Sun, Feb 04, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Transportation agencies replacing direction signs

WITH GRAPHICS, PLEASE Starting last month, various agencies have begun replacing old direction signs with new, less confusing ones on the nation's major roads

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Many Taiwanese have experienced getting lost on a freeway, even though they had been closely following the direction signs.

But transportation experts have determined that some of the direction signs were designed in ways that mislead drivers rather than point them to the desired direction.

Since last October, the Institute of Transportation (IOT) and other agencies under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) have worked together to replace old direction signs with ones featuring a more user-friendly design.

Instead of vague verbal descriptions, the new instruction signs will clearly indicate, with minor graphics, which direction to take if one wishes to get from one freeway to another.

Meanwhile, to help motorists avoid heavy traffic, the ministry has also installed new signs along major freeways showing alternative routes nearby.

Moreover, travelers can now find their way to high speed rail stations, theme parks or scenic areas by following newly designed direction signs.

Chen Yi-chang (陳一昌), chief of IOT's safety division, said that friendly signs were needed for a country with a "closely knitted" network of freeways and highways such as Taiwan.

"The graphic instructions will tell drivers about other available routes, as well as the highways or freeways they will be turning into once they exit the one they are driving on," Chen said.

"The signs will also be installed at an appropriate distance before the exits, allowing drivers sufficient time to switch to the proper lane," Chen added.

Chen added that 63 new graphic direction signs had been installed on freeways and highways by last month.

A total of 39l alternative route signs were placed near the airport exit and six others within Pingjen (平鎮) City in Taoyuan County on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway, as heavy traffic is often reported within this area during rush hour and on national holidays.

Approximately 780 new direction signs were also established to facilitate the transportation of travelers heading to leisure facilities and high speed rail stations.

Chen said that more instruction signs will be replaced in the coming months.

He added that drivers are encouraged to inform the institute about any ill-designed direction signs by calling a toll-free number (0800-231-900) or contacting the safety division online at (http://safety.iot.gov.tw).

The reports will be collected and referred to the administrations in charge. The expected turnaround time is approximately two weeks, Chen said.

As the holiday season approaches, the institute also advised drivers to work out ideal travel routes using the updated tourist maps before hitting the road.

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