Changeable Message Signs

Changeable Message Signs are traffic control devices with the flexibility to display a variety of messages to fit the needs of road and street authorities.

You may not have heard of adjustable information signs before, but these are extremely useful signs because they are capable of tremendous versatility. These indicators are capable of displaying one of several different messages depending on current needs, and the different messages are generally displayed using programmed lighting which causes the message to appear.
One simple example of this kind of changeable message sign would be one that is used at trucking weigh station to let truckers know that the station is either open or closed. Only one of these messages will be shown at a given time, and the alternative information will be darkened, so as to be invisible to motorists.

Men working ahead changeable sign

What are They?

The primary purpose of a changeable communication sign is to display warning, operational, regulatory data, or some kind of guidance information. There will never be any kind of advertising or promotional material included on adjustable message indicators, or on any of the support equipment related to them.

For changeable information signs which are non-electronic, they must all comply with federal guidelines regarding design and application principles set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, otherwise known as the MUTCD. There are a great many situations where variable communication placards come into play and can provide valuable service.

Some of these include speed control, destination guidance, control at crossing areas, travel times, various types of managed lanes, warning situations, traffic regulations, lane ramp and roadway control, warning of adverse weather conditions, special event applications related to traffic control or conditions, safety belt and seat belt checks, DUI checkpoints, and incident management as well as route diversion.

In some cases, changeable message indicators are also used by local highway agencies to display relevant safety messages, homeland security messages, transportation-related messages, and America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response, or AMBER, alert messages. It is left to state and local highway authorities to implement some kind of policy regarding the display of adjustable messages, although it is required for these messages to be consistent. If achieving consistency means that coordination among separate operating agencies is necessary, then that is strongly recommended by federal authorities.

In order for changeable information signs to be most beneficial to road users, it is important that they are placed in the right situations. For instance, they are never placed at an interchange, unless they are being used to manage lanes or to provide information for toll plazas. Normally, these kinds of information indicators would be located upstream of known bottlenecks or high crash locations, so that motorists have time to choose an alternate route or to take some other kind of action to avoid conditions up ahead.

In addition, adjustable message placards are generally not placed in locations where there is already a proliferation of other road traffic indicators, because the variable information sign would probably be overlooked and have limited value. These kinds of signs are also not set up where drivers are required to change lanes in response to other signage, or because of potential merging conditions.

So they can be of maximum value to travelers, adjustable message indicators are always placed in situations where they can be clearly visible, and where they give motorists time to react to conditions up ahead.

changeable milage sign

Importance of Changeable Message Signs

One of the big reasons that adjustable communication indicators are so valuable and so important is their versatility. There is a number of traffic road placards that are static in nature and can convey the same information 24×7, every day of the year. However, when used with other devices such as queue detection and sensors, we are able to direct specific messaging regarding traffic or weather situations which arise that are temporary in nature, and which call for information to be displayed so that motorists can be informed of such road conditions.

For example, if a bad road accident has occurred in a certain area, it would be very useful to install a variable message sign a mile or two upstream from that accident, so as to guide motorists to take a route which bypasses the scene. For this kind of signage, it is necessary to have a programmable road sign or at least one which can select between pre-set messages so as to convey the appropriate one.

These kinds of placards can be essential in preventing bottlenecks from becoming much worse, and from creating traffic jams that become problematic. They are also very useful for relating simple information such as the open/closed status of weigh stations mentioned above. Because they are so versatile and can convey several different types of messages, it would be hard to overstate the importance and usefulness of variable communication indicators.

beach closed sign

Buy or Rent Changeable Message Signs

If you’re looking for a company to buy or rent adjustable message signs from, look no further than Worksafe Traffic Control Industries, where we provide every kind of signage used on today’s roadways. We also offer virtually every kind of accessory which is used to support those road signs and to keep them functional so that vehicle operators can get the maximum benefit from them.

Contact us today about whatever your needs may be regarding adjustable message signs or any other type of road signage. We will be glad to work with you on customizing a specific sign, and we can provide you with an estimate on any other kind of signage purchases you may have in mind.