DfT to carry out largest review of road signs for 40 years
13 September 2008

The Department for Transport is to undertake its largest review of road signs for 40 years in an attempt to de-clutter Britain’s roads.The review, the most comprehensive since the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals, will look at the effectiveness of the current signs. The DfT hopes that the review will make roads safer, and it will use the latest traffic sign technology to ease congestion and aid traffic flow.Minister for Transport Rosie Winterton wants road users, the highways authorities and road organisations to assist in the review, and believes that the way road signs are used needs to change. "Road conditions have changed dramatically over the years - and road signs need to keep pace with that change to provide the best information possible to all road users," said Winterton. The DfT will also look to tackle the problem of unnecessary and out-of-date signs that can cause confusion on the roads.President of the AA, Edmund King, has welcomed the review. “Clear, concise, relevant road signs help reduce congestion, CO2, frustration and accidents,” he said. “Confusing signs do the opposite, so we welcome a root-and-branch review of the UK's traffic signing system.”The first meeting is scheduled to take place next month; the review process should be established by 2009.

George Barrow

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13 September 2008

Great, that's the road signs dealt with, lets now see if we can get rid of some more detritus from our roads, such as needless street furniture and speed humps!

You never know, Britain may be a pleasant place to drive in once again.



It's all about the twisties........

13 September 2008

This review is long overdue - motorists suffer from information overload whilst driving and I am sure that this is the cause of some accidents.

Just a thought.

Most of us have some form of GPS in our cars - SatNavs or Speed Camera Detectors.

Would it not be an idea to build into these new signs some form of transmitter so that the information can be transmitted to the GPS devices and thus eliminating drivers missing signs because they are obscured by overgrown foliage or parked vehicles?

13 September 2008

Vauxhall are already building in a system to the new Insignia that show the speed limits which shows the technology is already there.

However, I worry about promoting the use of electronics in this fashion. How long before these "signs" can control the speed of the car, or log other details. I enjoy driving and making my own decisions.

Just as a point of note, there is a country in Europe (Sweden / Norway / Holland - I can't remember), that has done away with signs and street furniture as an experiment and has actually found a reduction of accidents and incidents because people have to think and concentrate on their driving.

Food for thought.



It's all about the twisties........

13 September 2008

All of the countries you mention TegTypeR have tried those experiments and even a trial in London.

I agree that this review is LONG overdue - in the Reading area alone there are sometimes junctions where signs obscure signs obscure signs not to mention the overgrown foliage blocking a decent view at junctions and bends let alone signs.

Electronic signage, yes. 75% fewer signs - ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY but above all, can they please be properly placed with minimum information.

These tendancy to put far too much information on massive signs, 50 yards before a junction is just ludicrous.

Classic example is the M25 exit (anti-clockwise) at the A30 near Staines - the lane indication sign is no more than 50 yards before the lights - the exit if 4 lanes wide and the sign is obscured by trees and being placed to far round a bend to be seen until you are on top of it and too late to change lanes safely.

Can they also remove 50% of traffic lights at junctions?

For me, the key is about keeping traffic flowing in a safe shared way - not trying to slow down cars and keep them hemmed in - vis box junctions (all should be fitted with cameras) and pedestrian crossings of various species every 50 yards.

Rant over!

13 September 2008

Surely something which has to be part of this review is what units of measurement to use on signs. Assuming that the government won't have the political courage and foresight to switch entirely to metric, it would make sense to at least take the first steps in that direction - firstly making metric legal, and then beginning to phase out yards in favour of metres and replacing those horribly cluttered looking bridge height warnings with clear metric-only signs.

Obviously this is a touchy issue and some are still attached to our old-fashioned units, but we can't stay stuck between two systems for ever. This would be the time to at least address the issue properly, rather than keep sweeping it under the carpet for future generations to sort out.

15 September 2008

Agree with previous points on electronic signs - variable speed limits please - and metricisation (or whatever the word should be).

What I would add - and I'm not expecting this to be popular - is that drivers need to be re-educated as to how to read signs. Many drivers that passed their test last year, let alone 30 years ago, have no idea how to interpret some signs. After this review, it will be worse. So a compulsory re-test every so-many years is needed.


15 September 2008

I would say that this needs to go beyond modernizing roadside signs. The technology now exists to feed information into in car systems so that this can be brought to the drivers attention at the wheel.

This not only reduces clutter but decreases the number of obstacles to be hit should something untoward occur on the road.

We have reached the point where adding a suitable driver information system to a new vehicle almost certainly costs less than putting up a small roadside sign. Some external infrastructure would be needed but compared with the costs of designing and installing large signs it should be economically viable.

Whilst the blueprint for the latest Highways Agency hard shoulder running scheme appears to have overlooked in vehicle driver information systems a review of road signs must take this into consideration.

15 September 2008

Worcestershire County Council have already taken a pro-active approach to reducing sign clutter, but not to the detriment of road safety, while also trying to improve clarity and reduce information-intake of existing signs. Even electronic VAS and VMS signs are used sporadically and in locations if deemed necessary.

15 September 2008

Some consitency would be nice. On some roads speed limit signs are everywhere, others have none. Whilst most roads are too cluttered I would like to see more use of the little speed limit signs on lamp posts - they are unobtrusive and are a useful reminder.

Better maintenance of road junctions would also be good. Who can think planting bushes near junctions is a good thing?

Finally, I hope the review has a seperate section for London. I am unfortunate enough to have to drive through London regularly and I hate it. I simply don't know what I should be doing and am paranoid about missing a sign, because there are too many.

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