6 Criteria To Decide if a LED Blank Out Sign Works For Your ITS Application

Posted by Emily Boissonneault on Oct 18, 2016 3:30:00 PM


Defining the right type of sign for a specific project can be challenging. There are many different reasons and criteria that effect the choice of one product versus another. Designing a Variable Message Sign to solve a road safety challenge requires a thorough process and defined methodology - it is important to ask the right questions.

On one side, choosing the most advanced sign that can display anything, in any color, at any time is the easiest and most unlimited option. However, this often creates other challenges like power issues, monitoring complexity, and exorbitant costs for simple applications.

On the other side, very simple and cheap solutions exists, such as static signs with flashing beacons. Although, this can also have many disadvantages and does not solve most of the problems discussed in one of our previous blogs.

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Topics: Mobility, Blank Out Signs

Blank Out Signs vs. Dynamic Message Signs: How Can You Save Money

Posted by Phil Perut on Oct 5, 2016 2:59:45 PM

Throughout several blogs, we discussed the benefits of Blank Out Signs (BOS) and Lane Control Signs, and compared their technology against Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) and other types of signs. In this blog, we want to discuss the cost benefits of using Blank Out Signs and Lane Control Signs.

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Topics: Mobility, Blank Out Signs

Discover the Environmental Standards Defined by NEMA TS4

Posted by David Connolly on Sep 16, 2016 10:00:00 AM

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.

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Topics: State Government, Municipal Government, Grid-Powered DMS, Federal Government, Mobility, Solar Signs

VMS Pricing vs Value: 7 Considerations When Assessing Your Priorities

Posted by Mike McKay on Aug 15, 2016 2:00:00 PM

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.                                                                                                               

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Topics: Grid-Powered DMS

Vision Zero:  The Human Approach to Road Safety

Posted by Phil Perut on Jul 20, 2016 1:00:00 PM

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.

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4 Reasons DOTs Should Power Travel Time Data Through the Cloud

Posted by Phil Perut on Jul 1, 2016 1:49:10 PM

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.

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Topics: DMS Connect

How to Choose the Best Dynamic Message Sign Manufacturer

Posted by Phil Perut on Jun 24, 2016 1:30:00 PM

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:


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Topics: Grid-Powered DMS, Solar Signs

Hacked Road Signs - What's Really the Message Here?

Posted by Mike McKay on Jun 9, 2016 10:58:31 AM

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.

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Learn How TxDOT Saved $8+ Million Using DMS Retrofit Upgrades

Posted by Mike McKay on Jun 3, 2016 1:00:00 PM

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.

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Topics: Retrofit Upgrade

Discover the 5 Display Properties Defined by NEMA TS4

Posted by David Connolly on Jun 2, 2016 12:39:44 PM

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.

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Topics: State Government, Municipal Government, Grid-Powered DMS, Federal Government, Mobility, Solar Signs