Traffic Signs Manual chapter 1 (1982) Introduction


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Traffic Signs Manual chapter 1982 Introduction 1982
TraffIc SIgnS Manual — chapter 1 1982 £13.00 CHAPTER 1 Traffic Signs Manual Introduction 1982 Published by TSO (The Stationery Office) and available from: Online Mail, Telephone, Fax highway authorities depend on signing for the efficient working and the enforcement of traffic regulations, for traffic control, and as an aid to road safety. Signing includes not only signs on posts but also carriageway markings, beacons, studs, bollards, traffic signals and other devices. 1.2 Signs must give road users their message clearly and at the correct time. The message must be unambiguous and speedily understood; it must be given not too soon for the information to have been forgotten before it is needed, and not too late for the safe performance of consequent manoeuvres. 1.3 The types of signs and carriageway markings etc, available for use are prescribed by Regulations. Limiting the number of types of sign available assists in their quick recognition as does uniformity of shape, colour and lettering for each type. It also makes available to highway authorities a set of standard signs and saves them the labour of design. It aids the courts in giving the same meaning to standard signs. Quick recognition is further aided by using different shapes and colours for different sign groups, e.g., warning signs are triangular with black symbols, white grounds and red borders. 1.4 Uniformity of signs is not however enough; uniformity of signs without uniformity in use is objectionable and could impair road safety. For instance, warning signs sited at different distances from their hazards in different districts could confuse a road user accustomed to only one district. 1.5 To obtain the fullest benefits of uniformity there must not only be uniformity of signs but also uniformity in their use, in their siting and their illumination. 1.6 This manual sets out the codes to be followed in the use, siting, and illumination of signs both on all-purpose roads and motorways. It also covers temporary signs for use in connection with road works, in emergency by the police, and temporary route signing by motoring organisations and highway authorities. 1.7 In this chapter, after historical and legal sections, there follow sections describing the basic technical requirements of the present signing system. Most of these technical sections are expanded in greater detail in later chapters. 9 2. Historical The internationally recognised STOP sign was first prescribed for use in the United Kingdom by the Traffic Sign Regulations and General Directions 1975. 1.8 The signs for all purpose roads described in this manual are based on the recommendations of the Report of the Traffic Signs Committee dated 18 April 1963. This report is widely known as the Worboys Report, taking its name from the Committee Chairman, Sir Walter Worboys. 1.9 The report, the main points of which were accepted officially, recommended the radical and urgent modernisation of the traffic signing system in the United Kingdom and resulted in the introduction of a whole new range of signs for use on all purpose roads. Apart from a few points of minor detail, motorway signs were not affected since their design at that time was comparatively new and accorded with the recommendations of the Report published in December 1960 of Sir Colin Anderson’s Committee. 1.10 Generally, the design of Worboys signs closely followed the protocol on road signs proposed by the UN World Conference on road and motor transport held in Geneva in 1949. The 1949 Protocol was overtaken by the preparation in Vienna, in 1968, of a World Convention on Traffic Signs and Signals which was signed on behalf of over 60 countries including the United Kingdom. The signing of the Convention indicated the intention of the signatories to implement its recommendations at a future date. Then followed, as provided for in the Convention, a European regional agreement on traffic signs and signals together with a protocol on road markings. This regional agreement and the protocol, supplement the World Convention and provide for certain options to be used in the same way throughout Europe. They also contain some extra signs, markings and provisions covering matters on which either the Convention is silent or leaves on an optional basis. The United Kingdom has indicated its intention to implement both the agreement and the protocol subject to certain reservations. Adherence to the World Convention and its supplementary agreements by participating nations, particularly those in Europe, has resulted in a degree of uniformity in Traffic Signing, which is of obvious benefit to international travellers. 1.11 The Worboys signs were prescribed for the first time under the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1964. These were succeeded in turn by new Regulations in 1975, 1981, 1994 and 2002. 3. Legal Aspects and Responsibilities for Signs 1.12 A full and comprehensive guide to the legal aspects of traffic signs is outside the scope of this manual. Legal matters are dealt with only briefly in this section. 1.13 Highway Authorities are responsible for ensuring correct standards of signing on their roads; only they can erect traffic signs or permit their erection. The Police also have certain responsibilities which are described later. 1.14 In England and Wales however, (excluding Scotland), it is the local authority which may not necessarily be the highway authority, which is responsible for erecting and maintaining waiting restriction and speed limit signs and for establishing pedestrian crossings in their area. 1.15 Authorities may only use signs– including carriageway markings–of a size, colour and type prescribed or specially authorised by the Secretary of State, The prescribed signs are included in The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002. 10 LEGAL ASPECTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR SIGNS 1.16 The prescribed signs and carriageway markings are described in subsequent chapters of this manual. If an authority wishes to use a sign not prescribed in Regulations, application should be made to the appropriate Government Office giving reasons for wanting a new sign and describing it in detail, preferably with drawings and site plans. The design of such signs should conform to Worboys principles. Only in exceptional circumstances will special signs be authorised. This is essential in order to keep the number of sign types to the absolute minimum required for the safe and efficient functioning of the road system. Any appreciable diversifications or increase in sign types having only local usage and significance can cause difficulties to road users unaccustomed to the area. 1.17 Authorities are not free to use all the signs shown in this manual at will without further authorisation. They may do so generally with informatory signs and warning signs, but there are a large number of signs which first require an Order to be made and some signs cannot be used without specific site approval of the Secretary of State. Subsequent chapters of this manual state where an Order or other authority is required before the sign can be used. 1.18 The use on Public highways of non-prescribed signs which have not been authorised by, or on behalf of, the Secretary of State, is illegal and Authorities who so use unauthorised signs act beyond their powers. Additionally, an unauthorised sign in the highway is an obstruction. The possible consequences of erecting or permitting the erection of obstructions may be severe and those responsible could lay themselves open to a claim for damages; for example if the obstruction is the cause of accident or of injury in a collision or if the unauthorised sign injuriously affects a fronting property by blocking light or impairing visual amenity. 1.19 Authorities will normally erect their traffic signs within the highway boundary. If this is not possible, they can erect signs on or over land adjacent to the highway with the owners’ permission. They can also, if necessary, acquire land or rights over land either by agreement or compulsorily for the accommodation of signs. 1.20 Authorities should consider requiring the removal of any object or device erected privately on land adjacent to their roads which has the apparent or express intention of guiding, warning or directing road users. In addition, private advertisements should not resemble or incorporate prescribed traffic signs or their symbols. United Kingdom signs are crown copyright and may not be reproduced without permission. In no circumstances will the Department permit the use of traffic signs on advertisements at road side locations. When prescribed traffic signs are used illegally action should be taken to secure their removal. 1.21 Certain comments on statutory requirements are also made in subsequent chapters as appropriate. 1.22 The Secretary of State has overriding powers to require the removal or to remove any traffic sign or any object or device for the guidance or direction of persons using roads. 11 4. The Functions and Classification of Signs 1.23 Signs are used to control and or restrictions. They may be guide traffic and to promote road safety. either mandatory or prohibitory. They should only be used where they Regulatory signs are basically can usefully serve these functions. circular in shape and may be Warning signs will not, for instance, supplemented by plates beneath promote road safety if used widely them augmenting the message where there is no unusual degree given by the sign. of danger. On the other hand their omission where guidance, control or (ii) Warning signs danger warrants the use of a sign is not These signs give warning of a in the best interests of road users. hazard ahead. The design of most warning signs is based on an 1.24 The advice given in subsequent equilateral triangle having its apex chapters of the manual should therefore uppermost. They are sometimes be closely followed. supplemented by rectangular plates giving additional information 1.25 Apart from carriageway markings as may be necessary. and temporary signs there are three main classes of road signs. Each class (iii) lnformatory signs has its basic shape and as explained in These signs normally give road later chapters the use of certain colours users information about the route is restricted to particular classes of and about places and facilities of signs. The three classes are: particular value or interest. Most informatory signs are rectangular (i) Regulatory Signs but direction signs usually have These include all signs which give one end pointed. notice of requirements, prohibitions 5. The Design and Use of Signs 1.26 In order to perform the function for which it is intended a sign must be capable of transmitting its message clearly and at the right time to road users travelling at the normal speed for the road. To achieve this a sign must have correct legibility distance, appropriate target value, simplicity of content and layout and effective illumination or reflectorisation. Signs must be adequate in design and construction without being extravagantly expensive. 1.27 The legibility of traffic signs is of prime importance. Its achievement depends mainly on the size of the lettering or the symbols used, although the use of adequate colour contrast between lettering and/or symbols and their background and the type of alphabet used are also important contributory factors. whatever its colour; but difficulties may arise with the smaller signs in urban areas in selecting sites with backgrounds which do not nullify the target value of the sign. 1.29 For simplicity of content and layout, ideographic representation of the message is most effective, but where lettering has to be used the message needs to be condensed into as few immediately comprehensible words as possible. Abstract symbolism is less satisfactory since its meaning must be learnt and remembered. In suggesting designs for signs to be specially authorised highway authorities should avoid abstract symbolism. 1.30 Size is the most important factor determining sign cost, therefore signs are designed to give the required legibility without wasting space. 1.28 Target value depends on both the 1.31 Factors which determine the colour and the size of the sign: a big distance at which a sign should be sign will have adequate target value legible at a given speed of travel are: 12 THE DESIGN AND USE OF SIGNS (a) the lateral clearance between the sign and the edge of carriageway and, (b) the length of time needed for reading and absorbing the message. Drivers should not have to divert their eyes more than ten degrees away from the road ahead. This means that the message on a sign must be fully absorbed before a driver reaches the point where the observation angle exceeds ten degrees. If, as may be assumed, a driver needs a certain time to absorb a sign’s message, the faster the speed of approach the further away must the reading of the sign commence. Reading must be completed and the message absorbed before reaching the point where concentration on a sign would distract attention too far from the road ahead. 1.32 These considerations have led to the design of signs of different sizes to suit different speed values. For directional and informatory signs where the legibility of the words is most important different sizes of alphabet are used. For ideographic and symbolic signs the size of the sign is proportional directly to the approach speed of traffic. In subsequent chapters details of these different sizes are given. 1.33 The lettering chosen for nearly all road signs is lowercase with initial capitals. There is one alphabet for use with light lettering on a dark background and a second for dark lettering on a light background. A range of numerals, separators and other characters is also available for each alphabet. 1.34 There is additionally a special range for the route numbers on motorway signs. More details of these alphabets are given in Chapter 7. 1.35 In addition to distinctive shapes, different classes of signs have distinctive colour combinations. The number of different colours which can be usefully used on signs is limited by both aesthetic and technical requirements; Appendix 1 lists the colours with their specifications. Subsequent chapters describe their use in detail. 1.36 With standardisation of types of signs, there must also be uniformity in the use, siting, mounting height, illumination and reflectorisation of signs within limitations imposed by site conditions. 1.37 As already emphasised uniformity in the use of signs is of first importance and is dealt with in detail in later chapters. 1.38 The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions limit the use of certain signs and certain classes of signs. The Traffic Signs Manual not only explains in non-legal language the requirements of the Regulations and Directions but also advises on all a
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