The main cause of accidents is distraction, that is the shift of attention from safety rules to other issues. It goes without saying that a confusing sign diverts the attention. The large number of signals needed to regulate the circulation in a metropolitan area also makes it difficult to intervene promptly to remedy the damage caused by use and by acts of vandalism , which are becoming more widespread. A constant and timely monitoring by the municipal police forces of such a wide road sign system, however, is virtually impossible. The latest Eurotest - Quality Safety Mobility realized in June and July 2008 under the aegis of the International Automobile Federation ( FIA ), Automobile Club of Italy (ACI) and other 17 Automobile Clubs of Europe on a sample of 16,000 drivers showed that “61 % of motorists consider the plethora of signals and their bad location the most important cause of confusion” and stresses that “ the signs system of European roads provide too much information thus requiring the driver to over- processing them when there is very little time to decide what to do”. In particular, the final report states “ the wrong placement of direction signal has been considered a serious problem, especially in Italy and in Spain, where more than 50 % of the respondents shared this opinion”. On the contrary, German and Austrian motorists have mainly denounced the excessive presence of direction signs. More than two-thirds of respondents claimed they felt confused rather than well-advised on the signs . The proliferation of road signs is the consequence of the maintenance of vehicular traffic in an area where multiple functions are concentrated in a limited space. It is clear that the utopian elimination of vehicles from the historic districts would make 70% of the signs disappear. But there are also innovative and experimental solutions such as the Shared Space, the new frontier of European mobility. The abolition of regulations and restrictions to empower road users that fascinates the European Union has decided to allocate funds for new experimental projects in the wake of the success achieved in the Netherlands and Germany.
Reduce the number of signs
The project arises from the desire to reduce the overall number of road signs and, eventually, to eliminate them completely in some circumstances. Wherever possible, it is necessary to experiment a less invasive ground sign system or provide for areas totally devoid of signs and regulated by a prohibited or controlled access system. A good way to eliminate no parking zone signs could be the overthrow of all “no parking” axioms with “parking permitted” signs thus prohibiting the parking all over the historical center except for the areas shown by the signs.
The project is divided into three phases:
1) Reduction of redundant, repetitive or unnecessary signs in compliance with the rules of the road.
2) Replacement of decayed, soiled or faded signs
3) Reduction, in compliance with current standard laws, of the size of signs (the town center speed limit is much lower than outside of the city walls, therefore the signs perception is greater ) .
4) Displacement of road signs that interfere with architectural elements and perspective views.
5) Re-designing of both wall and ground supports and replacement with new, more functional, less invasive and more aesthetically valid hooks.
URBAN SCENOGRAPHY & SUSTAINABILITY