New plans have been put in place that will allow local councils in Great Britain to cut the number of road markings and signs in place within their boroughs. The announcement, made by Roads Minister Robert Goodwill, also saw clearer road markings as well as new low-level signals for cyclists proposed in order to help develop road safety. The proposals are to reduce the number of signs that the Department for Transport (DfT) is responsible for authorising, with the aim being to streamline the current approval process. Mr Goodwill said: 'The number of signs has soared from 2 million in 1993 to over 4.6 million today. This is causing unnecessary clutter in our towns and cities. 'The proposed changes will mean greater flexibility for councils to cut the number of signs, whilst ensuring consistency and making sure our roads are even safer for cyclists and motorists.î The change should lead to signs that road users will find easier to understand, and could also lead to less clutter on the roads. The new proposals are expected to also relax regulations for both parking bays and yellow-box junctions, in order to give local councils increased flexibility in terms of designing both road layouts and markings. The DfT also has plans to introduce a number of new measures designed to help the local authorities make roads safer for cyclists, with the end goal to encourage more people to take to two wheels.æ These include:
- Bigger cycle boxes at traffic lights
- Low-level traffic light signals and filters that will help to give cyclists a 'head start' on other traffic.
- Rolling out of shared crossings for pedestrians and cyclist, allowing those on bikes to cross safely
- Removing 'lead-in' lanes at advance stop lines, forcing cyclists to enter a cycle box
The DfT announced that it had worked closely with local councils, traffic authorities, sign-makers and consultants in order to revise the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD), which offers guidance to local councils regarding road signs and markings.æ The consultation is set to close on 12 June.