While the system of road signs provided under previous regulations continues to perform well, the legislation that underpins it was in need of an overhaul. After a complete review of signing policy a landmark document 'Signing the Way' was published in 2011. This set out recommendations for delivering a modernised Statutory Instrument. In general terms the appearance of the signs themselves to road users will not change. The new regulations will create a new and more flexible legislative framework.
The most apparent change is the structure of the document which will promote better understanding of the provision of signs within the legislative framework, however, a key change is deregulation. Lighting requirements for example have become less onerous made possible by a range of high performing reflective materials which have a proven record in delivering good sign conspicuity and legibility.
Changes that may be noticed by the public will be signs communicating variable parking Orders. The new menu driven approach to these will improve driver understanding, particularly where parking provision varies at different times. In addition, the detail of direction sign design is no longer part of the new TSRGD. This again gives Local Authorities greater flexibility to deliver innovative signing, reducing the need for approval from the central government.
Importantly, a key aspect of the new TSRGD will enable Local Authorities to noticeably reduce sign clutter. With the number of road signs estimated to have more than doubled from two million over the last two decades there is much scope to cut the number of signs, whilst still ensuring consistency and maintaining the safety of the UKs roads. This will be achieved by reducing the number of signs required and by ensuring the timely removal of temporary signs.