Safety implications of co-locating road signs: A driving simulator investigation



As road complexity increases the requirement for number of road signs also increases, although the amount of road side space does not. One practical strategy to address this is to present multiple road signs on the same gantry (sign co-location). However, there is very little research on the safety implications of this practice.


36 participants (mean age = 42.25 years, SD = 13.99, 18 females) completed three driving simulator scenarios, each scenario had a different sign co-location condition: no co-location, dual co-location and triple co-location. Each scenario presented similar information using direction signs, variable message signs and variable speed limit signs, under. Each drive included standard motorway driving (100 km/h speed zone) in free flow traffic and one emergency event where a lead vehicle suddenly braked. The scenario order was counterbalanced and the emergency event vehicle varied.


Overall, there was no impact of co-locating signs on general driving performance. No significant difference was observed between conditions for reaction time and minimum headway in response to the emergency event. Participants were able to correctly choose their destination whether the signs were co-located or not.


For the particular configuration of signs tested there is no evidence that co-location negatively impacts driving performance. However, there may be some implications for travel speed and the manner in which the emergency event is responded to. Future work should confirm the findings on real roads. These findings provided support for sign co-location as a practical and safe option for displaying multiple road signs in a confined area.

Transportation research part F: traffic psychology and behaviour