Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

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Darren
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Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Darren »

One of the local councillors where I live (the Isle of Sheppey) has been pushing for some "merge in turn" signs to be installed at the main roundabout on the island. The road heading east features two lanes which, after 130 yards, merge into one.

People tend to ignore the fact there are two lanes for a fair distance and instead merge right at the junction, which causes longer tailbacks than are necessary - hence the need for signs.

I'd assumed they'd be the sort of thing I've seen elsewhere, but apparently there has to be special authorisation...

We've ended up with something I'd expect to see on a motorway, not a rural single-carriageway A-road!
merge1.jpg
They were after something like this, but it was denied. As the councillor said, "There is a DfT approved list of signs that can be used. Anything that isn't on the list has to be applied for. We applied and were unfortunately refused. We submitted a second design but were told it could only be used on motorways so we settled for what we could do. Not ideal but I decided to do something was better than nothing."
merge2.jpg
Question is - is there a better way this could be signed? I can't help but think it'll still make people want to merge right at the junction...
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by pjr10th »

Durham simply uses blue rectangular signs which say "Queue in both lanes | Merge in turn 200 yds" and then "Merge in turn". They're tiny. I always used to be able to get to the front of the queue by using the right lane.

In Jersey, they sign the only merge point similarly, but with much more visible larger white signs. At the merge point, it says "FILTER IN TURN" in all caps. At the next junction back the following big signs are shown. Universal compliance, because if you in the left lane try and cut in front of a car merging in front of you, that car will not relent to protect their car. There's also no suggestion at all that any lane has priority over any other, unlike the UK. It should be noted the Filter in Turn sign is legally sanctioned in Jersey and has a legal meaning which gives alternating priority, so if you jump your turn, you're liable for an accident.
'Queue_in_both_lanes'_sign_in_St_Lawrence,_Jersey.jpg
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Bomag »

Merge in turn signs are not prescribed and while can be used at works under TSRGD Schedule 13 Part 9 has no legal meaning - see D6.23 in Chapter 8 Part 1:2009. As the A2500 in non-primary the signs shown (Diagram 872.1 Schedule 11-2-15) needs to black on white Sch 11-5-27.

Merge in turn signing should never be needed for a permanent layout, if offside traffic cannot merge into nearside traffic then the layout is neither safe nor effective. In this case the issue is likely to be insufficient merge length and/or insufficient downstream capacity - merge in turn will not make the capacity increase. The ADS signing on the A2500 from the A249 is wrong and should be corrected, lane designation sign chould put A2500 traffic in lane 1 and B3221 in lane 2. The merge lane on the A2500 EB exit can be removed.
Kevin Roads
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Kevin Roads »

Bomag wrote: Sat May 28, 2022 22:26 In this case the issue is likely to be insufficient merge length and/or insufficient downstream capacity - merge in turn will not make the capacity increase.
From Darren's post the issue is the standard British driver's lack of understanding of merging i.e. to leave spaces between vehicles in the joining lane and for merging traffic to match speed and position to slot into those spaces, coupled with the view that anybody who sensibly decides to use the full length of road available (the meging lane) is 'pushing in' or queue-jumping. All this adds up to the classic situation described here with all vehicles stopped at the start of the two lanes and blocking the roundabout.

There's a similar situation here https://maps.app.goo.gl/Pu39pWnXZdSCfkP19 that I occasionally encounter but try and avoid whenever possible. I think the GSV shows it under construction as there are permanent merge signs now (I didn't realise that these shouldn't be used, Bomag) but it isn't really a merge, it's a lane-change which is only needed if the destination requires it.
Needless to say, all vehicles stop immediately after the traffic lights if they want to change lane which causes the usual tailbacks. A solid white line has been painted between the lanes for a short length to try and encourage drivers to change lane further along but this obviously is ignored. I've driven through the lights and remained in the same lane as I didn't need to change and had the expected horn-blasting, shaken fist etc because I didn't stop and 'let them in'.
Darren
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Darren »

Bomag wrote: Sat May 28, 2022 22:26 Merge in turn signs are not prescribed and while can be used at works under TSRGD Schedule 13 Part 9 has no legal meaning - see D6.23 in Chapter 8 Part 1:2009. As the A2500 in non-primary the signs shown (Diagram 872.1 Schedule 11-2-15) needs to black on white Sch 11-5-27.

Merge in turn signing should never be needed for a permanent layout, if offside traffic cannot merge into nearside traffic then the layout is neither safe nor effective. In this case the issue is likely to be insufficient merge length and/or insufficient downstream capacity - merge in turn will not make the capacity increase. The ADS signing on the A2500 from the A249 is wrong and should be corrected, lane designation sign chould put A2500 traffic in lane 1 and B3221 in lane 2. The merge lane on the A2500 EB exit can be removed.
Thank you for the detailed reply - it makes me wonder how many councils just thought "sod it" and put merge signs up anyway!

As for the junction in question, it's a special one - as the vast majority of traffic entering it from the south or west is wanting to go on the A2500 eastbound. Before they added the 130 yards of dual lanes, the merge happened right on the roundabout, causing massive queues back onto the A249. The situation has improved a bit (as the majority do merge in turn at the end, but maybe 20% merge at the roundabout - they tend to get very irate when you zip past them in the now-empty right-hand lane.)

This is a typical situation, in this case three weeks ago, a Wednesday at half five in the evening:
traff.jpg
It's worse on Mondays and Fridays and worse still during the holidays - the A2500 has an AADT of 23K and it's higher during tourist season.

Google's view on the ground a few years back shows it well:

https://goo.gl/maps/sYBicQMAna9XU6Ps8

I'm not really sure what more they could do, perhaps a "use both lanes" sign - although I'm not sure you can get those without authorisation either.

I'll have a look tomorrow and see if they've managed to put blue (motorway) signs up, or the correct black and white ones...
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by MotorwayGuy »

The most common way seems to be to use horrible yellow worded signs, presumably to get away with classing them as "temporary".
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.495918, ... 384!8i8192
Bournemouth seem to like these white variations:
https://www.google.com/maps/@50.7319413 ... 384!8i8192
https://www.google.com/maps/@50.7224433 ... 312!8i6656

Then of course there are these, which somewhat mitigates the issue of people not knowing what "merge in turn" means.

I doubt any of the above have authorisation.

The proposed signs, (ignoring the fact they are blue instead of white) aren't really going to help as they are simply a warning that the lane ends ahead. If anything, such signs often make people merge as soon as they see them.
Darren
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Darren »

MotorwayGuy wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 17:18 The most common way seems to be to use horrible yellow worded signs, presumably to get away with classing them as "temporary".
...
The proposed signs, (ignoring the fact they are blue instead of white) aren't really going to help as they are simply a warning that the lane ends ahead. If anything, such signs often make people merge as soon as they see them.
Interesting - I remembered these in Bracknell (long since gone), but hadn't realised they were yellow. So that's how they did it - "temporary" but permanent.
merge3.jpg
I suspect that the new signs as seen in the first post will just further reinforce the views of those who feel that only the left lane should be used, and that people using the right lane are pushing in... we'll see!

(And those M8 signs... wow. Ugly as anything, but they'd have done the job I think! :D )
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Chris5156 »

MotorwayGuy wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 17:18The proposed signs, (ignoring the fact they are blue instead of white) aren't really going to help as they are simply a warning that the lane ends ahead. If anything, such signs often make people merge as soon as they see them.
I agree with this.

The aim seems to be to persuade people to use both lanes until they merge into one. In that case, why not abandon the "merge in turn" idea and use something like this instead. They're on a National Highways road so presumably do have authorisation.
Kevin Roads
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Kevin Roads »

Chris5156 wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 18:34 The aim seems to be to persuade people to use both lanes until they merge into one. In that case, why not abandon the "merge in turn" idea and use something like this instead. They're on a National Highways road so presumably do have authorisation.
That is about the best idea, Chris, as it gives simple, clear instructions. I've seen those signs at roadworks, backed-up with something like 'Merge in turn at end' plus there may even have been a merge diagram sign.
All great when people do it but it then goes to pot when HGV drivers decide to self-police the queue and block the outer merging lane, not realising that all they gave done is prevent some road space being used and moved the merge-point behind them...
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Chris5156
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Chris5156 »

Kevin Roads wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 18:52
Chris5156 wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 18:34 The aim seems to be to persuade people to use both lanes until they merge into one. In that case, why not abandon the "merge in turn" idea and use something like this instead. They're on a National Highways road so presumably do have authorisation.
That is about the best idea, Chris, as it gives simple, clear instructions. I've seen those signs at roadworks, backed-up with something like 'Merge in turn at end' plus there may even have been a merge diagram sign.
If you follow the road forward from that Streetview link, the point where the second lane ends does indeed have "merge in turn" signs. But I think the main thing is actually to tell people to use both lanes.
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by traffic-light-man »

Can a white-on-blue information sign be free text, and thus the worded ones are actually TSRGD compliant?

I've always been led to believe that's the case for temporary signage and thus almost anything worded gets away with it providing the right colours have been used for the right situation, but is it the same for a permanent information sign?

Blackburn (I think!) has a few of those 'lane ends' signs with an accompanying white-on-blue 'merge in turn' sign below them. Not sure how well they work, mind you. I'm sure Bryn will have more insight!
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by jnty »

"Temporary" signs in Edinburgh which might have been there for two decades: https://goo.gl/maps/EX1wmvbeWhE18Bav7

Of course the usual Edinburgh approach is to just have the lane vanish

https://goo.gl/maps/spTVzcr4Ms7ryBvy5
https://goo.gl/maps/VHGRoyoGUCA5UMdm9
https://goo.gl/maps/aAJuiWq5jUqgivkH8
https://goo.gl/maps/9iy6ty9qLuGQJnZ29
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Bryn666 »

traffic-light-man wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 19:34 Can a white-on-blue information sign be free text, and thus the worded ones are actually TSRGD compliant?

I've always been led to believe that's the case for temporary signage and thus almost anything worded gets away with it providing the right colours have been used for the right situation, but is it the same for a permanent information sign?

Blackburn (I think!) has a few of those 'lane ends' signs with an accompanying white-on-blue 'merge in turn' sign below them. Not sure how well they work, mind you. I'm sure Bryn will have more insight!
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Bomag »

As is often pointed out to people who insist on imposing merge in turn signing that it does not increase capacity. As mentioned in TSM it may reduce queue length at road works and 'temporary' layouts (which includes the A303 example, 29 years and counting!) but the with the second lane on the A2500 only 150m long M-I-T will make bugger all difference if people merge straight after the roundabout or at the end of extra lane. The best option in terms of maintaining capacity at a lane drop is to fit in with others, if both lanes are used don't straddle both lanes, but if the traffic is forming an orderly queue in one lane well before the land drop do not zip down the outside lane and push in, the conflict will just reduce capacity.

All permanent signs must be as prescribed (with permitted variances) in TSRGD, or authorised. There is no free text option. TSRGD does provide a degree of free text for temporary signs under Schedule 13-9, but only for a sub-set of information and warning signs and not for signing restriction, nor speed limits. Apart from a few caveats these signs have a maximum time on road of six mounts. Design rules are as for permanent signs e.g. capitalisation, font, colour combinations, time format, time format etc apply.

As mentioned if you think you need merge in turn signs on a permanent road layout to fixed queuing, the real solution is to change the layout and/or increase capacity.
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Bryn666 »

Isn't a lot of this problem caused by signal modellers ploughing their lovely maximum saturation flow through a junction straight into a bottleneck immediately beyond. Why does no-one ever seem to raise this as an issue?

This one causes no end of fun at rush hour: https://goo.gl/maps/QhK1BqMAmoJQHfjn8
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by exiled »

jnty wrote: Mon May 30, 2022 10:07 "Temporary" signs in Edinburgh which might have been there for two decades: https://goo.gl/maps/EX1wmvbeWhE18Bav7

Of course the usual Edinburgh approach is to just have the lane vanish

https://goo.gl/maps/spTVzcr4Ms7ryBvy5
https://goo.gl/maps/VHGRoyoGUCA5UMdm9
https://goo.gl/maps/aAJuiWq5jUqgivkH8
https://goo.gl/maps/9iy6ty9qLuGQJnZ29
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Conekicker »

It might be, if one were to squint hard enough, that the permitted variants of Diagram 818.4 (S12-28-22) are enough for a sign stating "Merge in turn" to be permitted. Possible relevant text in larger text picked out below:

1. The legend above the “weight limit” symbol, indicating the nature and location of the prohibition, restriction or requirement, may be varied as appropriate;
2. The “weight limit” numeral may be varied;
3. The “weight limit” symbol may be varied to a symbol shown in column 3 of the sign table in Part 20 at items 25, 27, 33, 34 or 35 or omitted;
4. A distance to the location of the prohibition, restriction or requirement may be shown in accordance with Part 3 of Schedule 18;
5. An arrow pointing horizontally to the left or to the right may be added (and where an arrow pointing to the right is added, the lorry symbol is reversed);
6. “ahead” may be added after any distance where an arrow has not been added;
7. The legend below the “weight limit” symbol, indicating an alternative route, may be omitted or varied in accordance with column 3 of the sign table in Part 3 at item 8 and may include the words “Alternative route via”

Although it could well be that I'm stretching things "a little" (cough) there. One for someone to ask DfT about I think, if anyone is that concerned.
Note that 818.4 includes what was the old 818.2 from TSRGD 2002, where legends such as "No right turn at High St" were permitted. So perhaps "Merge in turn" is OK. Perhaps...

Having said all that, why a Diagram 872.1 (S11-2-15) isn't used would be worth asking of whoever is designing the scheme, given it's an appropriate sign.
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by ravenbluemoon »

Notts CC seem to like the white on red variant.
Chris5156 wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 18:34 The aim seems to be to persuade people to use both lanes until they merge into one. In that case, why not abandon the "merge in turn" idea and use something like this instead. They're on a National Highways road so presumably do have authorisation.
The pedant in me really wants to "use both lanes" and drive along the centre line :twisted:
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Vierwielen »

Chris5156 wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 18:34
MotorwayGuy wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 17:18The proposed signs, (ignoring the fact they are blue instead of white) aren't really going to help as they are simply a warning that the lane ends ahead. If anything, such signs often make people merge as soon as they see them.
I agree with this.

The aim seems to be to persuade people to use both lanes until they merge into one. In that case, why not abandon the "merge in turn" idea and use something like this instead. They're on a National Highways road so presumably do have authorisation.
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Re: Merge in turn signs - special authorisation required?

Post by Vierwielen »

Darren wrote: Sat May 28, 2022 18:37 merge2.jpg

Question is - is there a better way this could be signed? I can't help but think it'll still make people want to merge right at the junction...
The sign looks reasonably intuitive to me, though I would prefer a third arrow above the two already there. The top arrow would replicate the bottom arrow and would emphasise that the middle arrow is does not have priority over either other arrow.
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