Increasing the public’s awareness and knowledge of what an emergency diversion route is and how they should be followed. Only 1 in 20 members of the public who responded to a past Road Users Satisfaction Surveys (RUSS) had a sufficient understanding of how to follow the pre-defined signs and symbols. A more recent RUSS http://share/Share/llisapi.dll/overview/12021687
To support this, a concerted and co-ordinated effort by all stakeholders is essential to improve the public’s understanding of emergency diversion routes, making use a range of cost efficient communication channels to reach the widest possible target audience.
A sample of the initiatives from the comprehensive Communications Plan includes:
• Driving Standards Agency (DSA) are to introduce emergency diversion route questions into the Drivers Theory Test and enhance the Highway Code as well as referring to EDR symbols and their use in other driving publications
• Traffic Radio FM are to update their broadcasts to include emergency diversion routes infomercials as well as improving traffic information including in any incident update the symbols drivers have to follow whilst on the diversion route
• AA, RAC, Green Flag and National Breakdown are to distribute a leaflet and information on emergency diversion routes via their website
• Working with Local Authorities, Road Hauliers Association and Road Freight Association to utilise their various communication tools
The project team has developed an in-depth communications plan to illustrate the levels of engagement the Highways Agency is instigating with both internal and external stakeholders. It is anticipated that this should make a significant improvement in a recognised area of concern.
This is largely focused on improving a drivers experience when requested to use a diversion route. This includes ensuring strategic signs, signals and any other available variable message signs are utilised to increase driver’s awareness of the route. In addition to this, consideration is being given to providing temporary signs possibly within the taper to supplement existing trigger signs. This will reduce the chances of drivers missing any diversion route signage especially in urban areas and at complex interchanges where large goods vehicles could mask the trigger sign.
Policy and Procedures
From various meetings with Operations personnel it was clear that they would benefit from improved training on emergency diversion routes good practice. As a result, the project team are currently working with the Traffic Learning Centre to improve foundation training understanding of EDRs they are also looking into the feasibility and value of producing an aide memoire to provide Operators with good practice guidance when implementing emergency diversion routes. This also includes ensuring that all route cards are up-to-date and easily accessible within the Regional Control Centre (RCC).
Work is also being carried to increase local police officers awareness of the emergency diversion route project to build their confidence in the various routes available during incident management.
The Highways Agency is also beginning to trial the use of the pictogram MS4 signs to help communicate emergency diversion route information to the public. DfT have agreed in principle their use and a test is scheduled and the impact of this intervention will be analysed. This method would supplement the trigger signs and reduce the risk of drivers missing the symbol they have to follow. This will improve drivers understanding of the route and reduce uncertainty and the risk of drivers stopping or consulting maps whilst on the route thus improving flow along the route and safety.