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Old May 15th, 2009, 10:44 PM   #4201
J N Winkler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg View Post
I am not arguing about the ability of foreigners to read a few words in English. I think that international signs that use pictographs instead of text are better because they provide for better visibility and faster recognition. I am also not proposing to start using red triangles instead of yellow diamonds. All I am saying is that replacing words with pictographs would only produce benefits and virtually no drawbacks.
There are a number of flaws in your argument.

* There are certain hazards for which it is difficult to develop appropriate symbol signs and which are therefore signed using words even in countries where the traffic signing system uses pictograms primarily and has for decades. For instance, many US states use "ROAD DAMAGE" warning signs to indicate lengths of pavement which are in bad repair, while Germany uses a generic "!" triangle sign with "Strassenschaden" on a supplementary plate. In fact, countries which do not put the text information on the main sign (because their signing system emphasizes pictograms) tend to use supplementary plates as an escape clause. Many of them have dozens of standard text-message supplementary plates which can be used in conjunction with generic "!" signs.

* Although it is true that the US has an immense number of standard word-message signs, most of these signs are used only very rarely. The signs you are likely to see most frequently in the US are symbolic.

* In the case of regulatory signs in the US (many of which are symbolic--cf. the "Keep right" sign), there is often limited scope for changing from text message to symbols, largely because certain signs have particular legal meanings which require that certain terminology must be used. This is particularly true for signs denoting speed limits. In some states, for example, "SPEED" has a meaning which is distinct from "SPEED LIMIT," while in other states "VILLAGE SPEED LIMIT" or variants thereof are used as part of a zone signing system and thus do not have precisely the same function or meaning as an ordinary speed limit sign. The text messages associated with these signs explain their meaning clearly and explicitly, which is not something that can be said of the European equivalents. It is counterintuitive to link speed limits to village name signs, for example, and this is not done in all countries and so is not an uniform practice. (The UK doesn't do it, while Spain does.)

* Guide signs in the US do have certain repeated words which generally appear in uppercase letter height at three-quarters the height of the main sign legend and can easily be replaced by symbols. (Cases in point include "JCT," "EXIT," "EXIT ONLY" on yellow background, "MILE," etc.) But what would be the benefit? Drivers already read the repeated text more or less as symbols.

* In the US, certain symbolic signs have caused comprehension problems for decades. The pavement width transition warning sign is probably the most well-known example of this; the standard has cycled from showing the lane lines, to not showing the lane lines, to showing lane lines again over the past 40 years. There is no internationally standardized symbol sign for this condition, with some countries treating it as a warning condition (which means triangle warning signs) while others treat it as an information condition (which means "wicket" signs using parallel arrows). In these difficult cases it is hard to resist the argument that text messages are less ambiguous--for example, "RIGHT LANE ENDS."

* The US uses symbol signs for some conditions where other countries use text-message signs. The US "Divided highway ahead" sign is symbolic, while the British "Dual carriageway ahead" sign uses text only.

The UK is the only country I know of which changed from a largely text-based system to a symbol-based system and carried out extensive before-and-after studies. This occurred in 1965 when the Worboys signs were introduced, and the Transport and Road Research Laboratory conducted a number of social surveys until the early 1970's to determine how well the new signs were understood in comparison to the ones they replaced. TRRL found that while the new signs typically had much better glance recognition, drivers had great difficulty remembering what the symbols meant. It is all well and good to argue that drivers should master the basics of the signing system, but as a matter of social policy it is difficult to justify moving from a system which is widely understood but requires knowledge of a particular language to one which relies on internationally uniform symbols but is not as well understood by the local population.

And, as we have seen, pictogram-based signing systems are themselves often extremely verbose (particularly in advanced industrialized countries), while the pictogram schemes often vary (dramatically so in the case of certain signs) from country to country. On the other hand, text-based signing systems often make extremely heavy use of symbols (as in the US). So for the US to change to a pictogram-based system would be to make an alteration at the margin where the costs may very well outweigh the benefits. In terms of using pictograms to improve recognition of traffic signs, the low-hanging fruit in the US was picked long ago, in 1971, when the current generation of symbolic signs was rolled out in that year's revision of the MUTCD.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 10:44 AM   #4202
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
Red works a lot better for speed limits. It's more visible than black and white. The U.S. has two things it needs to accomplish:

1. Convert to the metric system.

2. Adopt International signage.
Why do so many people in this forum support the U.S. changing it's signage and converting to the metric system? I think our signs are fine and using miles, feet and inches on our highways works very well.

I hope we keep our signs the way they are because that's what makes our highway system so unique. It's easier for me to think in miles, feet and inches when it comes to driving. I also like our text based warning signs. They convey information more succinctly and efficiently if you know how to read the language. I've driven in Italy where they use the "international signage" and a lot of signs made me think "what the hell does that mean?" All I really needed to remember was that speed limit signs in Italy look like New Mexico state highway signs without the native American flair.

[IMG]http://i44.************/fz4qzb.jpg[/IMG]

Last edited by FM 2258; May 16th, 2009 at 10:52 AM.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 06:26 PM   #4203
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Clearview!

Many people hate it, but I kinda like it, although it's not really necessary to replace the existing font since that one does it's job quite good (around the world).
image hosted on flickr

by coredesatchikai
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Old May 16th, 2009, 08:59 PM   #4204
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Hell Im for changing to metric in general, let alone road signs.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 09:01 PM   #4205
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The US highway system is the best !.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 01:18 AM   #4206
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Most knowledgeable drivers in the US according to GMAC:
http://www.gmacinsurance.com/SafeDri...essRelease.asp
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Old May 17th, 2009, 01:46 AM   #4207
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I loved the signage in America during my roadtrip. No need to change that. Metric system would be nice though. xD
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Old May 17th, 2009, 05:51 AM   #4208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtBk View Post
Most knowledgeable drivers in the US according to GMAC:
http://www.gmacinsurance.com/SafeDri...essRelease.asp
Isn't that funny...the drivers with the most knowledge are generally in less-populated States! I can't really figure that out. However, in Idaho, for example, I have noticed drivers understand certain basic freeway etiquitte, like keeping to the right on freeways, moving over to the far lane for police stops, and allowing merging traffic in by moving over. Commen sense, for sure, but in bigger States not common at all.

As for the metric system, there was a full-on attempt to move the country in this direction in the mid and late 1970's. It was met with complete indifference, and died.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 06:24 AM   #4209
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I was excepting MD to be ranked lower in the list after seeing how people drive around here daily.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 06:46 AM   #4210
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LOL, I used to think the worst U.S. drivers were in Boston, but after my trip to the DC-Maryland-Virginia area last summer, I have a new champion!
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Old May 17th, 2009, 07:13 AM   #4211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARGYRO View Post
The US highway system is the best !.
You clearly haven't driven on our roads.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 07:25 AM   #4212
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
You clearly haven't driven on our roads.
Well ... I´m afraid I HAVE .. .. That´s why I say US have a great highway system. It is not perfect... but I find amazing how a big country like yours has such an organized road system. The last time I went to the States I drove from Kennesaw, GA.. to Hackensack, NJ.. and all the way back. (( I got a fine for speeding )).... anyway ... I find US highway systems such a great plus for your country.

But .. you are right .. I have not driven on Indiana roads. It seems that there is no INTERSTATE close to Bloomington, IN ... at least not one crossing through out the town. The closest are I70 and I65... well that counts .

Last edited by ARGYRO; May 17th, 2009 at 07:40 AM.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 07:47 AM   #4213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
Why do so many people in this forum support the U.S. changing it's signage and converting to the metric system? I think our signs are fine and using miles, feet and inches on our highways works very well.

I hope we keep our signs the way they are because that's what makes our highway system so unique. It's easier for me to think in miles, feet and inches when it comes to driving. I also like our text based warning signs. They convey information more succinctly and efficiently if you know how to read the language. I've driven in Italy where they use the "international signage" and a lot of signs made me think "what the hell does that mean?" All I really needed to remember was that speed limit signs in Italy look like New Mexico state highway signs without the Zia flair.

[IMG]http://i44.************/fz4qzb.jpg[/IMG]
OTOH, think of all of the times that, for example, Chicago Police officers have had to explain to motorists that those white square signs with the '50' on them on Cicero Ave in the city are *Illinois state highway route markers* and not speed limit signs....

It is VERY EASY to confuse the route markers in several states (like Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Texas, etc) with USA standard speed limit signs.

I will give a whole-hearted 'Here Here!' when 'red circle' style speed limit signs become the USA's standard.

Mike

Last edited by mgk920; May 17th, 2009 at 08:05 AM.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 07:54 AM   #4214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARGYRO View Post
Well ... I´m afraid I HAVE .. .. That´s why I say US have a great highway system. It is not perfect... but I find amazing how a big country like yours has such an organized road system. The last time I went to the States I drove from Kennesaw, GA.. to Hackensack, NJ.. and all the way back. (( I got a fine for speeding )).... anyway ... I find US highway systems such a great plus for your country.

But .. you are right .. I have not driven on Indiana roads. It seems that there is no INTERSTATE close to Bloomington, IN ... at least not one crossing through out the town. The closest are I70 and I65... well that counts .
I-69 is planned to be built near Bloomington, IN on its way between Indianapolis and Evansville within the next few years.

I do agree, though, away from the interstates, Indiana has crappy roads, mainly due to a severe lack of funding for the state's Department of Transportation (Indiana has a very low fuel tax).

BTW, gotta look out for those 'Deputy Dawg' corrupt small-town speed traps, they are a REAL problem in several states.



Mike
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Old May 17th, 2009, 08:03 AM   #4215
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I don't really like this Clearview font for the new highways. The font that the current signs have are classics.

However, it would be a great excuse for Connecticut to get new signage.

It really is a shame to see the state of some of the signs here, some are barely readable at night even with hi-beams on!
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Old May 17th, 2009, 08:14 AM   #4216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtBk View Post
Most knowledgeable drivers in the US according to GMAC:
http://www.gmacinsurance.com/SafeDri...essRelease.asp
I'm shocked FL isn't lower on the list because people drive like shit here. But that could be because the states at the bottom is where many people come from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
You clearly haven't driven on our roads.
The U.S. highway system isn't that bad, it's very organized and efficient. Only problem is there is a lot of maintenance to do and updating. Also seeing how your from Indiana your roads are in bad condition.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 09:28 AM   #4217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
OTOH, think of all of the times that, for example, Chicago Police officers have had to explain to motorists that those white square signs with the '50' on them on Cicero Ave in the city are *Illinois state highway route markers* and not speed limit signs....

It is VERY EASY to confuse the route markers in several states (like Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Texas, etc) with USA standard speed limit signs.

I will give a whole-hearted 'Here Here!' when 'red circle' style speed limit signs become the USA's standard.

Mike
That's a huge cash cow for the city. Every time I went north on Cicero from Midway to I-55, I always saw at least two people pulled over and two more looking for speeders. I believe the actual speed limit on that stretch of road is 35.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 09:42 AM   #4218
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Our route markers are also squares and are shaped like the speed limit signs, but I've never heard of such a thing here.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 10:59 PM   #4219
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail Claimore View Post
That's a huge cash cow for the city. Every time I went north on Cicero from Midway to I-55, I always saw at least two people pulled over and two more looking for speeders. I believe the actual speed limit on that stretch of road is 35.
Oh come on. You have to be a complete moron to confuse a state route marker with a speed limit sign. If it doesn't say SPEED LIMIT in big letters, feel free to assume it's not a speed limit.
Or you're not paying any attention at all while driving. Either way - serves 'em right. SCNR
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Old May 18th, 2009, 01:41 AM   #4220
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Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Clearview!

Many people hate it, but I kinda like it, although it's not really necessary to replace the existing font since that one does it's job quite good (around the world).
image hosted on flickr

by coredesatchikai
Count me among those who hate it. But if they're gonna switch over to Clearview, why did they leave the "Exit only" and the Interstate shield in the FHWA font? Now it just looks inconsistent.
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