Managed Lanes: Optimal Application for DMS with Custom Options

Posted by Mike McKay on Nov 7, 2017 7:42:05 PM
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With the continued burden of finding funding sources for US urban roadways construction and maintenance, state agencies and regional transportation commissions are employing segmented toll opportunities which often require little infrastructure adjustment- converting urban freeway High Occupancy Lanes to income producing toll lanes,  commonly known as managed lanes. The challenge faced by DOT is to inform drivers of the rules applicable to the managed lanes. Are the lanes open? What is the toll rate? The only way to inform all drivers is to use Dynamic Message Signs,

Toll system

Given the advancement of ITS technology in recent years, a cashless toll system can be placed with relative ease requiring only the equipment and communications apparatus, all with multiple options or designs from an assortment of vendors. As cashless systems go, they require shorter decision making windows for the driver as these managed lanes need to provide instantaneous feedback on cost at predictable intervals.  Sometimes managed lanes will also intersperse travel time readouts provided for quick assimilation to the driver- all relayed in dynamic messaging form.

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The dynamic messaging signs or DMS for short, are simple in design but thanks to the recent demand, improvements to these single line, 3-10 digits signs has jumped dramatically in the last 3 years with it has come improvements better suiting the tollway market sector.

For Example:

Tilt design capability

Accommodates road to sign variances for improved vision.  Utilized in two lane roads and larger with static sign mounting where static sing placement to be 90 degrees to the roadway. Tilt design ensures proper MUTCD viewing distance / angle with no change to the static sign alignment.  In a travel time application, the most recent actualization has been long term work zone locations. Signs are removed and remounted with relative ease then capable of reuse as a toll, travel time, or one word message(Open, Closed, FULL, etc.) applications.

Limited view

Sign design restricting the view lessens roadway confusion for the non-managed lane traffic. Reduces over stimulation, minimizing decision making particularly on larger multi-lane roadway of 3 lanes or more. 

Solar Powered Sign

Solar Powered DMS can be installed at a much lower cost than regular grid powerd DMS. Newer technology and energy efficiency allow very affordable and very reliable systems.

Sign controller

Allowing one controller to manage and coordinate multiple toll signs. This option presents a lot of benefits. It reduces the cost of the system by reducing the number of controllers and road side cabinets. It makes the system easier to maintain as well. 

Default capability

A customization allowing for default pricing by time window

Web based controller software

Wireless access to the toll signs allowing remote access for diagnostics, maintenance, and instant access to message change or adjustment on the fly. Also highly favored should TMC access be inconsistent or have a short term failure. To know more aout the benefits of web based controller software click here.

Color capailities

Providing greater versatility in broadcast options, including wording, fonts, and even icons, depending on size. No longer do these signs need to be in rough, harsh, or low definition characters. 



Intelligent transportation systems for managed lanes is actively adapting due to high demand in large population areas possessing complex travel options and spiraling highway costs.  Only makes sense ITS-only DMS sign manufacturers with focus on application specific solutions will be the first to adapt or offer tailored options to fit regional or industry needs.   


Topics: DMS Messenger 5000, Managed Lanes