Cut the clutter

August 27, 2010, 11:50 PM GMT+0

The public thinks there are too many road signs on the streets of Britain and their presence makes our roads look ugly and cluttered, our survey has found.
Nearly half (43%) of people asked feel that ‘there are too many road signs’, while only ten percent feel that ‘there are too few road signs’. This same ten percent think that ‘there should be more signs to help increase road safety’.

Debate has been sparked on the subject in the wake of Community Secretary Eric Pickles’s comments to local authorities that they should ‘cut the clutter’ of the number of signs on their roads. Excess signs both waste tax payers’ money and damage the character of towns and villages, he said.

And while many agree, some respondents favour reducing ‘the clutter’ much more than others, however. 59% of Conservative voters versus merely 30% of Labour supporters favour the idea of cutting sign numbers, suggesting that the issue may be less aesthetic than political for some.

And it’s not just a question of ‘more is best’. Perhaps surprisingly, 58% of those over 60 feel that there are too many road signs, while only 26% of young people between the ages of 18 to 29 agree.

View review

And while safeguarding the ‘look’ of Britain’s streets has been raised as an argument in favour of reducing the number of road signs, there is also a safety element involved. According to Keith Peat, regional spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, ‘some signs can actually be counterproductive’. He continues that signs are particularly unhelpful if ‘they obstruct a driver’s view’ and explains that there’s often ‘just far too much information for drivers to take in’.
And while 37% feel ‘the balance is about right’, Peat has nevertheless urged a review to be carried out to see which signs are, and are not, necessary for Britain’s roads.

Survey details and full results