We recently published a blog about the 5 Display Properties Defined by NEMA TS4 and are continuing with our series referencing these specifications for Dynamic Message Signs (DMS). This installment will examine the Environmental Requirements described in Section 2 of NEMA TS4 that establishes the limits of operational conditions in which the DMS must perform. They are also intended to make sure the DMS is delivered in good condition.
In the last 40 years, since dynamic messaging signs became an integral part of the U.S. highway’s persona, the industry has gone from flipping mechanically iridescent orange dots to advancing fiber optic designs, and now, LED lighting. With continued advancements in solar due to greater energy efficient design and product with ventilation or cooling systems are no longer necessary. Trending along with LED advancements is the critical need for agencies to maximize their purchasing power while still acquiring ITS devices that truly match their most recent concerns in the field and on paper. As a result agencies are looking towards value versus finding the lowest VMS pricing in contract assessments.
Topics: Grid-Powered DMS
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 32,000 people are killed and more than 2 million are injured every year from motor vehicle crashes. That works out to roughly 90 deaths each day across the United States - with one third involving drunk driving and almost another third involving speeding. In order to combat such a staggering number of transportation-related casualties, federal and state “Vision Zero” (known in the U.S. as 'Towards Zero Deaths') initiatives are being rolled out to achieve a future where there are no fatalities or serious injuries in road traffic.
Since the late 1920’s, engineers and planners have conducted travel time and delay studies to unravel the intricacies of transportation. With the instatement of the revolutionary Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), flexible state and local programs were developed to address urban, suburban, and rural congestion. Travel time, a key performance measure in congestion management systems, is one of the few ITS concepts readily understood and communicated by everyone from your local news reporter to the daily commuters in the trenches.
Topics: DMS Connect
When considering a DMS Manufacturer, there are a variety of factors to take into account. You might be inclined to choose a manufacturer strictly based on cost, but have you truly done your due-diligence? Entering into or accepting a bid with an under performing DMS manufacturer can have serious consequences - consequences that outweigh upfront savings.
Take a look below for the eight criteria we believe defines an outstanding DMS manufacturer:
Over Memorial Day Weekend, several states made headlines when mobile DMS were hacked. These temporary construction warning signs on the highway displayed hacked messages ranging from political statements, to “Party Hardy Yall!”. A week later, another sign was hacked that displayed a comment referencing the recent Cincinnati Zoo gorilla incident. While these altered messages may serve as harmless entertainment for daily commuters, tampering with these signs are problematic and a dangerous display of recklessness. With regards to the later, traffic operations professionals are challenged with life or death consequences - funny it is not.
Actual Cost Analysis from Texas DOT, 2009-2014
Beginning in 2009, South Texas Department of Transportation districts began retrofitting existing signs utilizing retrofit upgrade options either to replace older technology or to update troublesome signs. Through this time period, the tracking of average installed costs versus new installation costs was provided by contractors in 2014.
This comparison is based on each sign's capability of projecting 3 lines of 18 characters, 18 “high characters in amber color. The new DMS option does not reflect any feature upgrades to the signs each district may have added. The new DMS pricing is the minimum amount on the current purchasing contract at that time for four years. Both options were front access type signs. Excluded was the superstructure or support costs - given that retrofitting would use existing structures, the cost is not evaluated here. Contractors and the DOT estimates that new structures for overhead applications run $150,000-$200,000.
Topics: Retrofit Upgrade
The NEMA TS4 Hardware Standards for Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) with NTCIP Requirements is a product of the NEMA 3-TS, Transportation Management Systems and Associated Control Devices Section. It is intended to provide the user a safe, dependable, functional and easily maintained Dynamic Message Sign. To this end, the standard provides the minimum hardware and functional characteristics of electronically controlled DMS used for displaying messages to travelers.
Everyone in the ITS world hears something about autonomous vehicles almost every day. Most of the time, it is about autonomous vehicles developed by Google or another one of the major automobile manufacturers. There are many other experiences and tests especially for mass transit like buses or shuttles.
Topics: In the News
If you look at the newest ultra-thin laptops on the market today, you will probably notice how much thinner and lighter they are compared to the laptops of even 5 to 10 years ago. Gone are the ventilation channels, filters and fans and their associated bulk, weight and cost. Yet Moore’s law implies that the number of transistors is doubling every two years. You would think that the heat management problem would be getting worse. What gives?
Fortunately, the semiconductor industry has managed to reduce the power dissipation faster than the growth of the device complexity. This has allowed equipment designers to eliminate much of the ventilation components of years past resulting in products that are thinner, lighter and more reliable.
Just as the computer designers have reduced the heat created in modern laptops, SESA has been pioneering the increased efficiency in display technologies which allows for the elimination of sign ventilation provisions.
However, in our Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) world, it seems that this technological evolution is not yet taken into consideration. Numerous specifications throughout the country still call for DMS ventilation, temperature monitoring, intake filters, etc. Many useless devices that add costs, use energy and increase the maintenance of our DMS.