Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: A suggestion for highway signs

  1. #1
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    the delta
    Posts
    1,199

    A suggestion for highway signs

    As I was driving through a new metro area this past week I wondered why road signs on highways don't include small maps showing which highway you are about to turn onto.

    Say you are on I-76 approaching 470. This is a basic example but do you think it would help drivers navigate the highway system?

    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wherever
    Posts
    1,181
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    As I was driving through a new metro area this past week I wondered why road signs on highways don't include small maps showing which highway you are about to turn onto.

    Say you are on I-76 approaching 470. This is a basic example but do you think it would help drivers navigate the highway system?
    In the case of 470, it's a toll road that many people avoid.

    In my experience, most interstates are pretty easy to navigate, especially if you understand the numbering scheme. Like a triple digit interstate number is almost always going to be loop or a bypass like 225 or 470 in Denver. I think things get complicated when roads start branching in ways you don't expect or when there are multiple highway shields on a stretch of road. Like I've driven through Kansas City using I-70 but there's no single lane you can ride in without inadvertently exiting from the road. In this situation, a map road sign wouldn't be too helpful. The most helpful ones indicate which lane you need to be in to stay on the road.

    I think places like LA or Chicago could potentially benefit from map road signs since they're big and pretty difficult to navigate without a map. The problem is I'm not sure how you could fit an adequate amount of information on a map like that when people are going 60+ mph.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lowering the PCI in the Hills
    Posts
    5,598
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    As I was driving through a new metro area this past week I wondered why road signs on highways don't include small maps showing which highway you are about to turn onto.

    Say you are on I-76 approaching 470. This is a basic example but do you think it would help drivers navigate the highway system?
    I've driven all over the country (and around the world) in metros big and small and think that generally the interchanges that are the least confusing are the interchanges with the fewest signs. As long as there is adequate warning about when to change lanes or where to exit, less usually seems better to me.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,552
    Blog entries
    3
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    As I was driving through a new metro area this past week I wondered why road signs on highways don't include small maps showing which highway you are about to turn onto.
    The MUTCD, which regulates highway signs in the US, doesn't even allow more than two control cities, thinking more will confuse drivers. Think we'll start seeing maps on signs, considering that mindset?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Sasebo, Japan
    Posts
    104
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    The MUTCD, which regulates highway signs in the US, doesn't even allow more than two control cities, thinking more will confuse drivers. Think we'll start seeing maps on signs, considering that mindset?
    Exactly. Less is more with road signs. Drivers are destracted enough as it is. More information takes your eyes off the road for longer.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    In a 480 square foot ex baseball nacho stand
    Posts
    7,032
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    The MUTCD, which regulates highway signs in the US, doesn't even allow more than two control cities, thinking more will confuse drivers. Think we'll start seeing maps on signs, considering that mindset?
    I don't know. In some cases you are starting to see round-a-bout sign with a psuedo map on them. It's very common in England at interchanges.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  7. #7
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    on my 15 minute break
    Posts
    17,815
    Moderator note:
    split from RTDNTOTO


    For me, I think this would be a great idea. I wonder, though, if such a proposal might actually end up confusing the average moron driver. The reason I say this is that in the majority of cases where I have needed to elicit directional or orientation infromation from the general public I have been sorely disappointed ("where is the house with the alleged illegal business?" "It's to the RIGHT of my house....."). As simple or intuitive as it might seem to folks like us who use maps every day, I bet you'd run into idiots people who'd get confused about whether a simplified 'map' on a highway sign was based on relative orientation or on a cardinal direction.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wherever
    Posts
    1,181
    That raises a good point. How many people actually have no idea which direction they're traveling? Like would it be a revelation for someone in Denver to learn that I-70 isn't a north-south road?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920
    There are many times it would be helpful. In remote areas mainly in the west, you will sometimes see a simple map to indicate that a business route reconnects to the interstate. I appreciate this knowledge when I am trying to make decisions about getting off for gas or to eat, knowing I can continue through without backtracking.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Lone Star State
    Posts
    629
    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    I don't know. In some cases you are starting to see round-a-bout sign with a psuedo map on them. It's very common in England at interchanges.
    I love the UK roundabout destination signs and promote them here. The US MUTCD version is very bad by comparison, they use arrowheads on the legs which makes it busy and ugly. The pointed lines of the UK version are used to show orientation as well as relative importance of the legs (by length and width of the line), it is more information but presented so cleanly that it is very useful.

    However, RBTs are typically surface streets and the highways are a different matter. The higher speeds change so much. Highway designers are also probably the most conservative group of traffic engineers. For highway guide signs the MUTCD does have a diagrammatic option which I think was new in this or the previous version. It shows a diagram of how the lanes split at diverge points. The MUTCD text even says this is not as effective as arrows over each lane, and from seeing some in the wild I would agree. Seems like it would work, but the lanes are just tough to differentiate when going by at speed when there's more than 3 lanes.
    Smaller example: http://www.interstate-guide.com/imag...-087_st_05.jpg

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Upper left edge
    Posts
    3,804
    There is an example of such a sign on I-5 about two miles south of its northbound intersection with I-205 south of Portland. You can see it on Google street view clearly at 45degrees 20' 59.28"N, 112 degrees 45' 55.67"W

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Lone Star State
    Posts
    629
    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    There is an example of such a sign on I-5 about two miles south of its northbound intersection with I-205 south of Portland. You can see it on Google street view clearly at 45degrees 20' 59.28"N, 112 degrees 45' 55.67"W
    Nice one Google map link

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Suggestion about signing threads
    Cyburbia Issues and Help
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 31 Jul 2008, 12:16 PM
  2. Forum Suggestion
    Cyburbia Issues and Help
    Replies: 13
    Last post: 02 Nov 2006, 11:39 AM
  3. Replies: 14
    Last post: 21 Apr 2006, 3:34 PM