MT 112/111

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Automatic emergency traffic signs: M5 Birmingham-Bristol experiment

Date range1962-1971
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 112


This file covers what is probably the earliest foray into electronic message signs on UK motorways, which were installed on the M5 in Worcestershire between 1962 and 1964. The trial signs had four backlit messages that could be switched on in any combination, to indicate fog, accidents and so on.

The series of three files from MT 95/668 (see below) cover this issue in great detail and this file seems to be mopping up whatever correspondence remains. Its longer time period means it contains much of the follow-up from the experiment. Nonetheless this remains extremely dull stuff - correspondence, minutes of meetings and little of real value.

Contents of note

  • One preliminary diagram of the warning signs is in the envelope at the back of the file labelled "maps". (This is the only thing in there; it doesn't contain any maps.)
  • News article, including photograph, of a system designed and pitched to the Ministry by a private company, which was erected at Brands Hatch for its launch. It had three generic warning signs on rotating cylinders and altogether looked very cumbersome.

Greater detail on everything here is found in the series of files on this topic in the series Category:Series MT 95.

Links to other files

MT 95/668 Traffic signals: emergency warning signs and signals (1962-1964)
MT 95/669 Traffic signals: emergency warning signs and signals (1962-1964)
MT 95/670 Traffic signals: emergency warning signs and signals (1962-1964)
MT 95/856 Motorway signalling: emergency light signals; M4 Motorway traffic supervisory system on elevated section (1964)
MT 126/53 'Secret' traffic signs (signs illuminated only during periods of use): policy on use (1964-1973)

People with camera copies

None known.