Matrix signs generally
Reported via desktop anonymously at 18:25, Wed 1 December 2021
Sent to National Highways 5 minutes later
The motorway (and trunk route) matrix signs.
We really could do with a more effective and enforced standard as to what goes on those (very useful) matrix signs.
Sometimes they are really, really useful. The time to exits are great, wish you did more of it, even had those on permanently, and looking a long way ahead too occasionally.
Examples of problems: 1/ Driving E on M4 Wilts, for many months there was a warning of a problem on the A1. Eventually I looked it up, it was about 250 miles away. This seems to me to be the wrong information. It mentioned an obscure location and that was about all. What would make these warning signs useful would be the distance from 'here'. So eg, "250 miles A1 closed Northbound". That would be marvellous. I can then choose to switch to M1 or something. This would require you to know the distance of every matrix sign, but surely not beyond what we can do nowadays?
2/ I see matrix signs which present information that I can do nothing about, that I have zero idea what you want me to do with it. Example, on M25, a problem on the A27. Great, except no information about which direction on the M27, if I went down M3 and E would that be a problem or if I go down A3 and W, is that the problem? Truly, not a clue what to do with the information (which could well be most useful).
3/ Placing notices of problems after I have passed the alternative route. Eg, on M25 clockwise just past A10 exit, then you tell me the M11 N is blocked. Bother.
4/ Using obscure information. Junction numbers are not the language of the user, by and large. They are the language of the maintainer. See 'distance to event' above. It would be helpful to focus more on the language of the user.
5/ Focus on the more important. So, yes, 'gritters out' is useful, but how about 1 in 4? Other information is a higher priority?
6/ Understand likely journeys better. Planned motorway closure that evening. You put up matrix signs warning traffic of the closure. Great. But - wrong audience! It would be nice if you could put the same notice on the other direction too. Off we go to our evening event, all serene, and come back to find the motorway closed (planned), and discover that there were signs in that direction warning of the closure, but none to us as we went to our event!
I have an idea there is a standard, but it isn't always followed.
How long has it been like this? 12+ months