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21 February 2011
Traffic Signing News - February 2011
A selection of important developments outlined
SignPlot 2.6 introduces spelling correction and DfT x-height formula
This exciting new version of SignPlot was dispatched to supported users in the first week of February. If you haven’t seen your yet, please check with your designated recipient of upgrade CDs (this may be your IT department) or ask us to whom it was sent.
Coming within six months of the previous major upgrade, this represents exceptional value for money for the annual maintenance charge, which also covers unlimited support, hosting of user groups in London and Manchester, and liaison with DfT.
Don’t forget that SignPlot includes SignLoad - by far the favourite structural design system for UK traffic signs which saves money by minimising post and foundation sizes as well as reducing the risk of sign supports causing injury.
Everyone thinks they can spell, but it is surprisingly common for signs to be erected with embarrassing mistakes, particularly of place names unfamiliar to those involved. SignPlot 2.60 helps to avoid this by linking to the Microsoft Word spelling dictionary. This has the advantages of being UK-specific, already containing many town and city names, and being easy to add to (both in Word and in SignPlot) for village names, smaller localities, and tourist destinations.
In the event of a spelling or capitalisation problem, ‘Hintman’ appears, rolls his eyes and suggests possible replacement words.
On the DfT website is the recommended method for accurately determining the size of a direction sign, depending upon the road speed, width and number of destinations on the sign. This procedure is somewhat problematic to implement, as before you start it requires you to know or to guess the sign width, and deciding what counts as a destination is far from easy. SignPlot has overcome both these problems, by determining for itself the number of destinations on any sign, and removing the need for any guesswork or iteration.
There are also new facilities to support the latest innovation in sign manufacturing: digital printing of full-sized signs, drag-and-drop of block names and a dozen other enhancements and new symbols.
23 February 2011 (Manchester) & 15 March 2011 (London)
The next Signs and Lines User Groups for all recipients of this email are on 23 February in Manchester and 15 March in London. The latest versions of all systems will be explained and questions answered, as well as discussing what enhancements should go into the next versions. There are workshop sessions to provide free training on particular aspects of the software. There is no charge to attend for those with a support contract and lunch is provided. We hope to see many of you at one of these meetings. For more information see out website.
Traffic Sign Training
10 March 2011 and 24 November 2011
Our new course on Reducing Sign Clutter is proving popular and is being run for the third time on 24 November. Before then, our unique Sign Structures and Passive Safety course, providing everything a traffic engineer needs to know about this subject, will be on 10 March and 19 October. These courses are in addition to our regular programme of software-related courses at various locations around the country. For more information see our website.
29-31 March 2011
Please come and say ‘hello’ if you are visiting Traffex/Parkex at the NEC, Birmingham 29-31 March this year. As usual, we will be immediately on the left as you enter the hall (stand Z2). We will be showing our latest innovations such as TraffWeb for viewing a map-based inventory of traffic orders, collisions or signs on the Internet or an Intranet, and MovingOrders Map, our new system for managing speed limits, banned turns and other types of traffic order affecting moving vehicles.
The proposed amendments to TSRGD, put out for consultation at the end of 2009, are now expected to see the light of day by June this year. These 2011 Amendment Regulations will prescribe many types of worded regulatory sign that currently need authorisation, such as Restricted Zone, Permit Parking Area and Car Club bays. They will also prescribe the combined metric and imperial units height warning triangle included in SignPlot v2.60, but they will not make the use of metric units compulsory.
Ministers have announced that the Traffic Signs Policy Review will have published outputs by May. They have committed in a Government White Paper to giving more flexibility to individual authorities over sign wording, a re-evaluation of the need for electrical illumination for some signs and a simplification of the traffic orders processes, including bringing some regulatory measures out of the scope of the order process altogether. However, most of these changes will require new Statutory Instruments which, as we have seen with the TSRGD amendments, can take a long time to process.
British and European Standards
There will shortly be a new National Annex to BS EN 12899-1:2007, mainly to replace references to BS 8408 (the UK standard for microprismatic materials). In future, European Technical Approvals (ETAs) will need to be specified for these materials until Part 6 of the EN 12899 is available, late this year or early 2012. The standard for temporary signs, BS 8442, is also being worked on to bring it up to date, and everyone in the industry is concerned about the effect of introducing mandatory CE marking for traffic signs and road markings, probably within two years.
SignLoad Professional will be enhanced shortly with more support sections. We are just waiting for a couple of suppliers to put the finishing touches to their structural data.
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