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Old May 24th, 2008, 02:51 PM   #401
Verso
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Originally Posted by Stuu View Post
Its a fair point that they are airports but they are probably much better known than the suburbs and commuter towns the road passes.
Ok, it's not the best example, as it's a simple exit anyway (although it's hard to notice, as the whole sign is blue). Oxford for M40 is ok, b/c of its renown, so Birmingham isn't exactly necessary [except by the junction with the M40, where it's written (B'ham)]. Heathrow for M4 is also ok, b/c of its instant proximity to the interchange M25×M4 and the sign itself, although Bristol wouldn't hurt. But Gatwick for M23 is nonsense. Instead it should be Crawley or Brighton. And if there's sign for M23, there's no logic in not signing M3, which comes first, and Southampton as the destination. We're not talking about signing unknown suburbs here.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #402
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The problem on the M25 is that there aren't enough large places that could function as a control city on the signs. So you're either stuck with dozens of places along connecting (radiating) motorways, or focal points such as airports or bridges.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 03:01 PM   #403
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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
In some cases, yes. However, I would also counter that Australia, New Zealand and the USA spend proportionately FAR more of their budgets on transportation than European nations despite the fact that public transport provision and modal share is low in each of these countries.

True, subsidies do exist for PT and true taxpayers generally foot the bill, but roading costs too and road maintenance is incredibly expensive and the hidden costs associated with roads can mount up too.

Give me some time after my exams on wednesday and I'll be quite happy to dig out some proper academically written literature associated with this topic if you are interested.
I think the main point should be to realise that neither roads nor public transport alone can solve all congestion problems we face today, whether they are local, regional, national or international. We need efficient metro systems, high- and slower-speed trains, bus lanes, trams... but also quality motorways sppplemented by good highways. I live in "the world's richest country", and we have none of the above...
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Old May 24th, 2008, 03:35 PM   #404
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Originally Posted by Verso View Post
And way too much stress is put on airports. Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted etc. are small places; how am I supposed to find them on map, if I'm not interested in airports? Most people coming by plane don't rent cars, and British taxi- and bus drivers know where the airports are anyway.
The original M25 control destinations were Gatwick M23; Heathrow M4; Watford & M1; Harlow M11 and Dartford Tunnel. The road numbers have all gained brackets, as the roads aren't considered destinations anymore. 'Harlow M11' has since changed to 'Stansted M11' as Stansted is better known. Some of the Watford ones became Luton (signing the airport) - the rest lost their '&' or became 'The NORTH M1' though it seems that Watford is the current choice (and in British culture, Watford (though not this one) is the gateway to the north). Dartford Tunnel became 'Dartford Crossing' when they put the bridge in.
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Originally Posted by Stuu View Post
Re the comments about road numbers not being useful, this is how virtually everyone in the UK refers to roads, I'm genuinely surprised that this isn't how people refer to roads elsewhere in Europe, on other threads people talk about the Hungarian M3 etc. Whether the use of road numbers for general direction finding is because of the signs work or the reason for them is a different question
While the destinations are airports (or Watford or a feature of the road), they are always coupled with a road number. The M11 stands out - the M4 is at the 9 o'clock position, the M1 at the 11 o'clock position (and heads 'due north' in a warped British geography, so is really the 12 o'clock position) the M11 is between 1 and 2 o'clock, the Dartford crossing is at 3 o'clock and the M23 is at 6 o'clock. They are all a quarter of the way round (roughly). I guess that the M11 is on there as M1-Dartford is rather a long stretch. As we navigate in numbers (or things like 'go through the Dartford Tunnel') these make much more sense. The M20, M40 and M3 appear on signs as well, normally when entering the Motorway network onto the M25. The signs at junction 18 have M25 South (M40, M4, M3) and M25 North (M1, A1(M), M11) IIRC.
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Originally Posted by flierfy View Post
The example you came up with is great. It got it all in once the flaws of the British road signage. As already mentioned it is mainly based on road numbers. And that's the reason why this sign is utter crap.
it's not too bad - there's far more flaws it could have. I could lack of 'M25', lack of brackets on M4, M40 and M23 (not standard when that sign was put up on the M25 - the roads were destinations), little aeroplane symbols, rather than a big one, and the M4, M40 and M23 shouldn't be above the arrow (as that's where the 'M25' goes). However, you should know that you are on the M25 by know, and the previous signs for the junction (3 of them) have M25 on them. Having 4 road numbers (even if some bracketed) on one sign isn't a good idea - which destination would you get rid of there to put 'M25' on? You have next two control destinations and the next junction (signed with the horribly far away Oxford - that's the worst thing about that sign - it's fine when there's a couple of destinations along the M40, but Oxford just jars when it's the only one, and you're at that location - it goes against the status quo - it's too far away, yet not a compass direction).
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It is neither on the M4, the M23 nor the M40. It is J17 on the M25. It fooled you and anybody else. Now tell me how someone who isn't used to places like Gatwick or Heathrow is supposed to find his way when even the only useful information is wrong and misleading.
numbers. Most of the people on the M25 would be wondering which way to go if you had all sorts of far off places that were - all they want to do is make a local journey, not go to the other side of the country. Oxford is a far more annoying destination than Heathrow and Gatwick, which are common destinations for longer distance people (not lorry drivers, but then they ought to be good navigators anyway) and locals (we're talking anyone who lives within 100 miles of the M25, if not 200) should know roughly where they are, and also what directions the roads that they are attached to head out of London in.
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This sign differs from the standard I have to admit. A standard that isn't bad generally. However, signing small town rather than big cities on motorways isn't really helpful. And not just for Europeans.
However Heathrow and Gatwick are treated by the British road signing system as big cities - far more important than most of the commuter belt towns near to the M25. I think that Reading (or Bristol) M4; Brighton M23 would be even more confusing than Heathrow and Gatwick - Heathrow is on the M25, as are Watford and the Dartford Crossing, Gatwick and Stansted are close enough to it to make sense.

To take that awful 'Oxford M40' destination as an example - if I wanted to go to High Wycombe (which is about the same size as Oxford, just not the furthest away place on the M40 you'd want to use the M40 to get to from that point) I'd have to know both where Oxford was and where High Wycombe was, and where I am, to know that heading towards Oxford would take me to High Wycombe. The M40 is the important thing here - If I was going to either Oxford or High Wycombe, I should know that the M40 heads that way, so I see M40 and know that I'm going the right way. The signs at the junction from the M25 show both, but here there's nowhere near enough room. Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as being important destinations in their own right, mark the cardinal West and South positions on the circular motorway, with Watford (being the biggest place on the M25, and the home of the junction with the M1 - the main road to the North) marking the Northern 'corner' (though really the NW), the M11 and Stansted marking the NE (filling in the gap due to the oval nature of the M25), Dartford marking the east.

Flierfly - what you you sign the onward direction on that sign as?
For myself, "Heathrow (M4), Gatwick (M23), Uxbridge (M40) M25" would fit the bill, however, you'd disagree as these are all 'small' places.
Would it be "Channel Tunnel, Birmingham (M40), Bristol (M4) M25"? After all - long distance, you ought to sign further round and further out! OK, Birmingham and Bristol is taking it to extremes (in my book at least) - how about Oxford and Reading? I wouldn't mind that much if it was "The WEST (M4)", but I feel that Heathrow should be signed, thus removing the need for a long distance destination there.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 03:55 PM   #405
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Originally Posted by sotonsi View Post
You have next two control destinations and the next junction (signed with the horribly far away Oxford - that's the worst thing about that sign - it's fine when there's a couple of destinations along the M40, but Oxford just jars when it's the only one, and you're at that location - it goes against the status quo - it's too far away, yet not a compass direction).numbers.
Oh, come on; how much do you drive across England that you see Oxford as "horribly far away"? Oxford is as near as the other side of London. The British Empire was once the largest empire in the world, how can you be so "close-minded"?

Also, I think the destination "Channel Tunnel" should be supplemented with "France" or "F" in ellipse.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 06:57 PM   #406
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Why do you think that signs should be long distance - you're the one being closed minded by saying that Oxford isn't too far away for that location when you live in Slovenia and you are ignoring the advice of an 'expert' - someone who has spent most of his life with that motorway junction being his closest motorway junction. Someone who is English and knows about how road signs work in this country and how that Oxford is too far away compared to every similar sign - no city the size of Oxford would be signed on a road that didn't lead directly to it (or to directly to a road that went straight to it), as a forward destination, from that far away - especially when there's a place a lot closer, that's the first control destination on the motorway (High Wycombe) that's half the distance away and nearly the same size.

Most of the traffic from there on the M25 comes off before then. Oxford is pretty useless as a destination there - at the M40 junction, yes, but then there's also High Wycombe, Uxbridge, Central London and (IIRC) Beaconsfield signed on the M40 from the M25 from Watford. Very little of the traffic heading that way is going to Oxford - it's going to the places in between. M40 and Oxford are also, in our number based system, rather linked - a destination less linked, but still important would be good - I chose Uxbridge as London (C) is rather dumb for the M25, plus it's the closest town to the junction and doubly good, as people might want to take the A412 at that junction to get to Uxbridge and nearby places, when they are better off carrying on down to the M40, for everywhere except Maple Cross.

As for Channel Tunnel needing to be supplanted with France, what needless clutter - it's really obvious that it goes to France, so why bother wasting the space.

Just because that's how they do things in Slovenia, or Germany, doesn't mean that's how they should do them in the UK - the countries have a very different geography (other than to get to Ireland, no one needs to drive through Britain to get to another country, unlike Germany or Slovenia) and method of doing things - the UK went with a number-destination hybrid system, and endorsed it more so when the motorways came along, with primary destinations (with names shown in green/yellow on modern UK maps) and the Motorway font for road numbers on Motorway signs. We have vague directions such as 'The NORTH' to save listing tons of far off places and only name ones closer in (the exception being London, which is like a direction thing anyway). Sometimes confirmation signs have ports, etc a long way off just before/after major junctions - eg the M6/A14 one. However direction signs don't have them. Birmingham at the M40/M25 junction must be the furthest away a non-London place is signed on a direction sign (and funnily enough, it's not signed again until a lot later).
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Old May 24th, 2008, 07:48 PM   #407
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Originally Posted by sotonsi View Post
it's not too bad - there's far more flaws it could have. I could lack of 'M25', lack of brackets on M4, M40 and M23 (not standard when that sign was put up on the M25 - the roads were destinations), little aeroplane symbols, rather than a big one, and the M4, M40 and M23 shouldn't be above the arrow (as that's where the 'M25' goes). However, you should know that you are on the M25 by know, and the previous signs for the junction (3 of them) have M25 on them. Having 4 road numbers (even if some bracketed) on one sign isn't a good idea - which destination would you get rid of there to put 'M25' on? You have next two control destinations and the next junction (signed with the horribly far away Oxford - that's the worst thing about that sign - it's fine when there's a couple of destinations along the M40, but Oxford just jars when it's the only one, and you're at that location - it goes against the status quo - it's too far away, yet not a compass direction).
No, the road number almost never appears on post-mounted ADS on the M25. Only road confirmation signs and gantry directional signs name this road.

Having 4 road numbers for one direction alone is indeed too much. But exactly this can be seen far too often in Britain.

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Originally Posted by sotonsi View Post
numbers. Most of the people on the M25 would be wondering which way to go if you had all sorts of far off places that were - all they want to do is make a local journey, not go to the other side of the country. Oxford is a far more annoying destination than Heathrow and Gatwick, which are common destinations for longer distance people (not lorry drivers, but then they ought to be good navigators anyway) and locals (we're talking anyone who lives within 100 miles of the M25, if not 200) should know roughly where they are, and also what directions the roads that they are attached to head out of London in.However Heathrow and Gatwick are treated by the British road signing system as big cities - far more important than most of the commuter belt towns near to the M25. I think that Reading (or Bristol) M4; Brighton M23 would be even more confusing than Heathrow and Gatwick - Heathrow is on the M25, as are Watford and the Dartford Crossing, Gatwick and Stansted are close enough to it to make sense.
Destinations have be chosen to describe the course of a road. Such places are cities or town at the end of the road or cities that outweigh any other place along that road by size and importance.

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Originally Posted by sotonsi View Post
Flierfly - what you you sign the onward direction on that sign as?
For myself, "Heathrow (M4), Gatwick (M23), Uxbridge (M40) M25" would fit the bill, however, you'd disagree as these are all 'small' places.
Would it be "Channel Tunnel, Birmingham (M40), Bristol (M4) M25"? After all - long distance, you ought to sign further round and further out! OK, Birmingham and Bristol is taking it to extremes (in my book at least) - how about Oxford and Reading? I wouldn't mind that much if it was "The WEST (M4)", but I feel that Heathrow should be signed, thus removing the need for a long distance destination there.
In case of J17 I'd just name the M25 and get rid of anything else and would rather fill the sign by one or two more places for the turning direction.

More importantly are the major junctions where the M25 interchanges with other motorway and should-be-motorways DC's where I'd indicate there direction by the following places:
A13 Southend
A127 Southend
A12 Ipswich
M11 Cambridge
A1 Edinburgh (that's a tricky one)
M1 Leeds
M40 Birmingham
M4 Bristol
M3 Southampton
A3 Portsmouth
M23 Brighton
M26 Dover
M20 Dover
A2 Dover
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Old May 24th, 2008, 08:21 PM   #408
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Originally Posted by sotonsi View Post
Why do you think that signs should be long distance - you're the one being closed minded by saying that Oxford isn't too far away for that location when you live in Slovenia and you are ignoring the advice of an 'expert' - someone who has spent most of his life with that motorway junction being his closest motorway junction.
This is exactly why I'm more appropriate to comment the British signage; b/c signs are meant for those unknown to the area; you don't need any signs there any more, as you've driven there hundreds of times.

I understand the London Orbital is a long road you don't just drive in a few minutes. I guess for many people it's the goal itself. My city's orbital is just 18 miles long and the most you'll drive of it is 9 mi (half). The M25 is 117 mi, so you can drive almost 60 mi on it. This distance already gets me to the seaside. But the problem is that there aren't any big towns along M25 and airports are seldom named on maps. It would be different, if London had just one airport.

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Originally Posted by flierfy View Post
A1 Edinburgh (that's a tricky one)
I'd put Peterborough here.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 11:13 PM   #409
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Flierfly and Verso - you are still imposing your European signing ideals on the UK - do foreign people make up the majority of people driving on UK roads? No - why should the minority be catered for? You are being small minded and thinking that your way is the only way - it's not - British people do just fine with the British system. It may be flawed, but half changing it and half not (ie bringing it in gradually) would be far more confusing for everyone - maybe if we change all the signs for metric will we change to a continental style of navigation The approach you are suggesting has many merits, it's just that we aren't wired like that.
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Originally Posted by flierfy View Post
Having 4 road numbers for one direction alone is indeed too much. But exactly this can be seen far too often in Britain.
Here are some more European style signs in England (though by your system, The MIDLANDS would be Greenock, where the E05 ends and Salisbury would be Bath or Bristol, despite the A36 not being the quickest way between Southampton and Bath, The WEST would be Lands End. Then again - if it's the end of the road, it would just need to be Upton heading North, and Redbridge heading south - OK, maybe Romsey and Southampton Docks! Good for those truckers!).

Check out the two different routes to Southampton - it's what you get for signing the end destination - confusion - which way do I go? (for Shirley, I'd probably go down the M271 anyway - depends whereabouts in that very large suburb)
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Destinations have be chosen to describe the course of a road. Such places are cities or town at the end of the road or cities that outweigh any other place along that road by size and importance.
only in your thinking - to a Brit they often make no sense in signing - because they are too far away, or too obscure or both. Destinations in British thinking is the closest control/primary destination along that route - gives the option of destinations that you pass (which you wouldn't really if they were always at the end of roads) - Southampton-Basingstoke-Reading-High Wycombe-Amersham to go between my house and my parents, or numbers M3-A33-M4-A404. If it was end points it would be London-Reading-London-London, which is really useful - not! Or the reverse journey would be Maidenhead-Carmarthen-Southampton-Southampton. Not the most useful thing.
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In case of J17 I'd just name the M25 and get rid of anything else and would rather fill the sign by one or two more places for the turning direction.
Rickmansworth (S) (which is really just the same thing as Maple Cross) - what other locations does this junction serve? There's no other turning destinations, though I'd agree that having three onward ones is too much for a simple fork diagram - Heathrow M25 would work.
Quote:
More importantly are the major junctions where the M25 interchanges with other motorway and should-be-motorways DC's where I'd indicate there direction by the following places:
A13 Southend
fair enough
Quote:
A127 Southend
maybe - though I wouldn't have both of these as Southend - A13 Northbound (with the A127 being Romford or Basildon) and A127 Southbound, with the A13 being Tilbury. Everyone for Southend would have left at the first junction, meaning the name at the second is superfluous and may as well be somewhere a bit closer.
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A12 Ipswich
why not Great Yarmouth . Chelmsford is fine (and to be fair, the M11-A120 route is better from the West for Colchester and beyond, especially when they finish it)
Quote:
M11 Cambridge
though it's the route to the A1 north of Peterborough - It's Cambridge heading towards Dartford and Edinburgh () heading away from Dartford.
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A1 Edinburgh (that's a tricky one)
to get to which you'd take either the M1 or M11, and also it's really not a useful destination - it's nearly 400 miles away and about 1 in 1000 people on the M25 would be heading there.
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M1 Leeds
that'll really annoy the people of York, Sheffield and so on - The M1 bypasses Leeds, just as it bypasses Sheffield!
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M40 Birmingham
from the Watford direction, you would use the M1-M6 to get to Brum.
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M4 Bristol
and what about South Wales?
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M3 Southampton
as much as I love my new home town,
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A3 Portsmouth
not the intuitive route - there's tons of signs telling you to go that way, to relieve pressure on the M3, which (from the North) is the sensible route at the moment.
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M23 Brighton
possibly the most reasonable of the lot - but Gatwick works just as well until the junction - Gatwick is kind of on the M25 route and can be a control destination better than just 'M23'.
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M26 Dover
maybe - but the Channel Tunnel is how it's signed now, IIRC.
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M20 Dover
the A2 is shorter, and the M26 takes most of the south side traffic off
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A2 Dover
not from the south, of course, as the M26/M20 takes that traffic.

Basically on the side where the distances travelled aren't much before you reach the end of the road, there's several routes. The same is true for Birmingham, and there's the problem of which route up the east coast - The M1/A1 route, the A1 route (which they don't want you doing) or the M11/A14/A1 route? The difference is which way round the M25 you're coming, I guess.
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Originally Posted by Verso View Post
This is exactly why I'm more appropriate to comment the British signage; b/c signs are meant for those unknown to the area; you don't need any signs there any more, as you've driven there hundreds of times.
but I know the flows, I know the mindset of the majority of people using the road (being British)
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I understand the London Orbital is a long road you don't just drive in a few minutes.
so you got plenty of time to work out where you need to go, how the signage system works and so on...
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But the problem is that there aren't any big towns along M25 and airports are seldom named on maps.
Watford is a big town. Heathrow and Gatwick are primary destinations, and as such, on any UK made UK map, are rather obvious.
Quote:
It would be different, if London had just one airport.
why? Do your maps of the UK not have road numbers on - the destination is Heathrow (M4) or Gatwick (M23): a quick glance at the map would help you to see which way that's going. Anyway, Dartford would be on the map anyway, and if entering London from a port, you'd come to that first, unless you came from Portsmouth or Plymouth, where you'd have come to the M4 or you wouldn't be heading to Dover or (shock horror, you'd have looked at a map or invested in a British one and either know where you are going, or where the airports are!).
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Old May 25th, 2008, 01:27 AM   #410
Jonesy55
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I'm driving to the south coast tomorrow, if I end up in Scotland, that will be proof that the British signing system is crap, if I make it to Portsmouth with no problems it will be vindicated.

Watch this thread for updates
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Old May 25th, 2008, 10:29 AM   #411
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These signs look way too busy - that is to say they have too much detail. If the driver unfamiliar with the area is smart and is carrying an atlas, s/he knows in which general direction s/he needs to be heading. S/he doesn't need every detail laid out in the signs.



This sign is overkill. From orienteering on Google maps, this seems to be a roundabout on Brownhill Way in northern Portsmouth near Junction 1 of the M271. At this point, a driver unfamiliar with the area would probably be saying to him/herself "I need to get on the M271; which way do I go?" S/He is not asking "How do I get to the 'The West' from here?" So, why is it necessary to list every destination the M271 could possibly lead you to?

Another thing, why are there two different signs for the two directions of the M271? It makes it seems at first glance if you are not familiar with the area that there are two different motorways in that direction. It seems to me the simplest and most effective sign to have here is one that says "To M271 -->"



According to Google maps, this is where Brownhill Way meets the M271 at Junction 1. This is sign is much clearer and more concise than the last one, but I would say it could still be improved (for somebody who doesn't already which way to go) by taking out the "The WEST" and "The MIDLANDS" (Do you really need a sign to tell you that?), leaving important regional control cities on the sign.
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Old May 25th, 2008, 05:25 PM   #412
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Originally Posted by ttownfeen View Post
These signs look way too busy - that is to say they have too much detail. If the driver unfamiliar with the area is smart and is carrying an atlas, s/he knows in which general direction s/he needs to be heading. S/he doesn't need every detail laid out in the signs.
Indeed - these signs have a far more European feel to them. Most signs in the UK have two or three (maybe 4) locations each way.
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This sign is overkill. From orienteering on Google maps, this seems to be a roundabout on Brownhill Way in northern Portsmouth near Junction 1 of the M271.
wash your mouth out - Southampton is definitely not pompey! . You also mean Romsey Road - you got confused with the other one.
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At this point, a driver unfamiliar with the area would probably be saying to him/herself "I need to get on the M271; which way do I go?" S/He is not asking "How do I get to the 'The West' from here?" So, why is it necessary to list every destination the M271 could possibly lead you to?
it doesn't give every destination. It does give far too many.
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Another thing, why are there two different signs for the two directions of the M271?
because the other sign is for the places accessible by using the M27. The northern section of the M271 functions as both a Southampton radial, and a spur to it's bypass - the M27. I totally agree it is overkill. By the way, these are not two different directions, but the two different functions.
Quote:
It makes it seems at first glance if you are not familiar with the area that there are two different motorways in that direction. It seems to me the simplest and most effective sign to have here is one that says "To M271 -->"
but that would be wrong, as it is the M271, so the 'To' is superfluous. I guess that your Americanness makes you far more reliant on numbers.
"Southampton
Nursling Ind Est
Portsmouth
The WEST
M271 (M27, M3)" would be a far better sign than that massive long list of places. Especially as I side more with numbers than places. This is rather a local junction, there needn't be tons of far off places.
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According to Google maps, this is where Brownhill Way meets the M271 at Junction 1. This is sign is much clearer and more concise than the last one, but I would say it could still be improved (for somebody who doesn't already which way to go) by taking out the "The WEST" and "The MIDLANDS" (Do you really need a sign to tell you that?), leaving important regional control cities on the sign.
agree - in fact I would get rid of several of those cities too - we're talking a local junction with an unnumbered road here - while it's on an Euroroute, it doesn't carry little more than traffic to the industrial estate, and local traffic. All that needs to be said is which way the M27 is and which way the Southampton is for the different directions of the M271. 'The MIDLANDS' comes from it being the road from the Docks and 'The WEST' seems to be a generic thing to give the M27 (and the M271-A33 route into the city) a destination, trying to cut down on masses of places being signed - here, they sign all the 'The WEST' locations (pretty much), so it doesn't need to be on there. Then again, it does tell you what is 'The WEST', which is good, seeing as the long list is exclusive to the M271, pretty much - the signage at the M27/M271 junction is much more simple and has very few destinations.

Portsmouth (about the only bit of good signage principles there) just sign 'out of city' from their docks to the M27 (and also on other routes out of the city). Then again, they are on an island with only three bridges out - Southampton has lots of different ways 'out of city' and they go to different places.
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Old May 25th, 2008, 07:14 PM   #413
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Now tell me how someone who isn't used to places like Gatwick or Heathrow is supposed to find his way when even the only useful information is wrong and misleading.
The information is not wrong or misleading. And if you aren't used to these places, use a road atlas.
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Old May 25th, 2008, 10:17 PM   #414
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The thing is probably that few foreigners drive there (even the French, who are notorious for not getting out of France much anyway :P), whereas the British probably know very well where these airports are located, or at least English(wo)men.
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Old May 25th, 2008, 10:43 PM   #415
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The information is not wrong or misleading. And if you aren't used to these places, use a road atlas.
Sure it is wrong. Look at the post above. Anyone considered it to be on the M4. It simply states the wrong road numbers. Don't deny that it's wrong when it obviously is.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 09:17 PM   #416
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Okay then, what are the right road numbers then? Come on, let's see what's so wrong with this sign and how it could be put right.

And throughout my life, I've never not known what motorway I was on. There are little signs, at the on ramp and also, periodically, rout confirmation signs, should you forget.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:04 PM   #417
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I think Flierfy is thinking that Heathrow is on the M25, when it's not - there's more justification post-T5, but Heathrow is still as much on the M4 as the M25, and also forgetting that the M4 is also kind of a destination anyway. Heathrow M4 or Heathrow (M4) are both correct and legit.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 07:14 PM   #418
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Sure it is wrong. Look at the post above. Anyone considered it to be on the M4. It simply states the wrong road numbers. Don't deny that it's wrong when it obviously is.
The main reason that sign is wrong is because all three of the forward destinations are shown unbracketed. If it is on the eastbound M4, then the other motorways should be shown as (M23) and (M40). It is nevertheless correct to use the bracketed destinations because the M4 outside the M25 can form part of a logical high-speed routing to both Gatwick (via M23) and Oxford (via M40).

I have some doubts about whether the lines making up the forward destination block are correctly spaced. I think they need additional space because the motorway designations are almost on top of each other. However, I have not checked this against a dimensioned drawing of the sign.

Regarding UK direction sign design generally, I think some criticisms are justified while others aren't. Taking a selection point-by-point:

* It is not true that there is no standardization in direction sign design. There is, if anything, far too much detail in the standards. The design reference is Chapter 7 ("Design of Traffic Signs") of the Traffic Signs Manual (caution! 5 MB PDF). The color patching system, which dates from the introduction of the current signs (Worboys signs) in 1965, has recently become complicated with the introduction of what are called "Guildford Rules" and, as a result, patching is not always implemented correctly. There are numerous other specific provisions WRT spacing, thicknesses, radiusing, and white separation borders which are also frequently not implemented correctly (and indeed, in the case of some rules, rarely followed).

* UK sign designers are generally encouraged to maintain continuity rather than to limit information loading. In the US the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices imposes a limit of three destinations per sign, which translates to one destination per possible direction of travel at a four-legged intersection. The UK also has a three-destination rule but this is the recommendation, not the absolute limit, which is six destinations. The American standard is based on the justification that a person passing the sign should be able to read the entirety of the sign twice, and thus is very conservative. The UK standard is admittedly less conservative but is based on the theory that each driver just needs to be able to pick out his destination on the sign and that this requires far less time than reading the entire sign.

* UK direction signing has a hierarchy of destinations for long-distance travel. At the top are the regional destinations--"The NORTH," "The WEST," etc. and even "The Lakes" on some older signs. Immediately below are super-primary destinations, which are typically large conurbations like Birmingham, Leeds, etc. London has dual status as a regional destination and a super-primary destination. There are also primary destinations, which are smaller towns like Oxford and Felixstowe whose names are shown in yellow against green on UK-produced road atlases. The intent of this hierarchy is to allow drivers to navigate according to region, then nearest very large city, then nearest primary destination, and then actual destination. In theory it should work very well, but in actuality the last approved signing map for regional and super-primary destinations was prepared in the mid-1960's and there is no clear and current guidance on their use.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 07:59 PM   #419
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There are apparently no signs saying "France" (just "Channel Tunnel"), but are there signs saying "Ireland" (in Northern Ireland), and what about signs saying "England", "Scotland" or "Wales"; do they exist?
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:33 PM   #420
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There are apparently no signs saying "France" (just "Channel Tunnel"), but are there signs saying "Ireland" (in Northern Ireland), and what about signs saying "England", "Scotland" or "Wales"; do they exist?
No. In Ireland, you don't even get 'Welcome to the Republic of Ireland' or 'Welcome to the United Kingdom' signs, as they cause political controversey and are often vandalised or removed. At best, you will get a local authority sign and a sign warning you of the change from metric to imperial, or vice-versa.

In mainland UK, we have 'NORTH WALES' and 'SOUTH WALES' as regional destinations. I've never seen a 'SCOTLAND' sign, I think just the normal compass points and town/city destinations are used, though I don't know for sure.
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