Tourist oriented directional signs


Tourist oriented directional signs (TODS) provide motorists with directional information for qualifying tourist-related businesses, services or activities. 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 five miles of a state or U.S. highway.


  • On highway right of way
  • Along non-SIS highways outside of urban areas with a population of 5,000 or greater
  • At-grade intersections only


  • Standard: 72"x21"
  • Where limited right of way exists: 48"x14"


  • Food, Gas, Lodging, Camping, and Attractions meeting certain criteria (see below)


  • Requesting business

Installation and maintenance

  • County highway department

Paid for by

  • Requesting business

Relevant law, code, manual


  • Contact county highway department


  • Managed for WisDOT by county highway departments


Businesses qualify for TODS in five categories:

  • Gasoline
    Must be open at least 12 hours per day, seven days per week and provide restrooms, drinking water and a public telephone.
  • Food
    Must be open five days per week from at least 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and have at least 50 percent 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 eight hours per day, five days per week for at least three 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.
  • 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 – that’s $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 (form DT1864).
  2. Complete the application (form DT1864) and attach a check for $100 payable to the county (this is the administration fee for a 5-year period). If you don’t qualify for the program, or there isn’t 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

Contact your county highway department, or you may contact:
Casey Amans
Transportation Specialist
WisDOT Bureau of Traffic Operations
Phone: (608) 245​-5344