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You are going through a long tunnel. What will warn you of congestion or an incident ahead?

A Variable message signs

Follow the instructions given by the signs or by tunnel officials. In congested tunnels a minor incident can soon turn into a major one with serious or even fatal results.

Related Information

Digital road signs called variable message signs (VMS) are used to alert drivers to temporary events and current traffic conditions. The signs are frequently connected to a manned control center through a radio link or local network. Intelligent Transportation Systems are essentially incomplete without variable message signs (VMS).

The purpose of employing VMS is to give drivers information that is required and/or advisory at the roadside. The potential benefits of using VMS include lowering the stress and travel time of drivers as well as enhancing traffic safety. Drivers may be instructed by VMS to adjust their travel speeds, change lanes, take another route, go to a parking space, or be alert to changes in the flow of oncoming or upcoming traffic. The information is meant to help drivers choose optimal routes to avoid traffic congestion and lessen their anxiety.

It can be challenging to measure the signs' overall positive effects. VMS are frequently used to alert drivers to congestion, accidents, and unforeseen delays, which can lessen their stress. In order to prevent further delays, signs can be especially helpful when they notify drivers of alternative routes or park and ride sites. However, this may require the VMS being a crucial component of a larger and more expensive traffic monitoring system. According to a major study, drivers would prefer to see greater VMS usage. Clear evidence suggests that if designed properly, VMS are unlikely to distract drivers. Where 'SLOW DOWN' signs are placed, a decrease in speed limit violations is to be anticipated.

Cost is the biggest obstacle to implementation. Concerns over the visual obtrusion of new signs may also be voiced. However, it is argued that properly designed VMS can lessen negative aesthetic impacts by minimizing the number of stationary road signs. VMS expenses include purchase, operation, and maintenance costs. The approximate capital cost for 12 VMS is £500.000, although costs vary greatly based on the type of sign, the appropriate data, and sensors needed to compute an appropriate message for drivers.


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