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Signage & Trust

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Urban Development

The TOI reporter called me over the weekend asking for a quote on the problems with signage and road signs in Bangalore. I was trying to summarize the problem in one word & while I wasnt paraphrased properly here, the word was "Untrustworthy". Why? because I believe the real problems with signboards/signages/direction boards/road markings and all kinds of information on the roads are not its existance sporadically but rather that we cant rely on them hence we tend to do without them.

How many times have you found a hump but no board and a board but with no hump? How many times have you relied on a lane and found that it ended abruptly at a junction or just in front of you with no warning leaving you to scramble and merge hurriedly causing a jam? How intutive is the no parking sign for people who cant tell a feet from a meter without a tape? If you are from out of station or in a new locality how are you supposed to know how fast to go on a road? If you answer width be prepared to slam into a divider when it curves really sharply without information. How many times have you found direction boards mention the place you want to go to at one junction but suddenly find the new locality names at the next signal?

Its not that standards for lane marking and signages dont exist in IRC its that they are just unreliably implemented. If we have to make information on the roads reliable we just have to fix the "trustworthiness" which will lead to structured behaviour on the roads. We then dont have to have citizens make up their own lanes, parking places etc

How to fix the unreliableness?


srinidhi's picture

standardize for starters?

144 users have liked.

I suppose IRC is only a set of guidelines..however I think the the transport dept should come up with the specifications for the signs(size, location, install height etc) for the whole of Karnataka and every tender including that of B-TRAC etc should go with these specifications.

idontspam's picture

Mandate a guideline?

153 users have liked.

Sri my point is the specs do exist somewhere or the other. But how to make them effective and trust worthy? Will making a guidline a mandatory thing help? 

idontspam's picture

So… just to move this

146 users have liked.

So… just to move this forward would it be fair to lay down the following scenario/goal for road marking/signage


Road markings and signage should at inform the user before arriving at a junction and after taking the turn the where,what,when and how of his travel.

Before arriving at the junction he needs to be told which lane takes him where? When he needs to be in that lane? How he should get into that lane and what are the things he needs to watch out for in the lane he is in, like pedestrian crossings, humps, turn signals etc.

After taking the turn on the new road he should be told which lane to take what speed to maintain, what are the obstructions/closures, junctions, ramps, merges, parking slots,information on other furniture and features like bike lanes pedestrian crossings etc? When he should do merges and turns and speed adjustments? Where each lane will take him and consistency in naming direction signboards. How he should be driving when he is on that road.


If we write this(or a variation of this) down as a principle the next step will be roles and responsibilities of the different entities on how this will be deployed, maintained and enfoced. BBMP/BDA does roads and the markings on them including direction boards, Traffic police do signals/turns, other signboards and enforcement, RTO does (supposedly) the how part of the above.


We also need to look at how many of these markings and signboards specified in the IRC  can be made mandatory for a city like Bangalore by the authorities instead of using the guideline as an excuse for not doing things.

srinidhi's picture

IRC document on road signs

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Pretty comprehensive on what and how

Just that it needs to made mandatory to use this without excuses..

xs400's picture

Why not simply copy signs from

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While we import technology in all spheres, why shy away from admitting that we cannot do it ourselves and start importing "knowledge"  in public services?

Is it very hard to copy signages from developed countries? Just pick a country and go with their pictorial standard. We can argue later!

Signs in Bangalore are confusing and it is the fault of ....

BUT, on the expressway to the KIAL????!!! I missed the route to the Airport near Hebbal till my 'navigator' told me to turn right. I missed the airport exit too: the sign to the airport is at the junction/exit! Like a good desi I tried to figure out if there was a U-turn ahead, but being a desi myself realized that that would not be the case, I reversed my car back to the junction and took the exit. Another car did the same just after I did!

I need to be a better desi, next time, I will turn my car around and also buy myself some red and blue flashing LED lights (and maybe a siren-like horn) 'to caution oncoming traffic' and proceed nonchalantly in the direction I want. WE ARE LIKE THIS ONLY.

idontspam's picture

Practicals not theory

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Is it very hard to copy signages from developed countries? Just pick a country and go with their pictorial standard. We can argue later!

The fault, dear brutus, is not in the signs, but rather the application of it on the ground. 

idontspam's picture

IRC 67

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Sri, IRC 67 is quite comprehensive wrt signboards and direction boards in theory. There is probably also a section on lane markings. Combined together we have the material. Would the approach then be file a PIL asking for it to be made mandatory? comment guidelines

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