Conference Proceeding

Bilingual Variable Message Signs: A Study of Information Presentation and Driver Distraction

  • Samantha L Jamson (University of Leeds Leeds, U.K.)
  • H C Neil Tate (University of Leeds Leeds, U.K.)
  • A Hamish Jamson (University of Leeds Leeds, U.K.)


Research on static bilingual signs has confirmed increasedreading times compared to their monolingual counterparts; however there islittle empirical research on bilingual Variable Message Signs (VMS). Thestudy reported here evaluates the effect of various bilingual VMSconfigurations on driver behaviour and safety. The aim of the study was todetermine whether or not the visual distraction associated with bilingualVMS signs of different configurations (length, complexity) impacted ondriving performance. The results suggest that four-line bilingual VMS signscomprising 2 lines of text in each language are read by both monolingualand bilingual drivers in a manner that more closely approximates a two-linemonolingual sign. This being the case it is likely that the deployment offour-line bilingual signs on Welsh motorways is unlikely to result in asignificant reduction in safety.

How to Cite:

Jamson, S. & Tate, H. & Jamson, A., (2001) “Bilingual Variable Message Signs: A Study of Information Presentation and Driver Distraction”, Driving Assessment Conference 1(2001), 153-158. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2001 the author(s)

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Published on
15 Aug 2001
Peer Reviewed