Follow accepted guidelines to create concise, effective messages to communicate to the public using Dynamic Message Signs (DMS).
Guidance from a Dynamic Message Sign handbook and from the use of DMSs in metropolitan areas.
- Provide motorists with early warning messages. Early warning messages give motorists advance notice of slow traffic and queuing ahead and are effective in reducing secondary crashes. When used in freeway work zones, early warning messages also give notice of new detours, changes in detour route, changes in lane patterns, special speed control measures, etc.
- Design DMS messages to be brief, to the point, and have impact. At typical highway speeds, the message posted on a Dynamic Message Sign (DMS) must be presented to motorists in about 8 seconds or less. This translates to 8 words at 55 mph, 7 words at 65 mph, and 6 words at 70 mph. Therefore, the message must count, and the words used must have impact.
- Design effective DMS messages that have the same message elements and presentation order. The following message elements and order should be used in all DMS messages:
- Situation Description - brief description of the situation
- Situation Location - location of the situation
- Effect on Travel - delays, lanes blocked, etc.
- Action – the action that the motorist should take
- One Good Reason for Following Action - usually implied by situation description
- Including these elements will create DMS messages that have more impact and are more effective with motorists.
Changeable Message Sign Operation and Messaging Handbook
Author: Dudek, Conrad L.
Published By: Prepared by TTI for the USDOT FHWA
Source Date: August 2004
Other Reference Number: FHWA-OP-03-070
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Major Initiatives > Integrated Corridor Management Systems
Major Initiatives > Nationwide Surface Transportation Weather Observing and Forecasting System - Clarus
Major Initiatives > Emergency Transportation Operations
Other Program Activities > Amber Alert
Other Program Activities > Rural ITS Deployment
DMS, CMS, VMS, Changeable Message Signs, Variable Message Signs