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What kind of data should be included on highway signs?


John278

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As I slowly made my way down the M25 this morning, I noticed that the new information boards were displaying somewhat bland messages.

What would you prefer to see shown, if anything, if there wasn't a time- and location-sensitive notification, like big tailbacks after the next junction?

Moving clockwise from J2, the message is "Red X means the lane is closed - don't use it."

Even after the road construction has been removed, revealing four or more lanes, plus a hard shoulder, traffic continues to favor the rightmost lanes. How effective do you think "keep left unless overtaking" would be?

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If only the traffic reports were up-to-date and reliable!

It never fails to surprise me how frequently the VMS on the M4 between London and Bristol displays incorrect messages or out-of-date information. The installation of each sign might cost upwards of £100,000, however the data they display is frequently inaccurate.

The best illustration of this is a late-night flight returning from London last year. VMS displayed 'SLOW 50mph' (perhaps a dozen signs) from just before Reading to just past Swindon. At first the traffic complied, but as it was clear there was no cause, we all started moving faster again.

After I lodged a formal complaint with the Highways Agency, a representative said that a prior incident had necessitated the placement of the warnings until a HATO could drive the whole road and verify that it was clear per 'Health and Safety' policy. For a good long while, no HATOs were scheduled to operate along the route.

Having no information at all is better than having bad information.

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Maybe not, but because they already exist, the expense has been incurred.

I've seen signs with out-of-date information, which isn't useful and undermines people's faith in that particular source of data.

Concerning the idea to "mind your distance," I believe that for optimum impact, it would apply to a dynamic system. We have tried using static road signs and random chevrons with mixed results.

Front-facing active speed signs were selected as the most effective traffic calming tool, despite being costly and producing no revenue in any way. But what if sensors caused a gantry sign to read "too close"? Or would that serve just to divert attention?

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They should be switched off at reasonable hours; I once reported because they were still on with a long message about tomorrow's traffic or weather. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but the rain that lasted the whole 200 miles of the trip meant that we had much to worry about without having to read any of the 'information' signs along the road.

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Gafferjim is a guy on PH who detailed the process of adding incident-specific messages and how the system works (or doesn't). This seems to have quite a bit, however it is somewhat lengthy:

Here's the link: http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic... mid=259361

I suppose they have some utility now and then for things like animals, people, or rubbish on the road, but they have a lot of untapped potential. The 'stay left' information is useful but underutilized in the effort to raise driving standards. Rather of relying on a narrow selection of committee-approved statements, adding more freeform content would be a good first step.

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Yes, it's distracting...Not very helpful - Definitely; what you and I would consider to be tailgating, JoeIf the typical driver sees the sign and examines what constitutes a safe following distance, they will likely conclude that the message does not apply to them.

On the M6/M42, there are already information signs showing "Congestion" instead of "Keep left" on controlled portions. Use Hard Shoulder" although many motorists are hesitant or even refuse to use it.

The great majority of motorists either don't see the signs or, if they do, choose to disregard them. Too much roadside signs and information may be to blame.

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Most of the previous responses hit the mark for me as well. I don't drive on highways much, but the few times I have there has been some kind of misinformation, like a lane closure or a speed limit modification that turned out to be false. I suppose no one pays attention since the "Cry Wolf" effect is at work here. Do we really need to be informed that there will be lines? If that's the case, we'd better pray for signs warning us of impending tractor, horse, cycling club, etc. traffic on rural roads. [rhetorical]We're in deep danger if motorists can't recognize a line even on a deserted highway.

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