Pointless motorway overhead messages

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DB617
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by DB617 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 13:27

the cheesecake man wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 13:15
Some of these remind me of trundling round the M60 and seeing congestion warnings and advisory speed limits.

The only problem was we were in contraflow roadworks and the messages were all on the closed side!
I love seeing things like that. It's something that's also an issue with crowd-source traffic monitoring as provided by Google Maps users carrying their phones in their cars. A closed road may still have roadworks, emergency or support vehicles driving up and down it, so I would assume MIDAS detects stationary works vehicles sitting over a detector, or in the case of Google Maps, it sees a person's phone travelling at speed down the closed section, and gives a false positive. This can result in some really useless data on night closures and accident closures, where Google Maps shows normally congested roads as fully green, because one HETO car is travelling down it at 70mph with the officers having their phones on.

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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by MattyH » Tue Mar 17, 2020 21:11

Remember seeing a few along the A14/A12 that read SIGN NOT IN USE.

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the cheesecake man
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by the cheesecake man » Thu Mar 19, 2020 13:40

Seen on the M1 and M18

EU TOURIST TRAFFIC
RESTRICTIONS
PLEASE CHECK

Has anyone really not noticed there might be such things in place? And if they're sufficiently ignorant not to think about that are they really going to stop and check in response to the sign?

And what about non-tourist traffic? Or traffic heading outside the EU?

Meanwhile Sheffield City Council's VMS system on the Inner Ring Road is still proudly announcing there's a football match at Hillsborough on Saturday.

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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by StockburyRoundabout » Tue Mar 24, 2020 16:10

MattyH wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 21:11
Remember seeing a few along the A14/A12 that read SIGN NOT IN USE.
Also one on the M5 at J30. Its been like that for at least 10 years.
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by RJDG14 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 18:26

the cheesecake man wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 13:40
Seen on the M1 and M18

EU TOURIST TRAFFIC
RESTRICTIONS
PLEASE CHECK

Has anyone really not noticed there might be such things in place? And if they're sufficiently ignorant not to think about that are they really going to stop and check in response to the sign?

And what about non-tourist traffic? Or traffic heading outside the EU?

Meanwhile Sheffield City Council's VMS system on the Inner Ring Road is still proudly announcing there's a football match at Hillsborough on Saturday.
To my knowledge the UK hasn't yet imposed a(n official) ban on travel from the EU, regardless of the lockdown measures, and from what I've read the external EU travel ban doesn't apply (outside of individual countries that have closed their borders) to the UK since it's still in the Brexit transition period. Am I wrong on either of these?
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by c2R » Thu Mar 26, 2020 19:06

RJDG14 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 18:26

To my knowledge the UK hasn't yet imposed a(n official) ban on travel from the EU, regardless of the lockdown measures, and from what I've read the external EU travel ban doesn't apply (outside of individual countries that have closed their borders) to the UK since it's still in the Brexit transition period. Am I wrong on either of these?
Indeed - goods still need to be moved, and ferry operators are still crossing the Irish Sea and Channel routes (although Spanish sailings are suspended).

The UK border in Ireland is possibly one of the reasons that borders aren't closed... as it would be fairly politically difficult to enforce closure of that one (and would also cause significant problems in the NHS in the north as many staff cross the border daily to work), or to restrict movement across the Irish Sea without also restricting movement within the rest of the UK.
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by fras » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:56

Has anybody seen "COVID-19 AHEAD" yet ? Sorry, only joking.

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Johnathan404
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by Johnathan404 » Fri Mar 27, 2020 15:55

That's precisely what I was expecting to see when I saw this sign, with flashing lights.
IMG_6101.jpg
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by Big L » Mon May 25, 2020 08:10

Apparently there is a fire in Towcester that has the A5 closed. Plenty of warning signs on the southbound M6 and M1 on the approach. And rather bizarrely, after passing. I'm at Toddington (southbound) services currently, and the VMS almost at the entrance is warning me of the closure.
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by Johnathan404 » Thu May 28, 2020 12:28

Mixed messages on the M4.

IMG_8163.PNG

The first sign is a long-term campaign message, but it's unfortunate that it precedes two closed MSAs.
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Matthew
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by Matthew » Thu May 28, 2020 12:43

Which services are closed?
Opinion is purely my own and all those other exceptions and excuses.

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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by KeithW » Thu May 28, 2020 12:50

Matthew wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 12:43
Which services are closed?
That would be Membury which has separate services each side with an overbridge.
Last edited by KeithW on Thu May 28, 2020 12:51, edited 1 time in total.

DavidBrown
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by DavidBrown » Thu May 28, 2020 12:50

Matthew wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 12:43
Which services are closed?
J15-14 would be Membury.

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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by KeithW » Thu May 28, 2020 12:51

DavidBrown wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 12:50
Matthew wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 12:43
Which services are closed?
J15-14 would be Membury.
Snap :)

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Matthew
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by Matthew » Thu May 28, 2020 12:55

According to http://www.trafficengland.com/motorway-service-areas it's still showing as open?
Opinion is purely my own and all those other exceptions and excuses.

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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by Johnathan404 » Thu May 28, 2020 13:11

Matthew wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 12:55
According to http://www.trafficengland.com/motorway-service-areas it's still showing as open?
I'm sorry to snap but that's a real peeve of mine. What that page doesn't tell you is that it is only updated once every 24 hours, as is Highways England policy. Highways England have been generating a lot of fawning publicity for that service, but it is pretty useless in that form. For instance right now it is reporting that Wetherby MSA is fully open, even though the VMS displays are correctly reporting that it is closed. It's a shame because it's a very good idea, but only if it actually provides real time information.

In any case the incident I was referring to was an overnight closure of Membury and Chieveley, which has since been lifted.
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by Big L » Wed Jun 10, 2020 14:05

I really don't like "Don't use hardshoulder", currently on the Luton-area M1. What if I have a breakdown or emergency?

It's because the installation appears to have been underspecified. The signs don't look big enough for "Hardshoulder for emergency use only".
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by EpicChef » Wed Jun 10, 2020 18:18

Big L wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 14:05
I really don't like "Don't use hardshoulder", currently on the Luton-area M1. What if I have a breakdown or emergency?

It's because the installation appears to have been underspecified. The signs don't look big enough for "Hardshoulder for emergency use only".
The MS4 signs are definitely big enough. On the M1 they have been displaying "Hard shoulder for emergency use only" for years.

You can see this if you go to Traffic England and view the variable message signs. The photo below was at the time of writing. Two signs further south on the northbound carriageway did have the condensed message "Do not use hardshoulder".
Annotation 2020-06-10 143618.png
The signs originally said "Hardshoulder emergency use only", (does not make grammatical sense) which was then changed to "Hardshoulder for emergency use only," and now some signs say "Hard shoulder for emergency use only." (like the M6, with a space between Hard and Shoulder.) But it looks like now, a mix of these three variants are used along the scheme.

I have only ever seen "Do not use hardshoulder" once IRL, but I can see that a few MS4s are displaying this message instead of the standard message above.

I can think of two reasons: one, that the operator thought the MS4 signs were standard 2x12 MS2 or MS3 signs, and put a condensed message, which would be a worrying lack of familiarization with the signs they were setting, or two, that the operator detected someone on camera using the hard shoulder when they shouldn't have been, and so put a directed message to not use the hard shoulder.

In any case, I would want the same message across all schemes. The M42 and M6 have always put a space between "hard" and "shoulder" (i.e. "Use hard shoulder" or "Hard shoulder for emergency use only) but the other schemes normally spell it as one word "hardshoulder"l, and the message "Hardshoulder (for) emergency use only" would often omit the word 'for'.

Additionally, all the messages used to say "Congestion use hard shoulder" but now the word "congestion" has been removed from the message.

Originally I thought this was because MS4s on the M42 and M6 were wider, but this obviously isn't true as I have seen a few MS4s on the M1 display the message just like the M42 and M6.

So why can there not just be two messages, "Use hard shoulder" and "Hard shoulder for emergency use only" (as well as the rare messages "Accident use hard shoulder", "Hard shoulder closed ahead", "Emergency vehicles on hard shoulder" etc.) which don't change in terms of spaces, words omitted etc. between schemes.
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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by ais523 » Wed Jun 10, 2020 20:05

The MS4s on the M42 actually have M42-specific programming (i.e. their programming knows about specific junctions on the M42). Presumably when the pilot of Active Traffic Management was introduced, the plan was to program the MS4s separately for each scheme.

For future schemes, they changed their mind and came up with a "generic" MS4 program that would work on any smart motorway (the information about things like which junction layouts to show is sent from the control room each time a message is set, rather than being hard-coded into the MS4). Presumably, while doing that, they accidentally introduced the "hardshoulder" typo that was correct in the M42 version of the program. As there was now a generic program, presumably they didn't feel the need to change the MS4 programming again (i.e. to pay for a new MS4 program), which means that the typo stuck.

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Re: Pointless motorway overhead messages

Post by EpicChef » Wed Jun 10, 2020 23:11

ais523 wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 20:05
The MS4s on the M42 actually have M42-specific programming (i.e. their programming knows about specific junctions on the M42). Presumably when the pilot of Active Traffic Management was introduced, the plan was to program the MS4s separately for each scheme.

For future schemes, they changed their mind and came up with a "generic" MS4 program that would work on any smart motorway (the information about things like which junction layouts to show is sent from the control room each time a message is set, rather than being hard-coded into the MS4). Presumably, while doing that, they accidentally introduced the "hardshoulder" typo that was correct in the M42 version of the program. As there was now a generic program, presumably they didn't feel the need to change the MS4 programming again (i.e. to pay for a new MS4 program), which means that the typo stuck.
Two points:

One - The M42 was not the only motorway to get specific MS4 signage including bespoke lane diagrams for through-junction running. The M6 near Birmingham did too. The M6 also got the 'correctly worded' versions of the hard shoulder messages.
The reason why only the M42 and M6 got such impressively complex lane diagrams at junctions was because of the physically confusing layout of through-junction running on those schemes. If you click this link (link is M42 but M6 is similar at J5) and move ahead to where the sliproad actually diverges, you'll notice that D3M continues through the junction, and so the lane diagrams tell people whether they can drive through the chevrons and continue into the hard shoulder between the junction sliproads.
On later dynamic hard shoulder schemes like M1 J10-13, this was ditched and replaced with an all lane running (4 permanent lanes) through junction slip roads, rendering such diagrams on the MS4s useless.

Two - some MS4s on the M1 scheme now display the message properly "hard shoulder for emergency use only", with the space, and others say "hardshoulder emergency use only" (not grammatically correct) while (rarely), others still say "do not use hardshoulder". And the different messages aren't hard wired into the MS4s, because you can see different versions in different places at different times.
It's super confusing because there's a mix of these 3 variants on that one scheme, when all of them should be one single message, "hard shoulder for emergency use only."
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