As a driver, you have probably seen a sign with lights that flash messages on it. These are called Variable Message Signs (VMS), and they are used to give drivers information about road conditions, traffic hazards, congestion, and closures.

There are several common applications for variable message signs, which we’ve listed below.

Traffic Control

VMS can be used to communicate temporary traffic control information. This includes lane closures, detour routes, traffic impacts due to special events, and other situations affecting the flow of traffic.

VMS can be used as an alternative to traffic lights in low-traffic areas. Instead of having a dedicated light for each lane, a single VMS can be used to display instructions and turn arrows.

Traveler Information

Many VMS systems are also used to display travel times for upcoming intersections or interchanges in order to inform motorists about their expected arrival time at their destination. By providing this type of information, VMS helps drivers make informed decisions about how they should travel between two points within a network of roads or highways based on current conditions along those routes.

Amber Alerts

Amber Alerts are a public safety alert system that is used to notify the public when a child has been abducted. The United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have all implemented Amber Alerts as part of their road safety initiatives.

Some VMS systems can be configured to support amber alert systems that are designed to notify drivers about missing children via text messages sent directly from the VMS system.

Public Service Communications

The two categories of public service communications (PSCs) are traffic management and public safety. Traffic regulation PSCs are utilized to manage traffic conditions and inform drivers of potential road hazards.

Public security PSCs assist emergency responders in communicating with their communities during a crisis. The primary purpose of PSCs is to provide drivers with vital information in a clear and concise manner before they realize they need it.

Variable Speed Limits

Variable speed limits are an easy way to reduce traffic congestion by controlling the flow of vehicles onto a highway. Various speeds are indicated by a series of signs based on current conditions. Depending on the needs of the road, the signs may be manually operated or automated, but they all function to inform drivers of the speed limit at all times.

When traffic is heavy, it can be challenging for drivers to maintain their speed when merging onto or exiting a highway. This results in bottlenecks that exacerbate traffic congestion as vehicles slow and then speed up again. It also makes it difficult for motorists attempting to enter or exit a highway during rush hour or special events such as parades or sporting events.

Variable message signs assist in resolving this problem by displaying different speed limits to drivers depending on whether or not the roadway is congested. For example, if there are no vehicles in front of a driver, they can safely increase their speed without causing accidents.

Emergency Response Support and Evacuation

Variable message signs are used in emergency response and evacuation. The signs are used to inform people of danger, such as a hurricane, tornado, or flood. In addition, the signs will show the location of shelters and other important information.

Variable message signs can also be used to direct people to the nearest hospital, police station, or fire station during an emergency situation. When a VMS is used during an emergency response or evacuation, it can provide key information to the public about what is happening in their area and what they should do next.

For example, if there has been a natural disaster like a tornado or flood that is affecting the area, the VMS can tell people how far away the storm is and whether or not it is safe for them to stay home or if it’s time for them to evacuate their homes.

Finding a Reputable Sign Manufacturer for Municipal, Highway, Construction, and Commercial Uses

Variable message signs are used for many purposes, and in some cases, these messages will come from a local government or highway department. In other cases, they will come from a third-party operator that specializes in creating custom messages for specific situations. Because of the wide array of uses for variable message signs, it’s important to find a reputable sign manufacturer when looking for these products.

One such company is Worksafe Traffic Control Industries, Inc. They offer a 7-day turnaround on orders, are competitive as a business and government contractor, provide the highest quality in every order, all of their products are MUTCD-compliant, and are a women-owned business.

Variable Message Signs Helps Keep Everyone Safe

Variable message signs are very helpful in keeping drivers are the public safe. They are heavily sourced throughout the Northeastern United States, specifically in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts currently.