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Title: Evaluation of Driver Reactions for the Effective Use of Variable Message Signs
Contact: Michael D. Fontaine
Associate Director for Safety, Operations, and Traffic Engineering
Project No.: 90140
Target Date: 02/11/2010

Variable message signs (VMS) are used in conjunction with other media to communicate traffic conditions, general information and recommended diversion strategies to motorists. The signs also are used to provide public-service announcements to drivers.

That second type of message has been associated with queuing, as motorists slow to read and comprehend the message. The impacts of either type of message have not been quantified sufficiently to provide enough confidence that a posted message will have the desired impact.

The intent of this research is to quantify the impacts of VMS messages and develop a set of guidelines for selecting the most appropriate message for specific circumstances. The researchers will employ a case-study approach, using the Interstate 95 corridor in Richmond between its northern and southern intersections with I-295. The potential savings in reduced delays are significant, especially since more than half of all interstate delays are attributed to incidents.

     Michael Demetsky
     Jeremy Schroeder
     Catherine C. McGhee