This document sets out a policy framework for ensuring our traffic system meets the future needs of all road users, while building upon the existing and established traffic sign system. It sets out recommendations for improving the information that traffic signs communicate to road users by providing more freedom for decisions about signing at the local level.
Summary of recommendations
The review process has been informed and managed by the large numbers of key stakeholders involved in this project, and many of these have directly contributed to the large amount of research that has been undertaken. This research shaped a series of wide-ranging recommendations set out below.
Provide more flexibility for local traffic authorities
While it is essential that there is national consistency in traffic sign design the current level of prescription that the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) requires can be a barrier to local authorities working effectively. The review sets out recommendations to reduce regulation and provide more flexibility for local authorities.
Reduce traffic signing on the road network
Traffic signs can clutter the highway network if used to excess which makes our roads look unattractive and can be a distraction for road users. The review provides a range of recommendations to improve the way our roads look, for example, by removing the requirements for some signing; helping local authorities through new guidance on auditing traffic signs and removing unnecessary traffic signs, and encouraging local authorities to place traffic signs only where they are needed.
Deliver effective enforcement
Traffic signs are needed to ensure that road users know when restrictions and prohibitions apply to them. The review delivers recommendations and proposals that will enable local authorities to design parking signs that better meet local needs, while providing simpler, more concise design; simplify the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) process; and provide more flexibility for the design of 20 mile per hour speed limit zones.
Traffic signs for all road users
The review recognises that travel behaviour is changing as people make more sustainable transport choices. The review provides a range of proposals for improved signs and traffic signals that will help pedestrians as well as promoting safer cycling and allowing more innovative measures to be used on the roads.
Provide road users with better information
Traffic signs provide essential information for those using the roads. The review will help ensure better information is provided including new traffic signs to inform road users that there is disruption on other travel networks; when travel conditions are affected by bad weather; that the road ahead is unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles; and the road user is entering a shared space traffic management scheme.
Develop local solutions built on local knowledge
The government believes that interventions at the local level can provide significant improvements to the transport network. The review’s recommendations will increase the involvement of the local community in the use and design of signing by encouraging better consultation with local residents for traffic and parking restrictions; ensuring that the publicity relating to TROs is more targeted; and encouraging local community audits of traffic signs.
The department will implement these recommendations in stages. Amendments to TSRGD came into force on 30 January 2012 reducing the administrative burden on local authorities by prescribing many of the non-prescribed traffic signs that are frequently authorised by the department.
The Traffic Signs Amendment Regulations and General Directions 2011
These amendments are one of the key deliverables of the review and will significantly reduce the number of non-prescribed traffic signs that are currently requested by local authorities. They also provide a number of updates and corrections to TSRGD 2002.
Other documents relating to the amendments
The traffic signs authorisation database
This provides the public and local authorities with information on the range of signs that have been authorised by the department since 1 January 2011.