Motorway gantry signs could be removed if trial proves successful

Motorway gantry signs could be removed if trial proves successful
Thousands of unsightly motorway gantries could be torn down if a hi-tech 5G trial in Kent proves a success.

Later this year, Highways England will test futuristic new technology that will see speed limits, traffic news and weather reports beamed directly to vehicle dashboards.

If it works as hoped, the 5G technology will enable the very latest cars to receive direct alerts such as warnings of tailbacks ahead, or advice about the best lane to take.

The £20 million trial will take place on the A2 and M2 between London and Dover, starting by Christmas and finishing at the end of 2020.

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The new technology is viewed as an important step forward in providing the infrastructure necessary for driverless cars to operate in the UK.

It’s already being used in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

According to a Highways England report, a successful roll-out of the 5G info system could eventually enable some overhead gantries and other signs to be torn down.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, has said the technology is available but warns against removing too many signs in case of IT failure.

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Roadside clutter was the subject of a Department for Transport (DfT) review earlier this year, which found that the number of signs has doubled in two decades to a staggering 4.3 million.

The report said the proliferation of roadside signs runs the risk of confusing motorists with outdated messages – particularly now in light of the introduction of smart motorways, where variable speed limits control the flow of traffic

Many signs are “entirely superfluous” or assume “an insulting degree of stupidity on the part of drivers,” the experts concluded.

The DfT review recommended that whole categories of signs should be axed – with potentially 90% in line for removal.

It added: “Information overload for drivers can contribute to driver distraction, and have a detrimental impact on road safety.”

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.