Why re-examine the design of our road signs?
- For the ﬁrst time, a true high-speed motorway network crosses the country.
- High speeds put more pressure on driver’s decision making.
- Do we have a sign system to match the quality of these new roads?
- Are our signs tested and ready for the challenges of our ageing population profile?
- An improvement that helps the driver’s reaction time and decision-making process will result in safer driving conditions.
- Well-designed signs will also remove the necessity for increasingly large signs across the country, delivering a cost-effective solution.
- Other countries have demonstrated improvements in function of signs with new, well-researched designs. This relates in particular to ageing related issues with signs.
- The government has introduced legislation promising equal status for Irish, our current signs do not live up to the aspiration, and have been exempted.
- In 2005 Garrett Reil began an audit of Ireland's road signs, collecting examples from home and abroad, conducting an extensive literature review and, later making test designs based on the findings.
What excited this interest in the design of our road signs?
“A few years ago, I noticed that drivers were repeatedly cutting across dangerously at a particular junction. My first reaction was – ‘what’s wrong with these people!’.
As it continued to occur, the communications designer in me took over. I began to ask myself whether their seeming irrational, even aggressive, action had more to do with a genuine surprise ‘oh, there’s my junction’ followed by a wild manouver. Yet, there were large signs in the lead up to the junction – the question became – ‘what’s wrong with these signs’.
In my work on a day-to-day basis, much of what I'm doing is helping organisations distill a message and communicate with clarity, it makes sense to apply this to a common problem. I set about researching our road signs and questioning the current practise. I found much wanting in the current signs design. Having examined the issues, I’m now proposing we find an alternative way.
It would appear from my research, the public is also ready for change”