Evaluation of Road Signs conformity for improving road safety in urban Areas: a Case Study in Guimarães, Portugal

<p></p><p>Abstract Road safety depends on the existence of an adequate network of signs and an effective management for proper conservation. Vertical traffic signs will only be effectively functional if they still provide adequate visibility and legibility. This paper presents a methodology to evaluate the level of conformity of traffic signs, in order to identify where to improve their functionality. The methodology is based on a multicriteria analysis, using two criteria and eight subcriteria that are related with signs physical and operational attributes. Their visibility was evaluated through a spatial analysis in a geographical information system, taking into account the braking and stopping distances. The intervention level is defined by four levels related with the necessity and urgency in restoring signs functionality. This methodology was applied in the city of Guimarães, Portugal. The results showed the usefulness of the methodology and revealed that more than half of the analyzed signs not fully complied with the norms, mainly due to the compactness of the urban structure e the presence of vegetation in streets. Since the braking and stopping distances of many signs are not adequate, it can be concluded that road users are exposed to risks and their safety can be threated.</p><p></p>