Blank Out Signs (BOS), due to their cost efficiency, design, and speed to market have long been employed, mostly in a MUTCD regulatory or warning sign capacity. Nationwide, there is increased attention to more situational traffic issues such as wrong way driving. Customizing designs whether in the message or actionable symbols, specialized Blank Out Sign applications are more rapidly moving up the ladder in importance with several manufacturing companies focused on furthering product development to fit industry trend for safer and simpler roadway information
On a recent trip to China related to my wife’s business, I was able to do a quick tour of ITS like Traffic signage in and surrounding the City of Shanghai, now the largest metropolitan city in the world at 24 million people.
Traffic operations professionals have long implemented Blank Out Signs (BOS) as reliable solutions to improving traffic flow, while increasing traffic safety, especially as attention grabbing warning signals in vulnerable zones or areas of recognized hazard. Prior blank out sign blogs have discussed merits of Blank Out Sign usage and applications. Given the nationally recognized need and value of blank out signs with repeated year after year growth in applied use, How do state and local governments monitor as well as control, remotely installed BOS? Ease of use, and low cost software is available for any number of blank out signs, regardless of message or use, via cloud based software.
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.
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.
Static MUTCD traffic signs are often used to warn drivers of specific conditions or potential danger on the roadway, and in many applications are equipped with flashing beacons to provide alert capability for passing motorists. However, many of these signs do not efficiently convey information necessary for drivers to fully understand the circumstances and actions to take to avoid danger.
Here below is a series of examples with comments related to the efficiency of the message:
When designing ITS systems intended to convey critical messaging to drivers, transportation agencies must consider the requirements for each deployment, and make choices regarding more versatile, full matrix dynamic message signs versus more affordable blank out signs with limited messaging. Often blank out signs can provide all the messaging functionality needed at a fraction of the cost of full size DMS, and do not require advanced communication networks or other infrastructure required by signs with full messaging capability.