Decision Session – Executive Member for Transport


21 September 2021

Report of the Director of Transport, Environment and Planning


2021/22 Speed Management Programme:

SM04/21 - SID Trial Update




1.        This report updates the Executive Member on the results of a SID (Speed Indicator Device) Trial which was approved in 2019.  


2.        The Executive Member is asked to make a decision on whether to include SID signs as an alternative to standard Speed VAS (Vehicle Activated Sign) in the Council’s VAS Policy (ANNEX C).



3.        The Executive Member is asked to:

Approve Option 2: change the VAS Policy to include Speed Indicator Devices as an alternative sign, which provide feedback to drivers as follows:


·        A vehicle’s speed and thank you message for vehicles travelling at or below the posted speed limit.


·        The speed limit roundel and a slow down message for vehicles exceeding the speed limit.


All VAS/SID sites must still meet the criteria established in the existing policy. 


The change to the policy would only be applied to new sites or existing sites where replacement is required due to failure, unless external funding is available.



Reason: To provide an alternative sign type at VAS sites as requested by many Ward and Parish Councillors.




4.   In 2019 following requests from Parish Councils and Ward Members the Executive Member for Transport approved the trial of two SID Signs as part of the speed management programme.


5.   The approved trial locations were York Road in Strensall and Stockton Lane in Heworth Without shown in Annexes A & B. The signs were installed in October 2019.


6.   The sign type approved for the trial was based on a recommendation from CYC Transport officers following a review of the SID signs currently available on the market. The signs chosen for the review show a vehicle’s actual speed + Thank You message (in green) for vehicle speeds up to and including the speed limit, as shown in Display 1. For vehicles travelling over the speed limit they display the speed roundel and Slow Down message (amber), as shown in Display 2.

Display 1 (5-30mph)


White Vehicle Speed

Green Thank You


Display 2 (31-99mph)


White/Red Speed Limit Roundel

Amber Slow Down








Trial Criteria


7.        The previous report set out a success criteria for the trial as a reduction in 85th percentile vehicle speeds of 2mph after 3 months.



Trial Results


8.        Data was gathered using the standard Speed Detection Radar (SDR) survey method before the signs were installed. The installed signs have an integrated data logger which continuously gathers data, overwriting the older data after 3 months. At time of install the plan was to download the data after 6 months to allow us to review the longer term impact of the signs.


9.        In April 2020 technical problems meant we were unable to collect the data as planned. SWARCO, the sign manufacturer, were contacted but due to the Covid-19 rules were unable to attend site at the time.


10.    Data was collected from the signs in October 2020. At this point it was discovered that the Stockton Lane sign had stopped recording data due to a fault at the end of July, but both signs had three months of data for analysis. The before and after data for each site is presented below:


Stockton Lane



mean speed

85th percentile speed






Apr - Jul 20*






York Rd, Strensall



mean speed

85th percentile speed






Aug-Oct 20








*data was collected during lockdown when vehicle numbers and speeds may not have been representative of “normal” conditions.




11.    Consultation has taken place with Officers at CYC responsible for speed management through the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership. North Yorkshire Police, as SMP partners, have also been consulted.


12.     Responses:


CYC Road Safety: Having looked at the SID data the reduction in speed is positive and I am in agreement that we update the VAS policy to include the signs.”


North Yorkshire Police: the results appear to speak for themselves and the devices appear to be effective.” 




13.    The SID signs are slightly more expensive than a standard VAS sign due to the additional LED requirements and the increased size of the sign. A cost comparison is shown below based on supply of a mains powered sign on an existing post with a 6 year warranty and are excluding VAT.





Standard Speed VAS








A detailed illustrative cost with prices for solar options and remote access is provided in Annex D.





14.    Option 1: Retain the existing VAS Policy and do not allow SID to be provided at VAS sites in York.


Option 2: Change the VAS Policy to include Speed Indicator Devices, as an alternative sign, which provide feedback to drivers as follows:


·        A vehicles speed and thank you message for vehicles travelling at or below the posted speed limit.


·        The speed limit roundel and a slow down message for vehicles exceeding the speed limit.


All VAS/SID sites must still meet the criteria established in the existing policy.  


The change to the policy would only be applied to new sites or existing sites where replacement is required due to failure, unless external funding is available.




15.    The trial signs have both demonstrated that even after a prolonged period they are effective in reducing speeds. Although the Stockton Lane site has not met the criteria set out in the March 2019 report, the higher speed readings are considered to be due to the lower traffic flow and higher vehicle speeds during the first months on the pandemic.


16.    Average long term speed reductions for standard VAS have been tracked in York and during the last review were recorded as a 1.8mph reduction in mean speeds and a 2.7mph reduction in 85th percentile speeds. The trial results are in excess of these reductions albeit from a much smaller sample of sites. This again gives us confidence that the SID can continue to reduce speeds over a longer period. 


17.   The SID signs have the support of the Road Safety Team and North Yorkshire Police and have been requested at nearly all new VAS sites we have established over the last two years. Providing these as an option within the VAS Policy will allow us to provide what the community has been requesting for a number of years.


18.   The cost implications for providing these signs as an alternative solution at sites which meet the VAS criteria are not significant enough to dissuade their use especially with the continued speed reduction observed at the two trial sites.


Council Plan


19.    The recommendation relates to the following Council’s outcomes, as set out in the Council Plan 2019-2023:


Getting around sustainably: Reducing vehicle speeds in the long term helps to encourage users to choose more sustainable transport as it can help to reduce the perceived risk to cycling or walking.


Safe communities and culture for all: Long term reductions of vehicle speeds can help to reduce the severity of any accidents which may take place making the city safer. 


An open and effective council: By listening to the requests from Parish and Ward Councillors for SID signs as an option the council has been open and effective in acting on the call for change within an existing policy.





·           Financial – Cost increase at any sites which would previously have had a standard VAS installed. Cost variance is negligible within the VAS budget for CYC capital programme. Where others will fund signs the extra cost may be prohibitive, but the standard VAS is still available as a lower cost option within the policy.

·           Human Resources (HR) – There are no human resources implications.

·           Equalities - There are no equalities implications, see Equalities Impact Assessment, attached as Annex E.

·           Legal - There are no legal implications.

·           Crime and Disorder - There are no crime and disorder implications.       

·           Information Technology (IT) - There are no IT implications.

·           Property - There are no property implications.


Risk Management


21.    In compliance with the Council’s risk management strategy, the following risks associated with the recommendations in this report have been identified and described in the following points:

22.    The main risk associated with the recommendation in the report is the possibility that the availability of the SID sign as part of the VAS Policy leads to an increase in requests for VAS sites. This could lead to extra work within the Transport team.



23.   This risk is identified as Financial and Efficiency, affecting the Council’s ability to meet its financial commitments and improve efficiency and has been scored as 9 in line with the Council’s Risk Matrix.


24.    Mitigation of risk – Any requests would be reviewed and assessed through the existing speed management protocol to ensure all sites are treated in a consistent manner. Maintaining the existing VAS criteria also ensures sites are all reviewed before being established as VAS sites. 






Contact Details




Chief Officer Responsible for the report:


Ben Potter


Transport Projects

01904 553496



James Gilchrist

Director of Transport, Environment and Planning

Report Approved


10 September 2021








Wards Affected: 







For further information please contact the author of the report



Background Papers:


12 November 2015 - Decision Session – Executive Member Planning and Transport. Part 3: VEHICLE ACTIVATED SIGNS REVIEW


14 March 2019 Decision Session – Executive Member of Transport and Planning - Vehicle Activated Speed Indicator Device Trial





Annex A – VAS Site, York Road, Strensall Location Plan


Annex B – VAS Site, Stockton Lane Location Plan


Annex C – CYC VAS Policy 2015


Annex D – Illustrative Prices


Annex E – Equalities Impact Assessment


List of Abbreviations Used in this Report


CYC – City of York Council

SDR – Speed Detection Radar

SID - Speed Indicator Device

VAS – Vehicle Activated Sign