Road signs in nine different languages on construction pilot

9 July 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Road signs equipped with number plate recognition technology are being used to display messages in nine different languages during road construction works in a trial by Highways England.

The messages are being displayed on roads approaching a junction of the M6 near Carlisle in Cumbria, where overnight closures are taking place while contractors undertake works on the roads.

The sign scans vehicles number plates to determine the nationality of the vehicle and consequently the language most likely spoken by its driver. It can display messages, such as warning drivers that the road is closed, in Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak and Spanish.

Highways England senior project manager Steve Mason said: “We’re a listening and learning organisation and we’re determined to improve the way customers get roadworks information.

“We carried out major improvements along the A66 near Penrith last year and while the communications and diversion routes worked well, we had some feedback from Cumbria Police that foreign lorry drivers were missing some of the messaging.

“This not only inconvenienced the drivers but also local communities as we had lorries on inappropriate diversion routes.

“We’ve taken that learning on board and hopefully providing tailored messaging for foreign lorry drivers will improve everyone’s experience of these roadworks.”

Inspector Steve Minnikin of Cumbria Police said: “We provided a lot of support around the A66 closures last year and we’re delighted to see that Highways England has responded to our feedback by trialling this idea by being more aware of language differences and being considerate in meeting their needs.

“We all believe this will assist the lorry drivers from other countries in rescheduling their journeys and avoid driving into a road closure with all the inconvenience that it can cause themselves and others.”


Big Brother Gains new method of tracking the movements of the general public, not just visitors to the UK?

I doubt that the UK Government security agencies will lose this opportunity to link a download from the sign-cameras into their surveillance methods!

Terence Jones, 9 July 2019

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