Variable Message Signs (VMS) are a crucial element of traffic information provision, since the VMS information is presented to all passing motorists and the VMS allow remote control of traffic by directing or restraining orders. Other traffic information media are either not available to all motorists (such as subscriber reports) or less easy to target (such as broadcasts). VMS are especially important in the operation of the Trans European Road Network (TERN).
The TROPIC project aimed at developing a wide-scale and consistent application of VMS as an effective and co-ordinated form of driver information within an integrated road transport environment and in particular on the TERN.
The project implemented trials of practical techniques for organising VMS operations, strategies, procedures and messages. Recommendations have been provided in four subject areas:
- practical issues:
- pictogram development;
- text message development;
- quality of service level;
- information overload and absence of information;
- institutional issues:
- approved material;
- operational issues;
- legal issues;
- organisational issues including cross-boundary issues;
- procedural issues:
- operational procedures and management failures;
- system integrity and automation;
- system architecture.
The project has provided valuable recommendations for people implementing and operating VMS in different subject areas, and complemented existing guidelines. The use of VMS for control, warning, advice and information purposes is part of the European Union’s strategy for the TERN development. The project results can help in implementing the action programmes of the TERN Euro-regional, national and regional projects.