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Evaluation of techniques to improve the legibility of bilingual Variable Message Signs

Jamson, S.L. (2004) Evaluation of techniques to improve the legibility of bilingual Variable Message Signs. Advances in Transportation Studies, IV. pp. 71-88.

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This study evaluated a number of techniques that could be employed to reduce the amount of time drivers spend searching and reading bilingual signs. Using a tachistoscope, monolingual and Welsh bilingual participants were presented with various configurations of bilingual signing. The amount of information was varied (i.e. the number of lines) and a number of language-differentiation techniques were implemented. These techniques attempted to aid the perception and recognition of the relevant language and relied either on manipulating the position of the two languages, or by using demarcation (colour, font etc.). With regards to the amount of information presented, it was found that the reading response time for a single line of relevant text within a two-line bilingual sign was not significantly different to the reading response time for a one-line monolingual sign. Thus, participants were able to extract the relevant language from the bilingual sign with no decrement in performance. However, reading response time for a message of two lines of relevant text in a four-line bilingual was significantly longer than the reading response time for a two-line monolingual sign. Thus the amount of information (even if irrelevant) impacted on their performance. With regards to the positioning techniques, grouping the lines by language resulted in a decreased reading response time compared to when the text was grouped by content. In addition, positioning the user’s dominant language at the top of the sign improved reading times for both one and two-line messages on bilingual signs. All the demarcation techniques were successful in reducing reading times on four-line bilingual signs, and it was found that having established a particular pattern of presentation, an unexpected change significantly increased reading time.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright held by Arcane Editrice. Uploaded with permission.
Keywords: Bilingual; Variable Message Signs; Reading time; Traffic safety
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > Institute for Transport Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Adrian May
Date Deposited: 23 May 2007
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2016 08:12
Published Version: http://host.uniroma3.it/riviste/ats/
Status: Published
Publisher: Arcane Editrice
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2513

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