivers to those spaces and services from the nearest public roadway.
  • Facilities with short-term parking, such as restaurants and tourist attractions, must have a minimum of two parking spaces that are at least twelve feet wide and 65 feet long, with a minimum turning radius of 50 feet for entering and exiting.
  • Fueling islands must be located to allow for pull-through, with a minimum turning radius of 50 feet for entering and exiting.
  • Fueling islands with canopies must have a minimum overhead clearance of 14 feet.
  • Fueling facilities providing diesel must provide pumps with non-commercial nozzles.
  • Campgrounds must provide a minimum of two parking spaces that are 18 feet wide and 45 feet long.

Seasonal businesses

Seasonal businesses may participate in the MIS program. Seasonal businesses still pay the full annual fee for having their logo on the sign. It is preferred that seasonal businesses include the months of operation as part of the logo sign. Otherwise, the sign must be covered or removed during the time the business is not in operation, which incurs additional fees.

Fees

Participation in the MIS program is paid for through an annual fee. There are three fee zone types, which are broken down by type of highway and number of average daily vehicles.

  • Fee Zone 1: Freeways and expressways with 80,000 or more vehicles per day
  • Fee Zone 2: Freeways and expressways with less than 80,000 vehicles per day
  • Fee Zone 3: All other highways

Signs are installed in both directions approaching an interchange or intersection, and two logo signs must be provided. If signing can only be installed in one direction, only one logo sign needs to be provided and a reduced annual fee is charged. Fees for each zone are as follows:

  • Zone 1: $910 for both directions; $455 for one direction
  • Zone 2: $683 for both directions; $342 for one direction
  • Zone 3: $364 for both directions; $182 for one direction

If a logo sign is damaged or in need of replacement, or the business requests to have the logo sign replaced, there is a $115 fee for us to remove and replace the logo sign. The business is required to provide the replacement logo sign.

The MIS program representative that you work with will let you know if there are any other applicable special fees, such as seasonal business sign management.

Business logo signs

Business logo signs are provided by the business. It is your responsibility to design the sign, and then have it manufactured and delivered to us for installation.

Choosing a manufacturer

Choosing a sign manufacturer is up to you, but our MIS program representatives may be able to provide a list of sign manufacturers upon request. There are regulations regarding the size of the sign panel and the materials used. These requirements will be included in the information you will receive after your application is approved and all required fees are paid. It is highly recommended that customers ask for a seven year warranty against deterioration of the sign. Sign manufacturers may also help you to design your logo sign to be most effective as part of the service sign.

Cost

We do not keep current costs for business logo signs, as they vary over time and with different manufacturers. Historically, average costs have been in the range of:

  • $84 - $530 for a 24" wide x 12" tall sign
  • $160 - $530 for a 36" wide x 18" tall sign
  • $330 - $530 for a 60" wide x 36" tall sign

Only your manufacturer can provide current pricing.

Design

Thousands of motorists will see your sign, but they may be driving by it at 60 MPH or faster. Keeping your logo simple makes it easier to register with drivers. Here are some tips for effective logo signs.

  • Use the least amount of words necessary.
  • Use taller letters for the words you do have. For higher speed highways, they should be at least 8 inches tall.
  • Simple fonts (Arial, Century Gothic, Tahoma, etc.) are easier to read.
  • Light backgrounds with dark text is preferable, just like most of our highway speed and warning signs. Any legend or message should contrast effectively with the background, and provide good visibility during both daylight and nighttime hours.
  • Signs may consist of a symbol, trademark, or legend message identifying the name or abbreviations of the specific business. The logo must be the symbol or trademark commonly used by the business.
  • The legend should be no more than three lines, each line having no more than 12 characters (includes letters, numbers, and spaces).
  • Your sign may include any of the following supplemental messages in a strip along the bottom:
     Open 24-hours
     Diesel
     Biodiesel
     E85
     Propane
     Applicable fuel network (such as CFN)
     Truck Stop
     RV Dump

The following items are not permitted on logo signs:

  • Phone or fax numbers
  • Street or mailing addresses
  • Website or e-mail addresses
  • Directions (this is addressed elsewhere)
  • Advertising

Your logo sign must be approved by one of our MIS program representatives before it is installed. It is highly recommended that this approval be received before being manufactured.

How to apply

Applications are quick and easy. Create and submit your application online.

If you have any questions or are not certain if your business qualifies, please contact the MIS program representative for your location.

Regional MIS Program Representatives

Eastern Region - Adams, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, and Whitman Counties

Mary Lloyd
Mary.Lloyd@wsdot.wa.gov

2714 N Mayfair St
Spokane, WA 99027-2090
(509) 324-6549
(509) 324-6120 (Fax)

North Central Region - Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties

Trevor McCain
Trevor.McCain@wsdot.wa.gov
(360) 705-7282
(360) 705-6826

PO Box 47300
Olympia, WA 98504-7300

Northwest Region - Island, King*, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties

*Note: In King County, for Interstate 90 east of Exit #32 (436th Ave SE Interchange), contact South Central Region.

Mike Leitch
Mike.Leitch@wsdot.wa.gov

Mailing Address
PO Box 330310
Seattle, WA 98133-9710

Physical Address
15700 Dayton Ave N
Shoreline, WA 98133

(206) 440-4391
(206) 440-4804 (Fax)

Olympic Region - Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, and Thurston Counties

Heather Britton
Heather.Britton@wsdot.wa.gov

Mailing Address
PO Box 47440
Olympia, WA 98504-7440

Physical Address
5720 Capitol Blvd SE
Tumwater, WA 98501

(360) 357-2753
(360) 357-2793 (Fax)

South Central Region - Asotin, Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Garfield, Kittitas, Yakima, and Walla Walla Counties

Brad Cuillier
Brad.Cuillier@wsdot.wa.gov

2809 Rudkin Rd
Union Gap, WA 98903-1648
(509) 577-1985
(509) 577-1740 (Fax)

Southwest Region - Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Lewis, Pacific, Skamania, and Wahkiakum Counties

Gary Weiss
Gary.Weiss@wsdot.wa.gov

11018 NE 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA 98682-6686
(360) 905-2257
(360) 905-2066 (Fax)

 

MIS Program Management

Trevor McCain
Trevor.McCain@wsdot.wa.gov
(360) 705-7282

Rick Mowlds
Rick.Mowlds@wsdot.wa.gov
(360) 705-7988

PO Box 47300
Olympia, WA 98504-7300

Disputes

Should you disagree with a permit decision that has been made, you have the right to have the Washington State Traffic Engineer hear the issue and recommend a final order. To make such a request, submit the request in writing to:

WSDOT
Attn: State Traffic Engineer
PO Box 47344
Olympia, WA 98504-7344

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