A digital stop sign near the Richland Hills tennis courts entrance isn't at an intersection and isn't intended to make anyone stop.
It's one of a handful of signs bearing quick response codes -- pixilated swirls and squares that speak to smartphones -- designed to lead people to information, said officer Nathan Stringer, who oversees the Richland Hills Police Department website.
The signs are Richland Hills' first step aboard a technology train that's hooking up cities across Tarrant County to residents and visitors, Stringer said.
"Right now all it does is direct you to our Web page," he said. "Once it's all up and running, it will direct you to [information about a] particular facility."
The city hopes to have an interactive system in place by the end of February that lets users reserve a facility from a smartphone, Stringer said.
Arlington is looking in another direction after using QR codes since late 2010 in city promotions, said Gary Packan, assistant parks director.
"We have been discussing for a few months whether to use QR codes or Microsoft Tags," he said.
The Microsoft Tag is more visually appealing, allowing the use of logos and colors, Packan said. But it does essentially the same thing as a QR code.
Aluminum-based 24-by-36-inch stickers on concrete walks in Richard Greene Linear Park in Arlington link people to the park's Facebook page, YouTube videos about the park and Caelum Moor, and an audio walking tour of Caelum Moor, Packan said.
Fort Worth has even grander plans for QR codes, spokesman Jason Lamers said. He foresees QR codes on construction project barricades that will provide daily progress updates and costs.
But the city must first upgrade its website, Lamers said.
"We do not have a mobile-friendly website right now," he said. "People who know what QR codes are expect it to send them directly where they want to go."
The city will test QR codes, including in February water bills that will take smartphone users to a city information sign-up page, Lamers said.
Fire Lt. Tim Hardeman said that a few fire engines in downtown Fort Worth sport QR codes leading to seasonal public safety messages and recruiting information.
Other area cities are using the technology to varying degrees.
Spokeswoman Betsy Deck said Euless used QR codes a couple of years ago for a scavenger hunt in city parks.
"It was fun, but I think they were too new at the time," she said. "We plan to use them at the recreation center to help advertise classes but haven't yet."
Hurst has experimented and will likely expand the use of QR codes in city publications, spokeswoman Ashleigh Whiteman said.
North Richland Hills uses QR codes on water bills for online payments, on traffic citations to take users to the Municipal Court website, and on tickets and advertising for the city's aquatics and recreation centers, spokeswoman Mary Peters said.
Colleyville spokeswoman Mona Gandy said the city uses QR codes only in print ads but could expand to city projects, historical buildings and parks.
"This is a tremendous way for us to offer detailed information in limited space without using expensive resources," she said.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620