Is Outdoor Digital Signage the Answer to the Poor State of Road Signs?

Is Outdoor Digital Signage the Answer to the Poor State of Road Signs

Smashed, broken and rusting road signs are a headache for local authorities. The upkeep is a cost drain, while complaints from local residents add to the pressure local authorities find themselves under to tackle the problem. What's the answer? Outdoor digital signage is the future of road signage… Here's why!

The immediate problem of damaged road signs is the potential danger they cause to road users, especially on high speed carriageways and country lanes. Poorly maintained roadside signage can, and has, led to fatal accidents on highways around the world.

Residential communities accuse local authorities of putting lives at risk by neglecting damaged road signs, often complaining for months, sometimes years, to get signage fixed or replaced. Meanwhile, local government officials blame a lack of funds, time and resources to tackle the problem.

Smashed, broken and rusting road signs are unsightly too, with residential communities describing damaged information boards as 'embarrassing'. In 2016, residents in the village of Tillside, Northumberland in the UK claimed that the poor state of road signs[1] in the area left the picturesque landscape looking 'scruffy' and like a 'Third World' country.

Outdoor Digital Signage at the Roadside

Outdoor Digital Signage at the Roadside
'Typical road signs are often the subject of complaints from residents.'

Communities clearly care about the upkeep of roadside signage, and local authorities need a cost-effective, low-maintenance solution to ease the strain on resources and appease complaining residents.

Outdoor digital signage strikes the right balance, providing a cost-effective, low-maintenance solution for local authorities, and an aesthetically pleasing appearance for residential communities embarrassed by the poor state of traditional road signs.

Equally, digital signage designed for the outdoors is much more durable than traditional road signage. It's less likely to suffer damage and become a hazard to road users. Meanwhile, where your typical road sign succumbs to weather damage, you can house outdoor digital signage systems in weatherproof enclosures that last for decades.

Outdoor Digital Signage Enclosures Cut Road Sign Costs for Local Authorities

Road signs can be costly to repair
'Road signs can be costly to repair.'

According to All Star Business Solutions[2], local authorities in the UK can spend up to £370,000 per year on road signage upkeep. Dornbos Sign[3] says that a 'typical' road sign should last seven years, but their lifespan is cut short by damage, vandalism or as a consequence of weather conditions. Many signs don't meet their life expectancy!

With that in mind, outdoor digital signage enclosures can last for up to a decade or more, protecting screens used to display warning signs, speed limits and more. Putting this into context, if a local authority is spending £370,000 per year on road signage upkeep over a period of 10 years, that's £3.7 million of taxpayer money used to fund signage maintenance!

Outdoor digital signage represents a better use of taxpayer money, which is why many local authorities are opting to invest in digital road signs to cut upkeep costs. Recently, the city of Coventry in the UK spent £1 million to install outdoor digital signage[4] on a busy ring road, in a bid to reduce the amount of money spent on repairing or replacing road signs.

While spending £1 million on digital signage systems seems like an excessive investment initially, bear in mind that this is £1 million for a potential 10-year lifespan compared to the estimated £3.7 million just one local authority is likely to spend on road sign repair or replacement over the next decade.

Digital signage at the roadside represents exceptional value for money and is a financially viable option for local authorities desperate to cut costs amid budget cuts. Equally, when protected by an enclosure, digital road signs require far less maintenance, easing the strain on resources and further reducing upkeep costs.

Outdoor Digital Signage is the Evolution of Road Signs

Typical road signs suffer from an image problem. When they're damaged, rusting and in a state of disrepair, they look horrendous. Road signs are a source of clutter too… Did you know? A seven mile stretch of the B3006 highway in Hampshire, UK has a staggering 335 signs! Imagine the upkeep costs for these signs on this single stretch of road.

In contrast, outdoor digital signage can bring road signs into the 21st Century, with modern, sleek systems that make road signage 'sexier', while one digital screen can do the work of three standard road signs, displaying speed limits, no U-Turn signs and even deer crossing signs.

Digital signage can do something that your typical road sign can't... deliver real-time traffic information to drivers - relaying data on city centre car parking spaces, details of traffic congestion and more.

Ultimately, outdoor digital signage offers local authorities worldwide a far more cost-effective, low-maintenance road sign solution. Equally, digital signage offers greater flexibility and is a much more efficient communication channel for drivers.

To discuss digital road sign solutions, talk to Armagard today. Call +44 (0)121 608 7226 or email

Article sources:

  1. Northumberland Gazette
  2. All Star Business Solutions
  3. Dornbos Signs
  4. Coventry Evening Telegraph

This post was written by Daniel Waldron

Daniel Waldron

A dedicated writer for 15 years, Daniel joined Armagard in 2013. Daniel assists in the production of web copy, articles, blogs, press releases and white papers, for use by Armagard's marketing team. Daniel Waldron