How Much Is Spent On Signage in the UK

21 September


Initially announced in 2013, the UK government and associated bodies have planned to spend over fifteen billion pounds over the next five years to improve, repair, and upgrade infrastructure of roads.

The effect of these new road projects, which includes easing congestion and creating further road links, are said to last 40 years.

Signage is a small but important aspect of any road network, but how much out of this total budget is going to be spent on it in the UK?

Current Signage

Signage on the road networks of the UK are in compliance with the European standards, with the exception of some direction signages that do not provide European route numbers. These signs fall into the categories of being instructional, warning, or informative. Instructional signs are always circular, warning signs are triangular in shape, and informative signs are either square or rectangular in shape. The informative signs along motorways have a blue background with white text on it. For secondary roads, the signages use a white background with black text on it. Primary routes are shown with a green colour while distance and directional signs are shown with a yellow coloured text. The distances are measured and shown in yards or miles while the speed is mentioned in miles per hour.

Cost of Signage

The average cost of erecting a warning sign on a new post is between £150 and £500, but is dependent on the size of the sign. Directional signs on new posts cost anywhere between £200 and £1000 which also depends on their sizes. Signs that need to be externally illuminated will cost an additional £500 to £1,000 each to fund the cost of the electrical connection.

Nameplates for village and towns on a new post can cost up to £350. Road safety messages that have to be added to these posts will cost an additional £150.

The real cost of new road signs for an entire local council would differ depending on the size of the council and the roads under its care. The average costs ranges wildly from £16,000 to £370,000 pounds.

The UKMA estimates that signs can cost anywhere from £82 to £320 for one sign (although this was a 2006 estimate, this has not wavered much even after inflation in the later years with council figures matching the UKMA figures approximately or being even lower).

Cost of signage also varies by city or town. For example, in London City, an illuminated sign would cost £808 on an average and a sign for Reading would cost £822 on average.

To put this in real terms, see below the cost of signage for an entire highway;

The Cirencester highway is approximately half a mile long. It has around seventy-one road signs which in theory cost the Gloucestershire council a total of £8500 to erect. This translates to each sign costing about £120.  

In the year 2003, it was reported that just driver location signs cost a total of a whopping £5.9 million which amounted to 16,000 signs, covering almost 80% of the total motorway network in the UK.

The future of signage

Considering that the spend on signage can be so high, how much money will be earmarked for signage for this new network? It is clearly an important part of the UK’s road network especially for safety and guidance so hopefully these future plans have incorporated enough spend on signage to keep the level of signage within the UK as high as it is now.

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