UK roads to get 21st century signs

The biggest overhaul of British road signs in 40 years will look at how new technologies can help manage traffic flow.

The government initiative is claimed to be the most significant review of policy on road signs since the 1968 UN Vienna Convention, which established international rules such as the use of triangle shaped signs for warnings and circles for regulatory signs.

Work will commence next month with the first meeting of a steering group that is expected to deliver an action plan for by the middle of 2009. The Department for Transport will then work directly with specialist working groups to develop policy proposals for consultation.

As well as looking at possible applications of new technologies, the review will consider how road users can be provided with better information such as up-to-date travel news.

Transport minister Rosie Winterton said that road signs need to change to catch up with the dramatic changes in road conditions over the years. "It is vital we help motorists, cyclists and pedestrians understand how to use our roads - improving road safety and helping reduce congestion and carbon dioxide - without cluttering our streets with unnecessary signs," she said.

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