A ULEZ-style TfL sign for a 'Project Detroit' sparked confusion in Watford.

Motorists driving into town in Hempstead Road noticed an unusual logo in place under a normal traffic sign by the turning for Grove Mill Lane.

The sign, which appears to be a defaced Transport for London (TfL) LEZ/ULEZ warning, is nowhere near the Greater London boundary. Inside the circle, which would usually say 'LEZ' with 'ULEZ' underneath, instead it says 'Project Detroit'.

Stephen Danzig, who shared a photo of the sign, said he first saw it on Saturday or Sunday (January 6/7) and could not understand what it meant, having never heard the name.

“I thought ‘that doesn’t look right to be in Watford’,” he said. “So, I took a photo to see what people thought.

“I don’t really know what it was.”

Watford Observer: The ‘Project Detroit’ sign in Hempstead Road.The ‘Project Detroit’ sign in Hempstead Road. (Image: Stephen Danzig)

On returning to the spot this afternoon (January 10), he discovered that the sign had been removed.

A Freedom of Information request response from TfL shown on its website refers to a project to develop “a new core technology platform for road user charging to replace the currently outsourced system for which the contract expires in 2026”.

This would apparently replicate the existing charging system to support the Congestion Charge, ULEZ and other London Road User Charging (RUC).

Watford Observer: The ‘Project Detroit’ sign was removed today.The ‘Project Detroit’ sign was removed today. (Image: Stephen Danzig)

The TfL response added: “The Detroit platform has the capability to be extended and we will be looking to build the system flexibly so that other forms of charging based on distance, vehicle type, etc., could be catered for if a decision was made in future to do so.

“TfL will own the IPR [intellectual property rights] for the platform going forward.”

In response to questions over the project at the London Assembly, London mayor Sadiq Khan has said any “pay-per-mile” schemes are “not on the table and not on my agenda”.

Watford Observer: The ‘Project Detroit’ sign in Hempstead Road.The ‘Project Detroit’ sign in Hempstead Road. (Image: Stephen Danzig)

Asked about the sign, Hertfordshire County Council confirmed that it does not permit any TfL signage relating to ULEZ in the county but is aware certain groups have erected TfL signs and fake signs.

This has included signage featuring QR codes leading to fraudulent websites in the past.

Update: A TfL spokesperson confirmed that the sign had been vandalised and it was not installed in Hempstead Road by the government body.

They added that it "has since been removed".