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Old June 21st, 2011, 02:05 PM   #2461
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Originally Posted by -Pino- View Post
The main difference is in the absence of a simple exit / interchange symbol. And on that point, I fully subscribe to NCT's point. The importance of a junction follows from the general way in which it is signposted, not from one symbol. And most definitely not from that one symbol in the way the Germans use it.
This is pretty daft to be honest. The importance of a junction is simply not reflected by the way the signs are mounted. The main reason to erect gantries is visibility on highly frequented carriageways. Which means that all junction on 6 lane wide motorways get gantries these days.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 02:12 PM   #2462
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You misunderstand me. I don't count junctions. I never did. I identify them by the symbol and their name. So I neither miss TOTSOs nor is it luck.
Why couldn't you identify them by name alone? And why couldn't you identify them by number?
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And I do know where the TOTSOs are, at least in the countries I venture. But I don't perceive TOTSOs as such as I follow control destinations rather than road numbers.
But would the average joe know where the TOTSOs are? And you still have TOTSOs, in effect - turning off to stay following that destination.

I can't see how control destination, rather than number is better - at best it's simply different like being left-handed rather than right-handed. If I was a tourist heading from Dover to Bath, and we had Continental control destinations, how would I know which big city on the map that's near Bath would be signed - it could be Bristol, it could be Cardiff. I'd have to anticipate which one, or look out for both. The M4 could even be to Swansea as that's the far off destination - if I'm not familiar with the country, how would I know to follow that, without prior knowledge of what place is signed along the M4? At least with numbers, it's clear that you'd want the M4, rather than not knowing which one of three options will be on the signs.

I'm very sympathetic to having a pluralism of navigation techniques (eg putting the names of motorway junctions on signs on the motorway and on maps, doing control destinations better to help foreign drivers), but I cannot see what knowing what type of junction it is would add to navigation - can anyone tell me a practical purpose knowing what type of interchange it is gives? Can anyone tell me what is so wrong with using numbers (both road and junction), and why doing so makes me an Untermensch that must be re-educated? And finally can anyone tell me why Britain must acquiesce to Contential customs, but not vice versa, even when it comes to travelling around Britain herself?
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Old June 21st, 2011, 02:37 PM   #2463
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Which means that all junction on 6 lane wide motorways get gantries these days.
Not here, they don't....

And can someone tell me what a TOTSO is?
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Old June 21st, 2011, 04:00 PM   #2464
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A TOTSO is where you have to 'turn off to stay on', ie the route number doesn't follow the mainline of the road.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 04:45 PM   #2465
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Why couldn't you identify them by name alone? And why couldn't you identify them by number?But would the average joe know where the TOTSOs are? And you still have TOTSOs, in effect - turning off to stay following that destination.

I can't see how control destination, rather than number is better - at best it's simply different like being left-handed rather than right-handed. If I was a tourist heading from Dover to Bath, and we had Continental control destinations, how would I know which big city on the map that's near Bath would be signed - it could be Bristol, it could be Cardiff. I'd have to anticipate which one, or look out for both. The M4 could even be to Swansea as that's the far off destination - if I'm not familiar with the country, how would I know to follow that, without prior knowledge of what place is signed along the M4? At least with numbers, it's clear that you'd want the M4, rather than not knowing which one of three options will be on the signs.

I'm very sympathetic to having a pluralism of navigation techniques (eg putting the names of motorway junctions on signs on the motorway and on maps, doing control destinations better to help foreign drivers), but I cannot see what knowing what type of junction it is would add to navigation - can anyone tell me a practical purpose knowing what type of interchange it is gives? Can anyone tell me what is so wrong with using numbers (both road and junction), and why doing so makes me an Untermensch that must be re-educated? And finally can anyone tell me why Britain must acquiesce to Contential customs, but not vice versa, even when it comes to travelling around Britain herself?
Agree 100%
I use mostly numbers to navigate. Here in UK as well in USA where I have driven a lot.
I don't get at all how some pople are so fascinated by the German signage so they see it as the only "proper" solution.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 06:00 PM   #2466
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Why couldn't you identify them by name alone? And why couldn't you identify them by number?
I did. But once symbols were added there is now a preliminary criteria to judge whether a junction is relevant or not.

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I can't see how control destination, rather than number is better - at best it's simply different like being left-handed rather than right-handed. If I was a tourist heading from Dover to Bath, and we had Continental control destinations, how would I know which big city on the map that's near Bath would be signed - it could be Bristol, it could be Cardiff. I'd have to anticipate which one, or look out for both. The M4 could even be to Swansea as that's the far off destination
With control destinations you get to Bath by general geographic knowledge. Going there by numbers requires a specific road related knowledge.
And there is something else. Very few places ever changed their names. Even though they existed over several hundred years. Road and junction numbers do change although they are relatively new.

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if I'm not familiar with the country, how would I know to follow that, without prior knowledge of what place is signed along the M4? At least with numbers, it's clear that you'd want the M4, rather than not knowing which one of three options will be on the signs.
If you're not familiar with the country you wouldn't know either where the M4 get you nor what the prefix M stands for.

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And finally can anyone tell me why Britain must acquiesce to Contential customs, but not vice versa, even when it comes to travelling around Britain herself?
Britain doesn't have to do anything. But one wonders why so many countries can agree on the improvement of standards while Britain stand aside.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 06:36 PM   #2467
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Quite frankly, if you are not familiar with the general geography and the road system, haven't done your homework and memorised your route, you shouldn't be driving at all. It's not that hard, and once you've done your homework the British signage system is extremely easy to understand.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 06:43 PM   #2468
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This is pretty daft to be honest. The importance of a junction is simply not reflected by the way the signs are mounted. The main reason to erect gantries is visibility on highly frequented carriageways. Which means that all junction on 6 lane wide motorways get gantries these days.
A simple junction on a wide motorway in Germany gets one full gantry at 500 meters and then an overhead exit sign not at full width at the actual exit. Which can be distinguished from what happens at an important motorway interchange, where the first announcement sign comes at 2000 meters and you get three or four full-width gantry signs between that first approach sign and the actual exit. And you're telling me that the importance of a junction is not reflected in the use of gantries?

Quote:
Once symbols were added there is now a preliminary criteria to judge whether a junction is relevant or not.
Before the introduction of symbols, I would read the word Kreuz or Dreieck to identify what was relevant. As a result of the introduction of symbols, the word Kreuz or Dreieck has started to disappear in favour of the symbol. That in itself was not too bad, but not much of an advance either. What is bad is that the interchange symbol now also gets used at lots of intersections with Bundesstrassen with very limited relevance. So the old clarity of the German system when it comes to establishing relevance has diluted as a result of the introduction of symbols.

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Britain doesn't have to do anything. But one wonders why so many countries can agree on the improvement of standards while Britain stand aside.
Britain was the first country in Europe that implemented the improved standard of exit numbers. Germany stood aside for 15 years. But apart from that, you suggest that there is more or less unanimous consent in Europe about the approach in terms of symbols and numbering of motorway interchanges. That unanimous consent exists in your dreams only. You have the countries that do not number motorway interchanges yet only use the interchange symbol on the first approach sign to the interchange (France, The Netherlands), you have countries that do number motorway interchanges yet where the symbol only returns on the first approach sign (Germany), you have the countries that do not use the exit symbol at all (Belgium, Denmark) and you have countries where interchanges get an ordinary exit symbol (Spain). Any suggestion that we on the Continent are already educated and that only the Brits are stupid savages is proposterous.

The only point where you might establish some kind of a consent on the Continent is well beyond the realm of numbering. It is that the local word for interchange (Kreuz, Knooppunt, Echangeur) has been replaced with the symbol. But that is mostly on first approach signs, and definitely not as something that should necessarily affect the way exits and interchanges are numbered throughout the country. I'm only guessing but I have a feeling that the replacement of the word "Interchange" with a symbol on a few British approach signs is not halfway as controversial as having to use exit and interchange symbols in the context of straightforward exit numbering. In other words, where the use of the symbol is limited to the type of signs below (albeit that I don't like any of the specific replacement signs; I would pick the middle column but maintain both road numbers in the interchange).

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Old June 21st, 2011, 07:16 PM   #2469
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I did. But once symbols were added there is now a preliminary criteria to judge whether a junction is relevant or not.
so these symbols are basically an extra bit of stuff that serves little purpose other than making your life a tiny bit easier...
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With control destinations you get to Bath by general geographic knowledge. Going there by numbers requires a specific road related knowledge.
How many foreign visitors have that general geographic knowledge without looking at mapping, off which they can pick up the road numbers needed for their journey? Both require special knowledge obtained from maps.
Quote:
If you're not familiar with the country you wouldn't know either where the M4 get you nor what the prefix M stands for.
But you wouldn't plan on driving in a country you are unfamilar of without looking at a map at where you need to go. With destinations, you need to know the rough whereabouts of several different places, any of which might be what's signed off the M25 in the direction you want to go, whereas you only need to know to take the M4 away from London until you see signs for Bath.

My mum once got horribly lost when trying to get to Irthlingborough - she was fine until she saw Kettering on the sign at Wellingborough (approaching there from the Milton Keynes direction). She knew she had to follow Kettering at some point (having made the journey a couple of days before) so followed it here - she ended up at Northampton before realizing that she had gone in totally the wrong direction. She didn't realize that Kettering is due north of Wellingborough and Irthlingborough is SE of Kettering and E of Wellingborough and I don't think anyone should be expected to. She really needed to know that she had to take the A6 to Kettering.

I'm not sure navigation by destination is worse, it's that there's different problems (and the demand that you have to have a rough geography of the country in your head, as you don't know quite what destination will be signed - which is fine for me, but not fine for others, like my mum). However, you seem to be suggesting that we are all inferior people for using numbers and must change to the Germanic way, like some pumped up Prussian general or a Cyberman.
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Britain doesn't have to do anything. But one wonders why so many countries can agree on the improvement of standards while Britain stand aside.
We have several questions here:
1)We are different peoples, why should we conform to some standard for the sake of conforming to standards?*
2)Why fix what isn't broken?
3)Is this an actual improvement, or something equally good but different, or even making things worse?
4)Are the standards a compromise being all parties, or are our views left out?

You are probably also thinking of things like the Euro - the Euro wouldn't exist (it's on really shaky ground anyway at the moment, propped up by large illegal bailouts, including from the UK) as we'd have been unable to devalue our currency and Ireland, Greece and Portugal combined would have looked like a picnic compared to bailing out the UK. We couldn't stay in the ERM in 1992, as our economy isn't tied into some insular European economy like 'Old Europe', but is global, with strong ties to the USA, how could we have coped with the Euro?

*Perhaps an especially British thing - Scots, Welsh etc don't want to be tarred with the English brush, with regional English things too - added to over 200 years of us (often, but not always solely) defending a lot of Europe from oppressive regimes trying to create a Europe united by conformity to some ideal (and going back a lot further, the start of the Magna Carta declared that the Church of England was independent and free).

Last edited by sotonsi; June 21st, 2011 at 08:44 PM.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 08:35 PM   #2470
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Originally Posted by sotonsi View Post
....
General response to this: HEAR, HEAR!

Specific points:

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Originally Posted by sotonsi View Post
How many foreign visitors have that general geographic knowledge without looking at mapping, off which they can pick up the road numbers needed for their journey? Both require special knowledge obtained from maps.
But you wouldn't plan on driving in a country you are unfamilar of without looking at a map at where you need to go. With destinations, you need to know the rough whereabouts of several different places, any of which might be what's signed off the M25 in the direction you want to go, whereas you only need to know to take the M4 away from London until you see signs for Bath.
Exactly! Also, I like to pick my own routes, and getting off at US-whatever even though it'll take a bit longer but I'll see some country I haven't before, or because I'll avoid the construction I hit the last three times I used Pa.-whatever is only possible if US-whatever is actually posted, not just a French-style green sign with the name of a town (or, worse, a white sign with a couple of insignificant villages) and no route number at all.


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We have several questions here:
1)We are different peoples, why should we conform to some standard for the sake of conforming to standards?*
2)Why fix what isn't broken?
3)Is this an actual improvement, or something equally good but different, or even making things worse?
4)Are the standards a compromise being all parties, or are our views left out?
Questions 1, 2 and 3 in particular should always be asked whenever it's an issue of conformity to some supposed universal model (if it were really universal, we'd already be using it). Which doesn't mean we can't learn things from each other. But local (or national) authorities saying, "you know, they do this well in Germany, let's try it" is a far cry from the EU deciding that the German way (or the French way or the British way, whoever's - this isn't about Germany) is good and therefore mandating that it be adopted by everyone (regardless of whether the way they do it already is equally good, or better). Some degree of conformity is desirable, I suppose, but the EU seems to have an absolute fetish for it. I'm glad I'm 3000 miles out of its jurisdiction.

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*Perhaps an especially British thing - Scots, Welsh etc don't want to be tarred with the English brush, with regional English things too - added to over 200 years of us (often, but not always solely) defending a lot of Europe from oppressive regimes trying to create a Europe united by conformity to some ideal (and going back a lot further, the start of the Magna Carta declared that the Church of England was independent and free).
I think it's human to want to be able to make one's own decisions (France did vote against the EU Constitution in 2005, after all, over what for a lot of people was a discomfort with ceding control to a distant bureaucracy with little answerability to the public). Which I suppose is why I'm getting involved in this conversation even though I'm not British. (That, and the fact that I think you're generally right on the substance.) Harmless local differences - even this country sticking to "obscure" measurements (which I admit we couldn't get away with if we were Luxembourg, rather than a large country with oceans on two sides) - are, well, harmless, and we're at the point where I almost think they're worth actively defending. (Maybe I have a local-differences fetish to counter the EU's uniformity fetish, which is perhaps no better.) And even if they're not worth defending for their own sake, I'm certain it's worth defending keeping decision-making at a level that's close to the public.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 09:25 PM   #2471
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Local differences: people tend to love them when they can use 'em in order to make others yield to their local customs, hardly ever the other way around. But you will need to get over that where you identify a real upside in adjusting yourself. The discussion should therefore be about upside, not about any basic need to conform or harmonise. I can think of a few points where I think that the UK would be better off to copy other countries, but I wouldn't think of maintaining them if Britain did not see any upside.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 11:12 PM   #2472
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A simple junction on a wide motorway in Germany gets one full gantry at 500 meters and then an overhead exit sign not at full width at the actual exit.
Many junctions are equipped as you say. But there are also junction which got a full width gantry for their directional sign additional to the gantry of the ADS. The number of gantries is not particular helpful there. Especially when you have to make the decision whether a junction is relevant to you well in advance and not just when you already see the diverge.

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Originally Posted by -Pino- View Post
What is bad is that the interchange symbol now also gets used at lots of intersections with Bundesstrassen with very limited relevance. So the old clarity of the German system when it comes to establishing relevance has diluted as a result of the introduction of symbols.
And which junction are these? I don't know of any junction where the interchange* symbol is misplaced. On the contrary, I would make use of it at junction which haven't got it yet.

*motorway to motorway interchange to be precise. The English language lacks of definite terms as all GSJ are technically interchanges. This might be the reason why British are so reluctant to categorise motorway junctions.

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Originally Posted by -Pino- View Post
Britain was the first country in Europe that implemented the improved standard of exit numbers. Germany stood aside for 15 years. But apart from that, you suggest that there is more or less unanimous consent in Europe about the approach in terms of symbols and numbering of motorway interchanges. That unanimous consent exists in your dreams only. You have the countries that do not number motorway interchanges yet only use the interchange symbol on the first approach sign to the interchange (France, The Netherlands), you have countries that do number motorway interchanges yet where the symbol only returns on the first approach sign (Germany), you have the countries that do not use the exit symbol at all (Belgium, Denmark) and you have countries where interchanges get an ordinary exit symbol (Spain).
Junction numbering is not my point. I just expressed my favour for junction symbols.

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Any suggestion that we on the Continent are already educated and that only the Brits are stupid savages is proposterous.
The only authority that needs teaching in the correct use of these symbols are the Polish ones. But as I have overheard elsewhere in this forum some Polish road enthusiasts do exactly this already. But any other country uses these symbols for what they were intended.

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The only point where you might establish some kind of a consent on the Continent is well beyond the realm of numbering. It is that the local word for interchange (Kreuz, Knooppunt, Echangeur) has been replaced with the symbol. But that is mostly on first approach signs, and definitely not as something that should necessarily affect the way exits and interchanges are numbered throughout the country.
I wouldn't signpost it anywhere else.

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I'm only guessing but I have a feeling that the replacement of the word "Interchange" with a symbol on a few British approach signs is not halfway as controversial as having to use exit and interchange symbols in the context of straightforward exit numbering. In other words, where the use of the symbol is limited to the type of signs below (albeit that I don't like any of the specific replacement signs; I would pick the middle column but maintain both road numbers in the interchange).
The British signage system doesn't have introduction sign although they exist on some random junctions. Instead there are two ADS. And there lies the problem. One had to introduce a complete new sign there or turn the first ADS into an introduction sign. In both cases they will cry murder.

I leave it at that. I'm sick of a discussion that went far beyond two little symbols and where minor changes of direction signage are construed as a foreign invasion.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 12:21 AM   #2473
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And which junction are these? I don't know of any junction where the interchange* symbol is misplaced. On the contrary, I would make use of it at junction which haven't got it yet.

*motorway to motorway interchange to be precise. The English language lacks of definite terms as all GSJ are technically interchanges. This might be the reason why British are so reluctant to categorise motorway junctions.
There you go. The interchange symbol is used at many places that are not motorway-to-motorway but where a motorway to non-motorway connection takes the form of a cloverleaf (random example).

On top of that, I believe that the relevance of many three-digit motorways is so limited that they would deserve a treatment that does not suggest a major junction.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 12:28 AM   #2474
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The fact is, M-roads are treated in an integrated fashion with A-roads in Britain, and the boundary where an A-road becomes 'near motoway' is fuzzy at best. For example, M1's junction 21A for the A46, is it a simple junction or an interchange? It's a simple junction yet the A46 is a core route - one can debate it till the next millennium.

The simple answer is, with a combination of junction numbers and destinations, if you still can't find your way you shouldn't be driving. Different symbols or not won't make an ounce of a difference.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 01:10 AM   #2475
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The fact is, M-roads are treated in an integrated fashion with A-roads in Britain, and the boundary where an A-road becomes 'near motorway' is fuzzy at best. For example, M1's junction 21A for the A46, is it a simple junction or an interchange? It's a simple junction yet the A46 is a core route - one can debate it till the next millennium.
This is particularly relevant in Britain where, as a result of the country's geography, many branch routes of the main North-South connectors are not at motorway standard yet form important connections.

And more generally throughout Europe, the distinction between motorways and non-motorways is blurring. You have German Gelbe Autobahnen, Italian superstrade, English dual carriageways and French voies expresses that are all signposted like non-motorways but, in their network function and profile, are closer to a motorway than to a non-motorway. A distinction that once was logical is no longer logical, and the distinction of motorway interchanges as the important nodes from other interchanges that are not follows suit. I would say that such a blurring distinction can be tackled relatively easily via the use of gantries, extra AD signs etc, and much less so via that single symbol. The bad news for the German style is that it pushes them into a mandatory distinction where numbering junctions in UK style without any form of symbol (or in the Spanish style, where everything is under one symbol) leaves flexibility.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 02:14 AM   #2476
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The only authority that needs teaching in the correct use of these symbols are the Polish ones. But as I have overheard elsewhere in this forum some Polish road enthusiasts do exactly this already. But any other country uses these symbols for what they were intended.
There are a lot of problems with Polish signage, the biggest being signing of some stupid small villages just because they happen to be the nearest settlement to particular exit or first one after crossing the border. Exit symbols is minor problem comparing to that.
In my opinion after major roads are built we should name exits correctly and give them numbers, preferably based on distance. I wish for Poland good mix of road numbering and destinations.

But knowing our inferiority complex to Germany we end up with copy of German signage pushed by road enthusiasts who learned about modern roads mostly from driving in Germany. It will have its advantages and drawbacks as well.

And to clarify. I don't have problem with Germany or German signage or other solutions for that matter. But it is not the only possibility. There are other ways of doing things, some of them equal or even better.

Sorry for little OT but I felt dragged to the subject

And please keep Brussels bureaucrats as far as possible from road signing in Britain.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 03:04 AM   #2477
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I think British motorway signage should remain as it is so we can amuse ourselves by arguing over it.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 11:55 AM   #2478
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There you go. The interchange symbol is used at many places that are not motorway-to-motorway but where a motorway to non-motorway connection takes the form of a cloverleaf (random example).
The intersecting road is grade-separated and dualled. It provides a high-capacity link between two motorways. The symbol is rightly chosen.

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On top of that, I believe that the relevance of many three-digit motorways is so limited that they would deserve a treatment that does not suggest a major junction.
They aren't surface roads either. That alone warrants to emphasise their junctions with other motorways.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 04:08 PM   #2479
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Originally Posted by -Pino- View Post
Local differences: people tend to love them when they can use 'em in order to make others yield to their local customs, hardly ever the other way around....
That's not the case with me, at all. If anything, switching to metric at the Canadian border adds to the sense of being somewhere else. I've always had an interest in...I'm struggling for what to call it...the details of daily life. My favorite travel book when I first went to Europe wasn't a guidebook at all, but a book called How to Europe, with chapter after chapter (written amusingly, which helps, by an American living in Holland) about things like currencies and how to use public transportation...photos of the signs you might encounter...that sort of thing. Like an extended and less dry version of the Practical Information pages you'd find in the front or back of a guidebook. In history, it's the same way; I'd be interested in how a particular crisis (the American Civil War, say) played out to civilians, and also in what normal life was during the period - what did people eat and where, what were shops like, what did things cost.... There was a time when I could have told you what denominations of currency and what particular coins were in use in the U.S. in any given year, and part of me still regrets the Euro (although I admit the advantages of it are obvious, particularly to a traveler).

I'm babbling, but even little things like signage quirks add to the sense of place to me, and I think sense of place is something worth preserving. I like it that a French streetscape doesn't look quite like a German one even in a border area where the architecture wouldn't tell you which country you're in.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 04:39 PM   #2480
CairnsTony
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Cairns, Qld.
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Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
I'm babbling, but even little things like signage quirks add to the sense of place to me, and I think sense of place is something worth preserving. I like it that a French streetscape doesn't look quite like a German one even in a border area where the architecture wouldn't tell you which country you're in.
Which is why I've found this whole debate about signage so baffling.

Maybe I'm just adaptable, but I find the differences as you say, part of the adventure. If you've travelled around Africa as I have and coped with signage there than just about anywhere else is a doddle by comparison.
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