Benefits of Variable Message Signs(VMS)

Variable Message Signs or VMS, as they are often shortened to in the industry, are a form of one-way communication between the owner and drivers or pedestrians. They are a type of light-emitting signage that can display both text and/or pictograms.

You have probably seen them a lot but never realised they are defined as a Variable Message Sign. A common example is a sign over the motorway in that iconic orange LED writing saying ‘slow down’ or ‘traffic ahead’ or ‘5 minutes to junction 6’.

These signs can be used to warn road users about changes in conditions ahead, alerting foot traffic of a diversion due to work, or even as part of a wider parking guidance system.
You will find Variable Message Signs in a lot of different places, but the majority are outside and used to alert people of a certain event.

What are the Benefits of Variable Message Signs?

The benefits of a VMS are variable depending on who is implementing them, one company may think that X is the best benefit, whereas another may think it is Y.

Low Power Consumption 

One of the overlooked benefits of a Variable Message Sign is the low cost of running it. Making it a very cost-effective piece of signage. The addition of little wear and tear and lack of maintenance requirements keeps the cost low. If kept correctly these devices can work for years and years with barely any upkeep required. The movable variant is more likely to be damaged due to transportation and their placement.

Work in Any Weather Conditions 

In poor light or low visibility, it can often be hard to read a typical road sign, this is why a VMS is so important for a range of industries.  Having the ability to be readable in a variety of weather conditions and throughout the day is a huge benefit of Variable Message Signs.


The option of flexibility and customisation makes a VMS a useful tool for a whole host of different businesses. Being able to determine what the sign says on any given day can make its value skyrocket to a company.  The rise of Variable Message Signs has become prevalent the more we advance our other technologies, and it has started to create a disparity between the old and the new, rendering older signs less useful.

Range of Uses

Unlike a normal sign, Variable Message Signs can be used for a lot of different things, from car parking, to access control, to event management, to maintenance and roadwork. The sheer variety of industries and applications that can be used for VMS technology allows it to be beneficial to one company in a few ways.

Measurable Impact

Having a signage solution that is not only helpful but also has real-world benefits beyond being a standard road sign, for example, is another advantage of VMS and the evident by their usage across the UK. Even if you look further afield to Europe or the US, Variable Message Signs’ impact is easy to pin down, with positive perceptions, and effectiveness across the board.

What Industries Can Benefit From Variable Message Signs?

There is no doubt that these have certain industries that are more inclined to utilise this style of communication and ones that are less likely to implement this technology. 
Let’s look at a few examples of where they are used and the industries that use Variable Message Signs.

Road Work
Incidents on Roads
Natural Disasters
Highway Control

These are just a shortlist of the places and industries that can benefit from the implementation of Variable Message Signs. There are a plethora of uses for them, but these are the most common that you are likely to come across or use.