Ring Road Sign
In this article
What is a ring road sign?
On primary routes, the ring road sign has a yellow border, a green background and an uppercase R written in the middle.
On non-primary routes, the ring road sign has a black border, a white background and an uppercase R written in the middle.
With a width of between 250mm – 650mm and a height of between 300mm – 720mm, it’s relatively small compared to other road traffic signs.
Instead of the rectangle with the letter R written, some directional maps have the word ring road written out with an arrow indicating the direction of the road. You can see this in the image below.
What type of sign is it?
It’s a rectangular information sign written on a green or white background. Informational signs provide directions on primary and non-primary routes. The sign is often combined with larger directional maps.
What does the sign mean?
The sign tells you when a road joins part of a larger road network that encircles a specific area. This could be a town, city or specific location. In some cases, the ring road will enclose the entire area, while in other cases, the road won’t.
Why do we have ring roads?
Traffic in major urban hubs can be a nightmare, especially during rush hour and busy times of the day. To ease congestion, and connect nearby satellite tows, ring roads were created to provide an alternative route around such hubs.
Criticisms of ring roads
Many of the UK’s ring roads were constructed over 50 years ago, and it’s fair to say that urban road design has improved a lot since then. In some cases the roads are seen as a bit of an eyesore, with traffic joining and leaving the carriageway at the same junction and many poorly positioned or inadequate signs.
An example is the A4053, a ring road looping around Coventry city centre.
Notable ring roads in the UK
There are a large number of ring roads across the UK road network. Some notable examples include
- London North Circular
- London South Circular
- A100 from Twoer Hill to Bricklayers Arms
- M60 in Stockport
- A4540 in Birmingham
- A6102 Greenhill, Sheffield to Deepcar
- A6181 Canal Road to Leeds Road
No, not all ring roads have signs. Some roads will form part of the larger road network but won’t be marked out. The local council is responsible for maintaining road markings and signs; unfortunately, some councils take this responsibility more seriously than others.
In the UK, ring roads consist of anything from an inner city street to large motorways. There isn’t a hard and fast rule regarding what type of road is included, and it’s one reason why it’s difficult to add a ring road sign to every road in the network
Unfortunately, many of the UK’s ring roads do not make a full circle. The road network may end if traffic is lighter due to a specific area being less populated or the landscape breaks the orbital loop.