Bigger Motorway Signs Coming


Auckland’s motorway network is getting bigger signs.

NZTA’s Auckland Motorway Alliance (AMA)is progressively rolling out new signage along the city’s state highways that is easier and safer for drivers to read.

The new signs are larger than existing ones and can display more information. In some cases, two of the new signs carry the same amount of information previously displayed on six traditional signs.

Larger signage also improves safety and cuts back on visual clutter, says the NZTA’s acting State Highways Manager for Auckland, Steve Mutton.

“Fewer signs means there is less distraction for drivers in a high speed motorway environment, but they still get essential information to enable them to make their journeys safely,” Mr Mutton adds.

Mr Mutton says combining messages onto one sign makes it easier for drivers to absorb information, especially at motorway on and off ramps.

“Too many signs detract from the messages they carry,” says Mr Mutton. “By placing essential information on the same sign, it means that where there would have been six signs at on-ramp and off-ramp locations, there are now only two.”

The NZTA  is prioritising higher risk sites, but plans over time to roll out the new integrated signage along the entire network. The first of the new signs have been installed at the Ellerslie-Panmure and Greenlane inter-changes on the Southern Motorway (State Highway 1), and at the SH20-1 Manukau Extension.

Mr Mutton said that the new signage would also be less expensive to maintain.

“Besides less visual clutter, fewer signs mean that the cost of installation and maintenance drops. “




  1. Anthony says:

    That’s neat, having less clutter on the road is a nicer experience.

    One of the few motorway fundings i support.

  2. Ingolfson says:

    “Mr Mutton says combining messages onto one sign makes it easier for drivers to absorb information, especially at motorway on and off ramps.”

    Uhmmmm, doesn’t that DIRECTLY contradict research which encourages SEPARATION of signs, so that drivers aren’t confused by too many messages at once?

    In fact, the Land Transport Manual of Signs and Markings specifically states that most signs are not permitted to be on the same pole with others. In construction traffic management rules, as another example, there are also quite strict rules about how far apart from each other signs have to be as a minimum, again partly to not overwhelm drivers with data.

    I am not saying these signs are illegal, as I expect AMA has gotten NZTA approval. But somehow this doesn’t gel with what I understand about roading psychology… and at the end they even admit is its (at least partly) about aesthetics and costs, not about motorists.

  3. Chris says:

    @Ingolfson - If you cant see a few instructions on a sign, its no wonder you take PT. If everyone was like you they would have made billboards illegal by now.

  4. Lou says:

    I think it is a brilliant idea, hopefully it will be a cost saver and cut down on maintenance.

  5. Ingolfson says:

    Way to go, Chris! An ad hominem attack, with a totally irrelevant sidetrack to “counter” an argument based on research undertaken by numerous transport researchers and psychologists the world over.

    You’d do well in the Tea Party in the US. Just don’t let anybody fool you into trying to have an actual, civil argument based on facts.

  6. Ingolfson says:

    Regarding billboards:

    “Signs should be erected only where there is a demonstrated need, because unnecessary signs detract from the effectiveness of those that are required. It is most important therefore to ensure that extraneous, non-essential signs, eg. commercial advertising signs, are controlled and do not compete with traffic signs.”

    Whoops, maybe the NZTA also should take the bus, because apparently, they agree with me.

  7. Ingolfson says:

    Regarding combination of multiple signs:

    “When it is necessary to have two or more different types of sign at one position, SEPARATE signs, located a minimum of (0.6V85) m APART should be used…”

    [Emphasis mine]

    “As a general rule, only ONE type of sign should be mounted on each post….”

    [Emphasis mine].

    The rule states a few potential exemptions, and as I said initially, I am not arguing that the AMA signs are illegal. But clearly, this is not such a cut-and-dried case as some “let’s just post my opinion” types think. Road design is a university subject for a reason.

  8. Johans says:

    While they’re at it - why not update the bus stop signs? They did made an improvement from the older yellow text only ones to the current ones but why didn’t they make them bigger?


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