Messagemaker Displays | Future-Proofing LED Road Signage
Large numbers of LED signs that do not comply with Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions are available on the market. While these are designed solely for use on private roads or in temporary circumstances, some are being installed permanently on public highways.
Here, Danny Adamson, Managing Director at Messagemaker Displays Ltd. explains why this could have costly repercussions if, as is looking increasingly likely, current laws change.
As anyone who has ever referenced the Department for Transport’s Traffic Signs Manual will know, this is a subject that is covered in extensive detail. Designed to provide advice to “traffic authorities and their contractors, designers and managing agents … on the use of traffic signs and road markings on the highway network”, the manual stretches out over eight chapters and a breath-taking 1709 pages.
The manual serves as a guide to the requirements set out in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD) applicable to public highways in England, Scotland and Wales. It covers areas such as sign legibility, legibility distance, readability, conspicuity and visibility, and defines standards for everything from sign colours, dimensions and positioning to the height of and spacing between letters.
While only a few sections refer specifically to the topic under discussion here, LED signs, the TSRGD 2016 does lay out certain criteria for compliance including the fact that the font must be consistent with those stated in Schedule 17 of its regulations, while the roundel size must be at least 300mm.
So why would non-compliant signs even be available? Firstly, TSRGD compliance is not currently required when signs are deployed on private roads and for temporary purposes, but it’s far from unheard of for the same signs to find their way into permanent use on public roads. Secondly, the ‘guidance’ provided under TSRGD is currently no more than that; it is not actually against the law to install non-compliant products permanently on public roads.
It’s worth bearing in mind though, that the purpose of this TSRGD guidance was – and remains – to apply greater consistency and clarity to the design of road signage, with the ultimate objective of increasing the safety of all road users, from drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to road crews, utility workers and the emergency services.
So surely it would make sense to have one standard and apply it to all signage? Well bodies like the Association for Road Traffic Safety and Management (ARTSM) certainly think so, which is why they are working closely with the Department for Transport to make TSRGD compliance a legal requirement for all signage on public roads.
Given the efforts of authorities like the ARTSM, it’s looking increasingly likely that the TSRGD guidance will become law in the future, making it necessary to remove and replace all non-compliant signage, a costly and time consuming challenge for everyone concerned.
The big question is: if change is coming, doesn’t it make sense to choose compliant signage today and futureproof your investment? Even if this change should take longer than expected to come to fruition, why choose a non-compliant sign when compliant alternatives are readily available? It’s like investing in a new diesel car today. It may not be against the law quite yet, but there’s a good reason why their share of the UK market has fallen.
With this in mind, LED signage manufacturers such as Messagemaker Displays Ltd. have developed a range TSRGD compliant signage options for public highway projects. The company’s new Urban Speed Vehicle Activated Sign (VAS) is fully compliant and provides the flexibility to display either 20mph or 30mph speed limits. Compact, durable and lightweight, it can be installed permanently at the roadside or relocated with ease if temporary usage is preferred. The system also has user adjustable trigger speeds and display durations.
For more information about Messagemaker Displays’ range of products and services, including the new Urban Speed VAS, please visit: www.messagemaker.co.uk.