How do Variable Message Signs Work?

14 Jan 2021 Traffic Control

Variable message signs are becoming an increasingly popular option for minimizing traffic and congestion on our roadways. If you are unsure about how variable message signs work and whether or not you should use them for your upcoming construction project, the team from Valley Traffic Systems would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Learn all about the benefits of traffic message boards.

What are Variable Message Signs?

A variable message sign, also known as a dynamic message sign, is a type of digital road sign that is used to warn drivers about specific events, such as ongoing construction and real-time traffic conditions. Variable message signs can be used temporarily for construction zones or can be permanently installed along major roadways. Variable message signs can also be used to display messaging for provincewide or nationwide campaigns and for amber alerts.

How Variable Message Signs Work

In most cases, variable message signs are linked to a manned control centre through a radio signal or local network link. Messages can be updated through the command centre to include real-time information about accidents, time delays, construction work, etc., allowing drivers to adjust their speed, change lanes, or divert to a different route. By providing drivers with real-time information, variable message signs work to assist drivers in selecting the best routes for avoiding congestion on the way to their destinations.

Since variable message signs can only display up to three lines of information at a time, these signs are designed to scroll through longer messages. Generally, each three-line section of a message will appear on the screen for five seconds before switching to the next section of the message. Longer messages are run on an infinite loop to give drivers plenty of time to read all of the information.

Benefits of Variable Message Signs

Variable message signs can be extremely beneficial for use in construction zones and on busy highways, as they are specifically designed to provide drivers with information about congestion, upcoming incidents, and unexpected delays. By providing information about delays well in advance, drivers can easily divert to different routes, lowering their overall stress about reaching their destinations on time.

If you would like to learn more about how variable message signs work, or if you are interested in renting one of their message boards for your construction site, please contact Valley Traffic Systems at the location nearest you or by filling out a contact form on their website.