3M has announced the results of a survey – believed to be the first of its kind – canvassing industry opinions of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) 2016.

The science-based technology company found that opinions of the new document differ significantly depending on how frequently a person uses it, as well as their occupation.

For example, a total of 84 per cent of respondents said they preferred the old format, but among those who only used it monthly, this figure dropped to 57 per cent, while 93 per cent of sign designers preferred the old layout.

In another multiple-choice question, 47 per cent of respondents said navigating TSRGD 2016 was “very difficult”, compared to 35, 15 and three per cent who chose “difficult”, “OK” and “easy”, respectively. All those who chose “easy” used the document daily.

Many of the questions focused on specific amendments incorporated into the new regulations. In several cases, a large majority of respondents said they saw a future need for the amendment in question, even if they had not used it yet.

Respondents were also invited to give their own ideas about how to improve the TSRGD 2016. Suggestions ranged from altering the document’s orientation to creating an online version and clarifying certain points.

In all, the survey included 30 multiple-choice questions and additional written-answer questions, which 3M compiled following consultations with industry peers.

A total of 64 people completed the questionnaire, ranging from scheme and sign designers to road safety engineers and technicians.

3M will now discuss the findings with the Department for Transport (DfT), which authored the TSRGD 2016.

3M technical specialist Andy Fish, who compiled the survey and analysed the results, said: “The TSRGD 2016 marked a big change for the industry when it came into force two years ago. It has been fascinating to see what those involved in sign specification and design think of it now that they have had a chance to get used to the guidance and use the new document.

“In particular, it is interesting to note the different perceptions held by those who use the document frequently and those who don’t, as well as how professionals with different roles view the new layout.

“In general terms, it seems that there are indeed some concerns about the document’s ease of use, but many value the substantive changes made to the regulations themselves. We hope these findings will be useful to the DfT.”