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Old April 21st, 2013, 03:40 AM   #8841
HAWC1506
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In Washington State, State Route 520 was closed this weekend due to major roadworks ($4 billion reconstruction, widening and floating bridge replacement).

Leading up to the major closure I found some spare time after school/work to do a design exercise by replicating some Vienna Convention European signs. Basic design elements for the warning symbols follow German practice, a pictogram with a "cue word". All fonts used are also DIN 1451 (I bought the real version). I was very grateful that a WSDOT engineer volunteered part of his weekend to help me set these up.

These signs were tested during the closure when the highway was closed to traffic. Although some of the work crews must have been very confused.



































































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And of course



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Old April 21st, 2013, 10:13 AM   #8842
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That's cool!!! Maybe the first usage of Vienna Convetion Style speed limit and warning signs on american roads ever? It made me shed a tear Thanks for posting.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 10:24 AM   #8843
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european signs in america - cool
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Old April 21st, 2013, 08:01 PM   #8844
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Just like the variable speed limit signage shown here on the M25.

When switched on they're enforced with speed cameras, so in a 60 mph zone, if you reach the 2mph + 10% threshold (i.e. 68 mph) you're likely to get a ticket.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 09:20 PM   #8845
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They need those in a lot of other US cities. As a benefit, urban speed limits could definitely be raised during times of low traffic flow.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 10:51 PM   #8846
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Those signs look great!

However, wouldn't there be some confusion amongst motorists who mightn't understand what the number in the red circle means? Some folk (especially tourists) might also think it's a metric speed limit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirfreelancealot View Post
Just like the variable speed limit signage shown here on the M25.

When switched on they're enforced with speed cameras, so in a 60 mph zone, if you reach the 2mph + 10% threshold (i.e. 68 mph) you're likely to get a ticket.
I remember being at traffic court once and some British immigrant had passed a variable speed limit sign when it had just changed from 80km/h to 40km/h in a tunnel and ended up being caught by the speed camera. The fine here for that amount of speeding is a hell of a lot. The guy got off.

Last edited by mubd; April 21st, 2013 at 10:57 PM.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 12:02 AM   #8847
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I think those speed signs should have "advisory" or "limit" also written, and also "MPH", to help drivers to better understand it. On the other hand, it is a great project, and it would be great if it were not only a test.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 12:47 AM   #8848
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mubd View Post
Those signs look great!

However, wouldn't there be some confusion amongst motorists who mightn't understand what the number in the red circle means? Some folk (especially tourists) might also think it's a metric speed limit.



I remember being at traffic court once and some British immigrant had passed a variable speed limit sign when it had just changed from 80km/h to 40km/h in a tunnel and ended up being caught by the speed camera. The fine here for that amount of speeding is a hell of a lot. The guy got off.
What does the red circle mean? And anyone driving in the US should know that we use MPH
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 01:16 AM   #8849
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mubd View Post
Those signs look great!

However, wouldn't there be some confusion amongst motorists who mightn't understand what the number in the red circle means? Some folk (especially tourists) might also think it's a metric speed limit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by albertocsc View Post
I think those speed signs should have "advisory" or "limit" also written, and also "MPH", to help drivers to better understand it. On the other hand, it is a great project, and it would be great if it were not only a test.
I think the advisory vs restrictive would be an educational issue, rather than a signage issue. People should understand that anything in a red circle is a restrictive action, since signs with red circles are widely used in the U.S. already for prohibiting left turns, right turns etc.

I think when they are used in context, people will understand. A colleague once told me "What else could it mean to have a big number and a red circle above your lane? The temperature?!"

Of course any move towards adoption of these signs would require a lot of public re-education so that should take care of it.

Regarding the km/h vs MPH signing, people expect to see a speed limit in MPH. So unless we switch to metric, I think that assumption can be made. Just like how the UK doesn't specify MPH, but it's implied even though the rest of Europe uses km/h.

Maybe we should just make it easy and go with metric if we ever decide to implement Vienna Convention signs
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 01:34 AM   #8850
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weava View Post
What does the red circle mean?
That it is an actual prohibition, rather than advice.

The M25 (and M1, and a few other routes in the UK that have Variable Speed Limits) can, but don't, have the signs show advisory limits. If they can also use proper speed limit restrictions that change, they will. Other motorways often use the advisory limits for hazards (for instance yesterday, when there was some smoke blowing across the M40), and occasionally to stop ghost queues forming (the main function of variable speed limits).

Of course, this was someone playing about with VMSs on a closed road, not something you'll need to know if you drive WA520.
Quote:
And anyone driving in the US should know that we use MPH
The OP you are quoting there was talking about Australia and, unlike the states, they don't put it on the signs. US and RoI are the only countries that put units on speed limit signs. Or do Canada as well? If so, that's not very many!

The OP's comments there about driving 40mph in a 40km/h limit (40km/h in a 40mph limit is legal, if not very sensible, so who needs units on signs that talking in mph?) had nothing to do with what the quote he was apparently commenting on at that point actually said.

M25 speed cameras are on all the time, but when the limit is the National Speed Limit of 70mph, the threshold speed of 79 isn't used, but rather 90mph.
Quote:
Originally Posted by albertocsc View Post
I think those speed signs should have "advisory" or "limit" also written, and also "MPH", to help drivers to better understand it.
Better understand it by making it harder to read and the small text that you'd need would cause crashes as people break suddenly to work out what the sign is saying.

As weava says, 'anyone driving in the US should know that [they] use MPH', though quite why he needed to shout mph is as much of an enigma to me as why such things need to be signed

As I said earlier, if you can make them mandatory limits, you do. As such, no making it more obvious is needed. And it's not as if (in Europe where these signs are actually in place) red circles aren't very commonplace and aren't known to all drivers as defining of "don't do this or you can be done". If Washington was doing this for real, they would explain it on signs (and educate the locals*) that a number with a red circle around it was a speed limit in mph, or (more likely) just do a VMS version of a more traditional US MUTCD Speed limit sign.

*actually, driver education in the States isn't a forlorn hope, isn't it. Everything must be spelled out (literally - no pictures here, even though there's parts of the country where Spanish is the main language), even if the commonest of common sense, eg MPH on speed limit signs...
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 03:55 AM   #8851
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirfreelancealot View Post
Just like the variable speed limit signage shown here on the M25.

When switched on they're enforced with speed cameras, so in a 60 mph zone, if you reach the 2mph + 10% threshold (i.e. 68 mph) you're likely to get a ticket.
Aren't there also average speed cameras now? I remember listening to traffic radio and they would say something like, "The M25 has roadworks with a reduced speed limit enforced by average speed cameras."

Variable speed limits in Washington State aren't enforced. They're restrictive and can be enforced, but we don't have speed cameras and the highway officers don't have the resources/manpower available during peak hours due to the number of incidents that happen.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 06:00 AM   #8852
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weava View Post
What does the red circle mean? And anyone driving in the US should know that we use MPH
The red circle with a number in it is a European style speed limit symbol.

Your post shows that many people would totally ignore the sign because it isn't something they recognise as a speed limit, though I bet there would be signs leading up to that section of road to say what they mean.

America, you should go one better and get on board with the metric system!
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 12:18 PM   #8853
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U.S. signage system is too text based IMO. But it's not the kind of thing you can overhaul in a year when so many people are used to the old ways.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 02:56 PM   #8854
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
People should understand that anything in a red circle is a restrictive action, since signs with red circles are widely used in the U.S. already for prohibiting left turns, right turns etc.
Really? I've never seen a simple red circle (such as in the photos above) used in the States to mean prohibited. In the States, a red circle with a diagonal slash through it means prohibited.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 04:48 PM   #8855
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Yes, same as in Ireland.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 07:24 PM   #8856
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
I think the advisory vs restrictive would be an educational issue, rather than a signage issue. People should understand that anything in a red circle is a restrictive action, since signs with red circles are widely used in the U.S. already for prohibiting left turns, right turns etc.

I think when they are used in context, people will understand. A colleague once told me "What else could it mean to have a big number and a red circle above your lane? The temperature?!"

Of course any move towards adoption of these signs would require a lot of public re-education so that should take care of it.

Regarding the km/h vs MPH signing, people expect to see a speed limit in MPH. So unless we switch to metric, I think that assumption can be made. Just like how the UK doesn't specify MPH, but it's implied even though the rest of Europe uses km/h.

Maybe we should just make it easy and go with metric if we ever decide to implement Vienna Convention signs
If you were born in the US, I wish all Americans thought like you. Unfortunately the majority don't.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 09:19 PM   #8857
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post


Although I know what these signs mean it doesn't seem to have the same authority that a "SPEED LIMIT" or "MAXIMUM SPEED" sign would convey. If I got a ticket in that area I would say that there was never a Speed Limit sign. It looks more like a generic state highway sign to me.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 09:37 PM   #8858
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
Although I know what these signs mean it doesn't seem to have the same authority that a "SPEED LIMIT" or "MAXIMUM SPEED" sign would convey. If I got a ticket in that area I would say that there was never a Speed Limit sign. It looks more like a generic state highway sign to me.
Any implementation of these signs would require public education and a change in signage laws. Agencies can't just display signs in whichever way they like. It would need an approval process a overhaul of standards so people will understand them.

Technically, the current speed limit signs used on these gantries (white on black background) aren't MUTCD standard either, but I think there was an exception that was made for them.

If international speed limit signs are used, it would be a legal replacement or an alternative to current speed limit signs. Much like "No left turn" has a pictogram alternative containing a left turn arrow inside a red circle with a slash.

Last edited by HAWC1506; April 22nd, 2013 at 09:46 PM.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 09:38 PM   #8859
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I don't think most Americans would grasp the different between an "advised" speed limit, and a "mandatory" speed limit. All speed limits are mandatory here but are only treaty as a general guideline by drivers (me included).
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 10:56 PM   #8860
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Garden State Parkway between the miles 35 and 55 respectively is currently widening from two-tracks lanes to three-track lanes in both directions.
On toll plazas there are separate lanes with Easy-pass masts so there the toll can be paid wirelessly without slowing (of course one is supposed to have the Easy-pass transmitter in his car).
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