Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Community Liaison Committee: 23rd November, 2011


Report of the Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration


Vehicle Activated Signs


Purpose of the Report

1.             To advise the Committee of the use of Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) on the highway network in the Vale of Glamorgan.


1.             That the Committee notes the contents of the report.

Reason for the Recommendation

2.             For information.


2.             A request was made from the Llandough Community Council as follows:

"It is requested that the Community Liaison Committee consider the following matter:

Illuminated Speed Reminder Devices - Criteria for Determining Allocation to Communities."

Reason for request:

"The Community Council considers that the speed of traffic is an issue for all communities in the Vale of Glamorgan and it would be helpful to have a discussion about the criteria that is used to determine the allocation of reminder devices." 

3.             Inappropriate speed is a matter of concern throughout the United Kingdom.  The Welsh Government (WG) sees that a partnership approach is the way forward in addressing this issue and is concentrating on the 3 Es: Education, Engineering and Enforcement.

4.             The Council's Road Safety Section (Planning Transportation Policy) is responsible for Education, Training and Publicity in relation to road safety matters in conjunction with the Police and other stakeholders.

5.             The Council's Traffic Management Section (Highways and Engineering) is responsible for investigating incidents of perceived inappropriate speed, obtaining speed data, receiving casualty reports from the Police and identifying actions to be taken, if appropriate.

6.             The South Wales Police are responsible for collecting personal injury collision data and for enforcing speed restrictions on the highway network.

7.             The WG recognises that the use of VAS is effective at reducing speeds and collisions when used instead of or in conjunction with safety cameras and may be considered as part of an overall casualty reduction strategy.

8.             The Department for Transport (DfT) provides guidance in the use of VAS in the Traffic Advisory Leaflet 1/03 a copy of which is attached to this report for reference at Appendix 'A' to this report. 

9.             Research was undertaken by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in 2002 and concluded the following:

"Drivers can be influenced to reduce speed when they are specifically targeted, with fixed signs alone likely to have less effect;

Vehicle-activated signs appear to be very effective in reducing speeds; in particular, they are capable of reducing the number of drivers who exceed the speed limit and who contribute to the accident risk, without the need for enforcement such as safety cameras;

Vehicle-activated signs can be operated at thresholds well below the normal Police enforcement levels; 

There is no evidence that in time, drivers become less responsive to the signs, even after three years;

Operating costs are low;

In the study, a substantial accident reduction has been demonstrated."

Relevant Issues and Options

Permanent VAS

10.        26 locations within the Vale of Glamorgan have permanent VAS.  These sites have been chosen where inappropriate speed or inappropriate driver behaviour has been proven as being of a major concern and where formal enforcement opportunities are limited.  These sites are listed in Appendix 'B' to this report.

11.        Permanent VAS may require an electrical power supply or can be solar or wind powered in appropriate locations. 

12.        It should be noted that the use of VAS is seen as complementary to formal enforcement by the Police and is not used as an alternative.

Mobile VAS

13.        18 sites around the Vale of Glamorgan have been investigated with a view to identifying suitable locations for the use of mobile VAS.  The following information has been collected:

The existing speed restriction at the location;

The length of highway being considered;

The number and severity of personal injury collisions at the site;

The collision rate measured in collisons/10 million vehicle km;

The date of the speed/volume survey;

The percentage of vehicles travelling at a speed above the Police prosecution level.


14.        The Council currently has 2 battery operated mobile VAS which are used at suitable locations around the Vale.  A foundation and socket is required at each appropriate location to mount the equipment.  The VAS is left in place for a period of approximately 2 months before being moved to the next location.  Officer time is required to maintain the equipment and to relocate it when required.    

15.        The survey data collected for the 18 sites has been analysed and the sites have been put into a priority list.  Seven locations have been identified as being appropriate for the siting of a mobile VAS as follows:

Maendy Road, Maendy (equipment previously located at this site);

A48 Bonvilston (equipment previously located at this site);

Un-named Road, Llanmaes (equipment currently located at this site);

Station Terrace, East Aberthaw;

Lavernock Road, Penarth;

Cowbridge Road, St. Athan;

Severn Avenue, Barry.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

16.        No specific funding is currently identified for additional permanent or mobile VAS. 

17.        The Council's Traffic Management annual operational budget is used to maintain the mobile VAS and to install foundations and sockets at appropriate locations as required. 

18.        The Council's Traffic Management team (Highways and Engineering) manages the siting and maintenance of the mobile VAS throughout the Vale.

19.        There are no Climate Change Implications.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

20.        The Road Traffic Act 1988 S39 requires Highway Authorities to carry out studies into accidents arising out of the use of vehicles … and must take such measures as appear to be appropriate to control, protect or assist  the movement of traffic …

21.        The Council as Highway Authority has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the highway user and may be found to be negligent if it does not meet its statutory obligations under the Highways Act 1980 and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1988.

22.        There are no Human Rights Implications. 1tvWkg1Fku

Crime and Disorder Implications

23.        Improvements to highway safety help to reduce the potential for incidents of disorder.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

24.        Improvements to highway safety benefit all sectors of the community.

25.        Any signage associated with future works will comply with the requirements of the Council's Welsh Language Scheme.

Corporate/Service Objectives

26.        To maintain and develop a safe and effective highway.

Policy Framework and Budget

27.        This is a matter for Executive Decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

28.        Vale of Glamorgan Members are involved in discussions regarding the installation of permanent VAS and are advised in advance of the proposed location of mobile VAS within their ward.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

29.        Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

30.        None.

Contact Officer

Paul Gay - Group Engineer (Highway Projects and Traffic Management)

Tel. No. 02920 673086


Officers Consulted

Operational Manager Legal Services

Operational Manager Planning and Transportation Policy

Accountant, Building and Visible Services


Responsible Officer:

Rob Quick, Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration.