Variable Message Signs

INTRODUCTION

The Variable Message Signs (VMS) are the electronic sign boards installed beside the roads and highways to display various directions and information. The VMS gives official information to the travelers on the roads about special events and incidents. The signs can be altered with the press of a button and the operator in the control center can display messages related to the traffic congestions, incidents, accidents, speed limits, diversions, men at work, roadwork zones, etc. The VMS is used to display special messages on festivals and events across the city.

In urban areas, it helps them to guide the drivers to find the available parking space on special days. It also helps the people in choosing alternative routes to their destinations; limit their vehicle speed, early warning about an inclement weather, etc. The VMS by Houston System is made future-proof by the use of latest technology and manufacturing techniques.

HISTORY

The very first use of the Variable Message Signs was done on the New Jersey Turnpike in the 1950s. The oldest VMS was made of neon lights and used to display messages like “REDUCE SPEED”, “SHARP TURN AHEAD” and “NO OVERTAKING”. It also displayed messages of an accident, snow, fog or construction or ongoing maintenance work few meters ahead. The old classic VMS signs were replaced by the New Jersey Authorities between 2010 and 2016 and have been replaced by the state of the art and best in quality VMS boards.

The VMS are currently placed on highways, freeways, work-in-progress zones and other congested areas with dense population. A pre-modern VMS was installed in California in 1996 with an aim to warn the traffic of fog and reduced visibility during winters and about slow or stuck traffic. Early VMS were also installed in Ontario in the 1990s and other secondary highways in north-eastern Ontario.

TYPES

The variable message signs based on their mobility are classified in two different categories.

Mobile VMS- The mobile VMS is the type of variable message signs which can be installed wherever the requirement occurs. It can be truck-mounted or towed to the place where it is needed. It is solar-powered and thus does not need an external power cable to illuminate it. As it is connected to the central control via WiFi, it can be used anywhere near the highways and even away from the cities. It is best suited when organizing and managing the traffic during festivals or big organizations.

 

Mobile vms

Static VMS- The static or fixed variable message signs are installed on the roads, highways, freeways and in the city premises. It is one of the best tools to manage and control the traffic in the region. It is connected to the central control center from where dynamic messages can be displayed independently in each and every board. The static VMS is powered by the mains and is connected to the control center by either WiFi or wired connection.

Static-VMS

FEATURES

  • The VMS is the technology of the future with instant information sharing capability.
  • The VMS is available in single, dual or multi-colored LEDs with a customizable pixel and matrix size.
  • Very bright and illuminated displays enable the drivers to see the information from far giving them ample time to readjust to the situations.
  • Automatic brightness control to maintain the contrast and brightness proportion so that it does not burn the eyes while driving.
  • Use of anti-glare lens to prevent shining of the VMS boards.
  • Stand-alone or fixed and mobile or portable units ensure they can be installed anywhere.
  • Various power supply functions like mains, battery or solar-powered devices.
  • Wired or wireless connectivity to enable it to be controlled by the central command round the clock.
  • Sealed, dust and water-resistant and weatherproof display units make them robust and durable.
  • The minimum time lag in displaying the message to the people on roads.
  • The VMS conforms to the various international and country specific standards like the TR2136, IP 67, EN-12966-1, etc.
  • Energy efficient and eco-friendly.
  • Durable, tough and robust design.
  • Relatively no maintenance required.
  • Increased flexibility with customizable units.
  • Friendly software and GUI makes it easy for the operator at the central command center to manage it and display the information rapidly.
  • Additional features like video surveillance, traffic detection, and monitoring.

These VMS can display any message on the boards as the operator in the central command center wants. It can be used to display messages like:

  • Crashes and accidents information with the current distance from the location.
  • Promotional messages by the private firms for revenue generation.
  • Construction and road works.
  • Normal or slow traffic conditions.
  • Alternate routes for various destinations in case of incident or traffic.
  • Closure of roads due to landslide or mudslides.
  • Maintenance and upgradation information.
  • Vehicle fire
  • Weather warnings
  • Speed limits
  • The distance of the notable venues from the current location.
  • Variable speed limits
  • Messages related to lane changing and overtaking

WORKING OF THE VARIABLE MESSAGE SIGNS

The VMS is installed on the roads and highways, either fixed or movable, to help the authorities communicate with the general public and inform them of various incidents. The VMS is powered by mains or solar power. It is then connected to the central command center where the operator can type a message or modify one to benefit the people.

The UI can be used to customize the pixel and matrix size and change the font style and size with ease. Every time the authorities want to display a specific message on one of the VMS, the operator can gain access to the VMS and encode the message he wants to display on the VMS. Once commanded, the information is sent over to the specific VMS over WiFi or internet connectivity and the VMS displays the message and keeps on displaying until it gets the next command.

Single commands can be sent over to the multiple VMS or each and every VMS can be commanded separately.

APPLICATION

The Variable Message Signs find varied applications presently and will have more applications in future.

  • HIGHWAYS- The VMS finds huge applications on highways and freeways where the vehicles move at relatively higher speed and with minimum interruptions. The VMS can be used to inform the people of the coming location. It can also be used to display the information about the next exit and about the accidents and incidents on the highways and ask the people to slow down or take alternative routes.
  • CITIES- VMS in cities can be used to display information on the traffic conditions within the city. It can display the accidents and available options for the people. In cities, it can be used to display warnings in case of emergency and it can also be used to make way for ambulances in case of emergency.
  • The VMS can be installed in colonies and campuses to guide the people and display other information within the premises. It is used in big military establishments and cantonments as well.

The Variable message Signs developed by Houston System is the latest technology and the User Interface developed by the in-house software team is very easy to use. Special attention is paid to make an interface which can be easily used by even a novice and the number of buttons on the screen helps the operator to customize the fonts and characters accordingly. The HouSys VMS boards are already being used in more than a dozen countries worldwide and the quality of the products speaks for themselves.

The VMS developed by HouSys is way ahead of its rivals on the account of the technology used. The displays are made future-proof by the use of latest technology components and methods in manufacturing them. Even with a lot of features and advantages, the VMS of Houston System is very economical.

The design and build of the device are done keeping in mind its place of use. As it would be used outdoors under real life conditions, it is made robust enough to face the inclement weather conditions. It is strategically designed to counter all the dust and moisture and perform its duties without yielding to the conditions. It also requires minimum maintenance which indeed is a huge positive for the product.

Why Choose Houston System?

Houston System is a trusted name in the field of Traffic Management Equipment and its products are being used worldwide. As HouSys is a customer-oriented company, we pay due diligence to the client’s requirements and the features they want to include in their products.

We try to satisfy our clients with the best services we can provide. We provide exceptional after-sales service and we respond to every communication within one working day. We invite quotes from the clients and try to provide them the products at price nearest to their quote. Feel free to initiate a communication and send in your queries. We will get back to you in the minimum time possible.