Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Directional and informational signs

Specific informational signs | Tourist oriented directional signs

Specific Information Signs (SIS)

Example of a Specific Information Sign (SIS)The Specific Information Sign (SIS) logo program is designed to direct motorists to services located up to 5 miles from Interstate highways, freeways, and conventional highways designated by the legislature as of May 8, 1990 as Specific Information Sign highways. The program is designed to be self funded without any state or federal support. Specific Information Signs may only include the following categories of motorist services and meet the following standards for the respective category.

  • Gasoline
    Must have vehicle services including fuel, oil and water. Provide restroom facilities and drinking water. Be in continuous operation for at least 16 hours a day, 7 days per week for freeways and expressways. Be in continuous operation for at least 12 hours a day, 7 days per week for other highways, provided automotive fuel is available under the emergency fuel allocation program and provide a public telephone.
  • Food
    Must have licensing or approval where required. Regular operation at least 5 days a week, opening for service no later than 10 a.m. and remaining open until at least 7 p.m. Also 50% of the gross receipts are from meal, food, food product and beverage sales and a public telephone.
  • Lodging
    Must have licensing or approval where required. Adequate sleeping accommodations and public telephone.
  • Camping
    Must have licensing or approval where required. Adequate parking accommodations, and modern sanitary facilities and drinking water.
  • Attractions
    Must have the primary purpose of providing amusement, historical, cultural or leisure activities to the public. Be of regional significance and provide adequate parking to accommodate normal traffic volumes for the facility. Not be identified on any supplemental signing or guidance sign on the same route as the specific information sign and comply with the laws concerning the provisions of public accommodations without regard to race, color, age, sex, or national origin, and laws concerning the licensing and approval of service facilities. The SIS Program Advisory Council reviews applications under the "Attractions" category. Send completed application form to Derse, Wisconsin Highway Business Signs, 3800 West Canal Street, Milwaukee, WI 53208.

To qualify for display of gas, food, lodging, camping or attraction, on a specific information sign or to find out more information, call (800) 345-5772 or click on the link provided below:


or contact:
John Noll
Bureau of Traffic Operations
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
(608) 246-3271

Map of Specific Information Sign highways in Wisconsin

Tourist oriented directional signs

Tourist oriented directional signs (TODS) provide motorists with directional information for qualifying tourist-related businesses, services or activities.

Example of a Tourist Oriented Directional sign (TODS)Qualifying businesses

Tourist-related businesses, whose major portion of income or visitors is derived from visitors who do not reside in the immediate area where the business is located, qualify for TODS. The business cannot have direct access to a state or U.S. highway, but must be located within 5 miles of a state or U.S. highway. Businesses qualify for TODS in five categories:

  • Gasoline
    Must be open at least 12 hours per day, 7 days per week and provide restrooms, drinking water and a public telephone.
  • Food
    Must be open 5 days per week from at least 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and have at least 50% of gross receipts from food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Lodging
    Includes hotels, motels, resorts, boarding houses or bed & breakfast establishments. Must have parking accommodations.
  • Camping
    Must provide restrooms, drinking water and a public telephone.
  • Tourist attraction
    Must be open at least 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for at least 3 consecutive months and provide restrooms and drinking water. The attraction must also be of significant interest to the traveling public (shops, amusement parks, etc.).

TODS prohibited in some cases:

  • Some urban areas prohibit TODS. Contact your county highway department.
  • Highways designated as Specific Information Sign (SIS) highways (most freeways and expressways) prohibit TODS. For more information on SIS call Wisconsin Highway Business Signs at (800) 345-5772.
  • Businesses with illegal outdoor advertising signs cannot have a TODS sign.


The TODS program is self-funded. No state or federal funds support the program. All administration, manufacturing and installation costs are paid by applicants.

The TODS sign life is estimated to be 10 years, but fees are collected for a 5-year duration. Total estimated costs over the 10-year period are around $550 Ė thatís $55 per year or about one dollar per week for each sign.

Estimated costs over 10 years:

  • Administration fee $100/sign ($20 per year fee)
  • Sign cost $100/sign (Fees vary based on size)
  • Installation fee $250/sign
  • Total estimated cost $550/sign

To obtain a TODS

  1. Contact the county highway department in which the sign will be located to obtain a TODS application.
  2. Complete the application and attach a check for $100 payable to the county (this is the administration fee for a 5-year period). If you donít qualify for the program, or there isnít room for a TODS at the desired location, the check will be returned.
  3. Businesses that qualify for a TODS will receive a list of qualified TODS sign manufacturers. Contact as many manufacturers as you wish to get the best price.
  4. Bring the sign to the county highway department with a check for $250 payable to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (this is the installation fee).
  5. The county highway department will install the sign.

For more information:

John Noll
Bureau of Traffic Operations
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
(608) 246-3271

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