Review of White on Brown Tourism Road Signs in London
White-on-brown signs, particularly in heavily built up areas, are often a contentious issue and we were asked by the London Development Agency to review existing tourism signposting policy guidance in the capital and how it was used by local authorities and attractions, with a view to updating it where necessary.
Telephone interviews were conducted with highways officers from all 33 boroughs as well as with a number of local authority tourism officers. This allowed us to determine levels of knowledge of policies and processes, frequency of brown-on-white sign applications and any concerns or problems. 20 attractions were also asked for their experiences and to highlight how the process could be improved from their point of view.
The research highlighted that applications for white on brown signs are made very rarely, but as a result knowledge of the policy and procedures is low, leading to confusion and a perception that decision making is inconsistent and sometimes unfair.
We wrote a policy guidance document which summarised how policy should be interpreted and drew up specific criteria for how a white-on-brown sign application should be assessed, and the stages in the assessment procedure. Worked examples highlighted how this might be applied in different cases.
The document has been distributed to all London Boroughs and is now the most current source of information on tourist traffic signposting on local roads in London.