Headlines: May 7th, 2002

New signs are going up on the M4 which give drivers important traffic information in picture form and in two colours.The easy-to-digest information gets its first on-road trial in Berkshire after co-operation with other European countries over the introduction of standardised ‘pictograms’.

Thirty six ‘next generation’ signs are being installed between junction 12 at Theale and 14 at Hungerford. They will be positioned on the motorway verges to be less visually intrusive than is often the case.

As well as pictures, their sophisticated screens will also allow text in upper and lower case – the idea is that the more easily accessible the information, the fewer accidents, delays and stress to driver are caused.

The new variable message signs use a high-resolution continuously populated matrix display of light emitting diodes, which allow greater flexibility in the image displayed.

It will take 18 months to fully install the new signs, which will be evaluated by the Highways Agency before further roll-out to other UK motorways.