Road signs could say ‘Take a train’

New road matrix signs encouraging drivers to leave motorways or even take the train instead are being considered, transport ministers told MPs.

Road safety minister Mike Penning said the new signs would be “a complete break” with what had gone before and were likely to be opposed by some.

Local transport minister Norman Baker said the new approach would be “cross-modal”.

The two ministers were appearing before the House of Commons Transport Committee.

Mr Penning said: “We are looking at ways of providing better information via matrix signs.”

He added that signs could, in the future, tell people to take a different route to their planned motorway journey.

The signs could also, for example, tell drivers of the attraction of coming off the motorway and journey to a nearby rail station where they could park and take the train.

Mr Penning went on: “It’s a complete break (with the past). There will be some opposition to it.”

Mr Baker said: “Sometimes drivers will want to switch (transport modes). If you have a sign saying a rail journey would take half the time of a road journey, people might think of taking the train.”

Mr Penning also told the committee that the Government was working with interested parties to ensure that roads were not shut for so long after accidents.

“The time some roads are closed after an accident is unacceptable to the (transport) infrastructure and to the country’s economy,” Mr Penning said.

He added that he supported Transport Secretary Philip Hammond’s view, expressed just after taking office last year, that the “war on the motorist” was over.

He said governments had taken “a great deal of money” from motorists and “given them a hard time”.

Mr Penning went on: “There was a feeling that we had beaten up motorists.”

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