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Old June 16th, 2011, 05:08 PM   #2421
DanielFigFoz
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London is 40 miles across, and signs do have neighbourhoods on them or other landmarks.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 05:18 PM   #2422
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But in a city like Chicago or Miami, most of the neighborhoods didn't preexist the city as small (or not so small) towns in their own right, the way London's neighborhoods did, so their identities are less clear. American road maps mostly won't show neighborhood names within most such cities (it depends on the city to some extent). On the other hand, street-naming, in most places, is much more systematic. A "95th Street" in Chicago runs without changing its name across the city then on into the suburbs. And also falls between, and runs parallel to, 87th and 103d (and the other numbers too, obviously - those are main streets).

Of course, what works in Chicago wouldn't work in London (all those "High Street"s), but "Croydon" and "Wimbledon" and "Hampstead" are much better-known and better-defined to people than Chicago neighborhood names are.

I'm less familiar with British practices than, say, French, but a medium-sized French city may have exits named "Amiens-Nord-Ouest," "Amiens-Ouest," "Amiens-Centre".... which to me is a lot more vague than specific streets, if they're at least main streets.

Look at Chicago (or Milwaukee or Detroit of Miami or any number of other places) on Google Maps and you'll see what I mean.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 05:36 PM   #2423
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Yes you get that in the UK as well, North, East, West, South, Centre etc, and in Portugal for that matter.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 03:29 AM   #2424
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The difference is whether the motorway is urban or not. Take Birmingham for an example.

The southern side of the M42 will give you at various junctions the options of Birmingham (E), Birmingham (S), etc along with select larger conurbations such as Solihull, Bromsgrove, etc.

In comparison, the M6 through the centre of Birmingham won't give such vague details, but will rather provide motorists with signage for more local areas like Aston, or the City Centre itself.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 05:52 AM   #2425
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In urban areas, I don't see how that can be helped: the city limits of Chicago, for example, extend for more than 20 miles north to south. You can hardly have 20 exits marked "Chicago." Yes, there are neighborhood names, but how well known are they? I think marking exits "95th St," then "87th St," and so on is more helpful than using neighborhood names or landmarks like hospitals that the person who knows he needs to get off at 95th St. may not be familiar with. (And hospitals, universities, and so on can still appear on supplemental signage. You know, a sequence like "Exit 346A - South St - 1 mile" - then another sign reading "University of Pennsylvania, Children's Hospital - Exit 346A" - then we're back to "Exit 346A - South St - 1/2 mile"....)

The typical exit sign in a suburban or rural area will have a route number and a couple of towns, perhaps one in each direction.
You're quite right. Just as Johnny Foreigner, I'm still not used to it, even after almost a decade! I get by now thanks to GPS, so signage is basically irrelevant anyway. One thing signage lacks here is direction, e.g. north, south, west, east. In the UK, you get a sense of which direction a particular motorway/highway is heading in...you don't really get that here. I'd actually like to see a mixture of UK/US signage though - combined they would be the best on earth, IMO.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 08:27 AM   #2426
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That's strange: I thought one thing we (and to some extent the UK) did that the Continent tended to ignore was post directions: you'll rarely see a route marker in the US without a "North," "South," etc., accompanying it, unless it's announcing a junction where you can go both ways. (The state of New York, which tends to leave the direction plates off its reassurance markers, for some reason, being a notable exception.) The French equivalent of "I-95 North" and "I-95 South" is "A1 Lille" and "A1 Paris"; of course most European countries are far more generous with destinations ("control cities," American roadgeeks insist on calling it) than we are, and that's something we could learn from Europe. (That's my biggest complaint, by far, about American signage. You can drive for miles and miles without the state you're in ever telling you that it's X miles to the next sizable city down the road, until you're pretty close to it - here I'll give credit to Virginia for being way better than other states I drive in regularly - and the destinations that appear along with that "I-95 North" on the big green sign are inconsistent to put it mildly. Try navigating here by anything other than route numbers - and street names in urban areas - and you're screwed.)

Most of this, as you suggest, comes down to what you're used to, of course.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 07:15 PM   #2427
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Polmadie Junction




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And last two for just now.....



Some pictures from this 'open day' which took place in May. Pictures were posted in a Scottish thread about M74 extension.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 08:35 PM   #2428
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The M74 extension is complete?? Wow, that was fast!
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Old June 18th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #2429
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Since the UK built this one so quickly, the sky's the limit! Next stop:

- South Coast Highway, Folkestone to Plymouth (M27)
- Black Country Orbital Route (M42)
- Sheffield to Manchester link motorway
- Upgrade of A34 to motorway from Winchester to Oxford/M40 (i.e. with hard shoulder, as it's badly needed) - (A34(M))
- A1 between Newcastle & Edinburgh upgraded to motorway, A1(M)
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Old June 18th, 2011, 10:07 PM   #2430
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That's an interesting gantry. I'd have thought they'd be of the new design that they're using for all new gantries I've seen put up.

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&hq=&...80.28,,0,-4.01
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Old June 18th, 2011, 10:54 PM   #2431
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Maybe Transport Scotland or whatever its called doesn't use those new ones you saw
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Old June 19th, 2011, 05:04 PM   #2432
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Some interesting suggestions on how motoway signage of the UK could be improved

http://globonsomeday.blogspot.com/20...orway-and.html
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Old June 19th, 2011, 06:44 PM   #2433
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Not much changes there really. It mentions complicance with the Vienna Convention, but if the UK didn't sign it like Portugal, I don't think that compliance is necessary for any sign
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Old June 19th, 2011, 07:07 PM   #2434
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We saw this blog on SABRE a few months back, and pretty much everyone felt that, ignoring all the "conform, conform, conform" dogma that many found repulsive (metricate, "do this as the Vienna Convention demands" stuff), the signs weren't improved - at best they were simply different, often they were worse, and some suggestions were dangerously misleading (eg the you must turn left and right sign).

Looking at this motorway sign page:

First off the metrication is done badly, cluttering up the sign. 500m, 800m, 1600m are really bad: 0.5km, 0.8km and 1.6km would be better.

Next is that the distinction between standard exits and interchanges is meaningless to Brits, so adding the logos adds clutter and no meaningful information - ignoring additional uglyness. If we had tabbed exit numbers, like the French and Americans, then yes do it, but this is far more cluttered.

Removing Regional Destinations is next - clearly this person doesn't understand UK navigation methods. It's deliberately vague - Gloucester and Taunton are in the West - do I go that way for it? The Regional Destination says yes, the big place says "well you can get to Bristol this way".

Converting wordy signs:
- the hard shoulder one is the hard shoulder going in 800m or for 800m?
- the refuge one just says that there's a refuge/layby, not what the sign actually says (and how do you pictogram 'emergency use only'?)
- services signs: there's minimum standards for services on the motorway (and thus the only things that really matter are LPG and Hotel), at 1 mile you'll have a sign with everything at the services anyway (though I like the improvements to those signs). Knowing what operator runs it is useful to know, but that's removed. The no services thing isn't immediately obvious from the pictogram and makes for a small, confusing sign. White signs on motorways for services accessed via other motorways is 1)ugly 2)pointless 3)confusing.
- "end of motorway regulations" is not "end of motorway" - there's legal differences between these two signs

Adding the motorway symbol to other traffic signs adds pointless clutter - the blue patch makes motorways stand out anyway. Worse though, is that chopsticks mean start of motorway regulations - so you can put it on ADS signs that taking the first exit, or not taking the left fork, etc puts you under motorway restrictions but to say that at junction where it's not the case has radically changed the legal meaning of that sign, confusing people and making a huge hash of things.

In summary of the whole site - some good ideas poorly executed, lots of changing the meanings of signs and not noticing it as there's a massive lack of understanding of signage, some bad ideas (mostly due to the driving ideology that British people and signs should be Germanic and if we think differently then we must change), plus one or two genuinely good ideas.

Last edited by sotonsi; June 20th, 2011 at 03:23 PM. Reason: fix url - see discussion down thread
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Old June 19th, 2011, 07:46 PM   #2435
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First off the metrication is done badly, cluttering up the sign. 500m, 800m, 1600m are really bad: 0.5km, 0.8km and 1.6km would be better.
To me it is more natural to give distances of less than one kilometre in metres and those over one kilometre in kilometres.

So 500m and 800m rather than 0.5km and 0.8km but 1.6km rather than 1 600m.

That seems a natural and appropriate point to switch from the one unit to the other. 0.5km and 0.8km seem like too literal conversions of fractions of a mile.
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Old June 19th, 2011, 09:27 PM   #2436
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Once a distance gets signposted in meters, at least I get a certain sense of urgency. That's why I believe that all AD signs ought to be expressed in meters, even if placed at 1600 meters or 3000 meters (first French AD sign for a motorway intersection). But that is probably more nurture than nature. If the UK went metric, a whole culture of working with metric signs would need to grow there. And you might then still end up with signs saying 0.5 km and people still having a strong sense of urgency.

Otherwise, I wasn't too impressed with most of the proposals either. An exit symbol just doesn't work when pointing to the left. And I for myself believe that a symbol is redundant if you use a shield-type exit number like the UK does. If anything, I'd slightly increase the size of that shield and consider placing it on a different spot on the fork sign. And that proposed Germanification of the services sign when it comes to forthcoming services, I like the current distance sign-type approach a lot better than trying to cram this type of information underneath a sign that is primarily about services offered here.
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Old June 19th, 2011, 09:43 PM   #2437
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So 500m and 800m rather than 0.5km and 0.8km but 1.6km rather than 1 600m.
Certainly the leading zero isn't nice and changing at 1km is OK, but given the writer of the blog talks about the clutter of British signs, having 4-digit numbers when you can take up less space by using decimals is massively inconsistent (though not as bad as the addition of pointless symbols to junction numbers)
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That seems a natural and appropriate point to switch from the one unit to the other.
point of pedantry (though probably wrong, this is how I think of it) km and m are the same unit, just that kilometres is prefixed by kilo-, which means suffixing the amount of units with *10^3. I read ten kilometres as being tenkilo metres.
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0.5km and 0.8km seem like too literal conversions of fractions of a mile.
I'm not sure what you are getting at here. 500m is very roughly 1/3 of a mile and 800m is pretty much the same (less than 10m off) as 1/2 a mile. The person writing the blog has sensibly decided that uprooting gantries and moving them to be 1km, 2km, etc isn't worth it and only the sign faces should be changed on existing signs when metricating.

And what's wrong with fractions of a mile, other than the hostility and lack of understanding of those who are from across the Channel to both fractions and miles?
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Old June 19th, 2011, 10:23 PM   #2438
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And what's wrong with fractions of a mile, other than the hostility and lack of understanding of those who are from across the Channel to both fractions and miles?
I think that they look a bit strange, on the other side of the channel people do use fractions, just not on road signs
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Old June 19th, 2011, 10:27 PM   #2439
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I agree very much with the last example, and with many of the suggestions on the list...although I wish the issue wasn't conflated with the metrication issue - which is not needed, wanted by many or on the cards.

I do, however, wish we would box route numbers so that they look less like destinations in their own right. That is something that, to me at any rate, looks much better.



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Old June 19th, 2011, 10:48 PM   #2440
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Certainly the leading zero isn't nice and changing at 1km is OK, but given the writer of the blog talks about the clutter of British signs, having 4-digit numbers when you can take up less space by using decimals is massively inconsistent (though not as bad as the addition of pointless symbols to junction numbers)point of pedantry (though probably wrong, this is how I think of it) km and m are the same unit, just that kilometres is prefixed by kilo-, which means suffixing the amount of units with *10^3. I read ten kilometres as being tenkilo metres.I'm not sure what you are getting at here. 500m is very roughly 1/3 of a mile and 800m is pretty much the same (less than 10m off) as 1/2 a mile. The person writing the blog has sensibly decided that uprooting gantries and moving them to be 1km, 2km, etc isn't worth it and only the sign faces should be changed on existing signs when metricating.

And what's wrong with fractions of a mile, other than the hostility and lack of understanding of those who are from across the Channel to both fractions and miles?
There's nothing inherently wrong with miles and fractions, that was not my point, I was saying that perhaps the km distances with leading zeros had been influenced by the present system of fractions of a mile ie translating 1/2 mile to 0.8km rather than 800m (fraction > decimal and miles > km).
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