Street sign in Quito, Ecuador, pointing the way to the middle of the world

Road signs in Ecuador are regulated in Manual Básico de Señalización Vial[1][2][3] and Reglamento Técnico Ecuatoriano. RTE INEN 004-1:2011. Señalización vial, which is based on the United States' Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) originally developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).[4] Thus, road signs in Ecuador are similar in design to road signs used in the United States. One of the differences is that Ecuador uses the metric system, for example, vehicle speed is measured in km/h.[5]

Ecuador uses diamond-shaped warning signs on a yellow background in common with most of the rest of the Americas. One of the rare exceptions is the "Tramway crossing" warning sign used in the Cuenca Tramway, which has a triangular shape with a red border and white background, similar to warning signs used in Europe.[6] The regulatory and prohibitory signs are all of them rectangular, with the exception of the stop and the yield sign. Like Australia and the United States, the mandatory sign group is not used in Ecuador.

Ecuador signed the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals on November 8, 1968 but has yet to fully ratify it.[7]

The suffix D means "right", from Spanish derecha, while the suffix I means "left", from Spanish izquierda.

Regulatory signs

Regulatory signs inform road users of the priorities in their use, as well as the existing prohibitions, restrictions, obligations and authorizations, the failure of which constitutes a traffic violation.

Most regulatory signs are rectangular in shape with the major axis vertical and have a border, legend and/or black symbols on a white background. Where possible, symbols and arrows are used to aid identification and clarify instructions.

Regulatory signs should generally be located on the right side of the road, but may be located on the left side or on both sides, to minimize the driver's perception and reaction time.

R1: Priority series

Priority signs are installed at the entrances to an intersection or at specific points where it is required to apply the regulations contained in these signs.

R2: Direction series

Direction signs obligate drivers to circulate only in the direction indicated by the arrows on the signs.

R3: Movement restriction series

Movement restriction signs are used to prohibit the entry and/or circulation of the type of vehicle indicated in the symbol. It prohibits the continuation of the direct movement of the approaching vehicular or pedestrian flow, beyond the place where it is installed. It should be located where the driver or pedestrian can easily understand which road is prohibited from entering.

R4: Maximum limit series

R5: Parking series

R6: Complementary plate series

R7: Miscellaneous series

Warning signs

Warning signs are used to alert drivers of potential dangers ahead. They indicate the need to take special precautions and require a reduction in traffic speed or some other maneuver. On urban roads they are installed at a minimum distance of 100 m before the danger and 150 m on rural roads (highways).

A warning sign should generally be placed on the right side of the roadway and arranged to convey its message in the most efficient manner, without lateral obstruction or restricted sight distance. However, in special circumstances, the sign or a duplicate may be placed on the left side of the roadway.

P1: Curve series

Curve signs are installed on approaches to horizontal curves. Selection depends on approach speeds and track geometry. If the curves are substandard, these signs must be complemented with the recommended R4-1 speed signs.

P2: Intersections and junctions series

Intersection and junction signs are used where the sight distance at the approach to an intersection or junction is less than the safe stopping distance, or where drivers may have difficulty appreciating the presence or configuration of an intersection located later. They are generally located on rural roads and on urban roads located in less urbanized areas.

P3: Traffic control device approach series

P4: Widths, heights, lengths and weights series

Widths, heights, lengths and weights signs warn the drivers of the existence of future limitations on the width, height, length and weight of the roadway.

P5: Lane assignment series

Lane assignment signs warn the driver of approaching an assignment of traffic lanes on the roads; Red symbols and lines are used in situations of greater danger. It is recommended to accompany it with a complementary signal according to the circumstances.

P6: Obstacles and special situations series

Obstacles and special situations signs warn the driver of the existence of future limitations on the width, height, length and weight of the roadway.

P7: Pedestrian series

P8: Complementary signs

Complementary signs are to complement other signs with additional information through symbols and/or legends, they must be used according to the needs of the preventive messages to be implemented, they must be located under the preventive sign; except where otherwise indicated.

Information signs

Information signs are used to orient and guide road drivers, providing them with the necessary information so that they can reach their destinations in the safest, simplest and most direct way as possible.

Temporary signs

Temporary signs and/or devices for road works and special purposes warn road users of temporary hazardous conditions, which may affect users, workers and warn road users of temporary hazardous conditions, which may affect users, workers and equipment used in equipment used in the works.

School zone signs

School zone signs warn and inform road users of the approach to an educational center and the priorities in the use of the same, as well as the existing prohibitions, restrictions, obligations and authorizations, the non-compliance of which is considered a violation of traffic laws and regulations.

The school zone is defined as the radius of influence of a given educational center, which is a minimum of 200 metres (0.12 mi). This radius of influence must be increased according to the road geometry, the sector where the educational center is located, its capacity and the educational level it serves, which may be classified as preschool, school, middle school, etc.


  1. ^ "manual de señalizacion | PDF | Semáforo | Autobús". Scribd. Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Manual Basico de Senalizacion Vial | PDF | Semáforo | Peatonal". Scribd. Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  4. ^ "Reglamento Técnico Ecuatoriano. RTE INEN 004-1:2011. Señalización vial. Parte 1: Señalización Vertical" (PDF). (in Spanish). Instituto Ecuatoriano de Normalización. 2011. Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  6. ^ Telégrafo, El (2018-10-08). "Semaforización se toma las avenidas de Cuenca". El Telégrafo (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2024-01-30.
  7. ^ "United Nations Treaty Collection". Retrieved 2023-12-10.