Naming ring roads

Belt, circle, peripheral, ring or round way, which word is the best choice?

Ring roads provide an effective structure for efficient traffic flow and the circle is also an effective structure for navigation. Being able to communicate the circularity of the ring road by name and icon on signs, will improve navigation in cities.

The ring concept

A ring road is a large roundabout. Drivers perfectly understand the concept of a ring. The problems arise when the driver does not understand that the road he is on, is circular.
Tourists get lost in Amsterdam because they don’t notice that its famous canals are visually straight but physically all are concentric circles. Having this knowledge reduces the chance of getting lost substantially and enables you to navigate without a map.
ring road, signposting, navigation, high way traffic, city centre Walking along an Amsterdam canal you see a straight canal. However, the Amsterdam canals form concentric rings. In case you don’t notice concentricity you will get lost.
The same applies to ring roads. They look like a straight line but they go round in a circle. So it is important that the concept of the ring be flagged up with a word together with  some kind of icon that is recognised by the driver to represent the ring.So important is this concept to understanding, that, to improve navigation, smart designers even impose ringness on structures that physically are ringless.ring road, signposting, navigation, high way traffic, shopping mall Smart design: Making the non-circular physical structure of a furniture shop comprehensible by presenting the chaos as a ring.

Source: Ikea.
To top.

Naming the ring road

Several terms are in use for ring roads.
Codes like M60 (UK, Manchester) and A10 (Netherlands, Amsterdam) are convenient for computers and bureaucrats.
Sadly, human eyes and brains are not designed to process numbers and numbers do not enhance orientation because there is no relationship between the code and the concept of the ring.
ring road, signposting, navigation, high way traffic, naming high ways
Ringness, not indicated, either in words or graphically.
ring road traffic sign Ringness, not indicated, either in words or graphically.
The old situation: confusing
ring road traffic signRingness, indicated graphically. Experimental design.
One could establish this relationship by using multiples of ten as a code for ring roads with the zero in the number indicating the road is a ring.If this were accepted, in practice drivers and strangers would have to learn to associate this code with the fact that the road is a ring road.
The word periphery (French: Boulevard Périphérique) is closer to representing the circularity of a ring road than a code. Unfortunately it could be interpreted as ring shaped area around a centre. As a result, inexperienced car drivers are liable to follow the sign periphery to get out of town.
ring road, signposting, navigation, high way traffic, paris, france This might be understood as:
To the periphery
It means:
This is the periphery.
Closer to ringness is the concept of belt. In the US car drivers understand belt way in this context. French and Italians will be confused. French and Italian have also a word that is only understood in those languages (Italian: Grande Raccorde Anulare). Dutch and Germans might conclude that an Anulare is a road that has been canceled (Dutch: annuleren, German: annulieren). These languages in their turn can confuse foreigners by using the word Gürtel (Vienna) and gordel (Dutch). Gordel is not used on signs in Holland but has the same meaning and would be understood.
More or less that same applies for loop and orbital. ring road, signposting, navigation, high way traffic Donut for decoration?
Donut to indicate ring?
All these words clearly include the concept of ringness but the meaning is not primarily related to traffic and the words are not understood by drivers not belonging to a specific language group. That is a pity because they are the ones that should know they are on a ring road in the first place.
Ring road
These language disadvantages apply less for the word ring. This word has no specific meaning. English, German and Dutch speaking drivers will understand the concept. The word is short and does not take much space.
The best choice would be circle, which is understood in most languages. It is used by London underground and Singapore public transport which both having a Circle Line.
For navigating in cities on rings there are more concepts than only ringness such as: direction (clockwise and anti clockwise), naming and listing exits, you are here and concentricity when there are more ring roads.Dynamics of traffic and disturbances complicates communication even more. When ringness is not verbalised correctly and not even has an appropriate icon, it is unlikely that these more complex concepts are communicated in a human efficient way.traffic sign ring road Downtown Circulator in Pawtucket, best term selected.
Ring road terms

To top.

More applied cognitive psychology for public design:

Public infowayfinding signing

Public infohistory futur train and public transport ticket vending machines

Public infopublic transport space structure wayfinding signposting

Public infodesign company logo icon pictogram

Public infodesign company logo aegon icon pictogram

Public infosignposting wayfinding signing arrows

Public infopublic transport space structure wayfinding signposting

Public infopublic transport space structure wayfinding signposting

Public infowayfinding signposting signing

Public info public transporttrain ticket vending machines

Public info public transportNaming public transport lines for passengers

Public info public transportpublic transport information on dynamic panels

Public info public transport ovchipuser experience questionaire research

Public info road trafficTom Tom infographics car navigation

Public info road trafficother train accidents level crossings

Public info road trafficNaming ring roads

Public info road trafficcar park indicators

Public info road trafficwrong way driving traffic signs

Public info waterwaypictogram muster station assemply point IMO ferry signing

Public infobewegwijzering borden icons pictogrammen verdwalen

Public infocovid-19, corona

Public infoleren verkeersborden toekomst rijexamen psychologie

Public info public transportcompany identity en marketing versus noodzakelijke reizigers informatie

Public info public transportmarketing company identity

Public info public transport

Public info public transportdelay announcement departure public transport dynamic indicator

Public info public transportpublic transport dynamic indicators history future

Public info public transportpublic transport dynamic indicators history future

Public info public transporticonen pictogram beelden op verkoopautomaten

Public info public transportopenbaar vervoer vertrektijden dynamische panelen vertraging verstoring

Public info public transport ovchipov-chipkaart in-checken out-checken

Public info public transport ovchipov-chipkaart check-out check-in

Public info road traffictom tom navigatie auto planning

Public info road trafficverkeer vrachtwagen tachograaf rijtijden

Public info road trafficleren verkeersborden toekomst rijexamen psychologie

Public info waterwayvaarweg verkeersborden aanleggen watersport

Toekomst geldparkeren betalen elektronisch toekomst parkeerautomaat road traffic

To top.

More applied cognitive psychology for design, other than public


x Invoer Morsesleutel Toekomst        multidimensionaal graphic   

Public design

 NS treinkaart automaat b100 betalen openbaar vervoer NS treinkaart automaat b8060 betalen openbaar vervoer  IMO international maritime organisation muster station sign plattegrond IKEA water vaar verkeersbord maximaal hoogte water vaar verkeersbord maximaal drie dik aanleggen water vaar verkeersbord maximale doorvaart hoogte 3 meter experimenteel vertrektijden bord openbaar vervoer structuur openbare ruimten experimenteel vertrektijden bord openbaar vervoer atb etcs snelheidsbeheersing aandacht trekken water vaar verkeersbord verboden aanleggen water vaar verkeersbord maximale hoogte water vaar verkeersbord verboden 3 dik aanleggen met meer schepen trein vertrektijd perron NS CTA OV openbaar vervoer betalen ov-chipkaart toekomst grafische bestemmingen lijst metro ondergrondse lijn  structuur hoefijzer winkelcentrum 

Icon/sign design

  3-d, perspectief,drie-dimensionaal verkeersbord toekomst parkeerverbod verkeersbord toekomst verboden inhalen verkeersbord toekomst maximum snelheid bepaalde 


helderheid voor betrouwbaarheid hersenen limgisch systeem en cortex aandacht trekken en aandacht sturen gebruik van de kleuren rood oranje en geel gevoeligheid van het oog voor kleuren humunculus mensmetafoor een mens in de zaadcel 

Toekomst volgens psychologie


Leren rekenen

leren rekenen basisschool MAB rekenblokken toekomst onderwijs leren lezen leren rekenen supermarkt leren rekenen basisschool tellen op de vingers aftellen leren rekenen vleksom puntsom rekenonderwijs basisschool tientallig stelsel tellen op de vingers rekenonderwijs basisschool computer diagnostiek remedial teaching graphics for quantitative data next generation 

Hogesnelheidstrein (ERMTS)

  ERMTS hoge snelheidstrein hsl ATB experimenteel interface voor machinist ERMTS high speed train control driver mmi ERMTS hoge snelheidstrein hsl ATB experimenteel interface voor achinist ERMTS hoge snelheidstrein hsl ATB experimenteel interface voor achinist 

Wetenschappelijke verantwoording


To top.

Search in


cognitive psychology,  interface design, mmi, usability, web page design

+31 (653) 739 750
Parkstraat 19
3581 PB Utrecht
Chamber of commerce number: 39057871, Utrecht.
To top.