Toronto

New Ontario highway signs aim to show, not tell

Ontario is erecting a series of new full-colour electronic highway signs to not only replace older ones, but replace any wording on the province's highway signs.

Variable Message Signs will eliminate reading, rely more on symbols

The new highway signs will feature messages in multiple colours and can display messages that change according to traffic conditions. (MTO)

Ontario is erecting a series of new full-colour electronic highway signs to not only replace older ones but replace any wording on the province's highway signs.

The Ministry of Transportation unveiled the new Variable Message Signs on Tuesday, though about 20 of the signs are already up around the Greater Toronto Area. Another 50 will be installed as old signs reach the end of their lifecycles.

The benefit of the new signs is that they can adjust based on traffic conditions, weather, seasons and reflect real-time information. For example, the signs can display moose warnings in northern Ontario when the animals are more likely to roam onto highways. In Toronto, motorists are more likely to see congestion warnings.
A few examples of new Ontario road signs. (Ministry of Transportation)

After some time, the province plans to eliminate all text from the signs. The road signs will instead display only images as drivers become familiar with new symbols.

The news signs were built by Vaughan-based Ledstar, employing 42 people to manufacture the signs.