Maintaining a single sign standard goes off the rails

After reading your News Analysis (DW 10 July) and having spent a number of years trying to maintain a national signing system at British Rail, I can say that it is a lot more difficult than it sounds.

Trying to get 20 or more rail operators to agree on a single signing standard, and to then maintain that standard, would be a major challenge. The best that those of us working in transport design can hope for is an agreed set of basic principles for signing and information, allowing flexibility for branding and local environmental factors.

The one issue that no-one seems to be addressing at the moment is the growth in electronic media for signing. LCD displays, plasma screens, LED displays, ‘digital paper’ and so on. They all offer the potential for complete flexibility in signing design and establishing control and standardisation for the graphic presentation will be essential.

Even then, your local transport manager could still change all the arrows to pink and put all the text in caps.

Perhaps we ought to go back to a ‘state-run’ single national rail standard after all?

Tony Howard



London W11

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