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Evaluation and Assessment of Variable European Sign Systems


The objectives of the project are to provide and apply the methodologies for qualitative, quantitative and economic assessments to improve the effectiveness of Variable Message Sign systems through specific co-operation with DRIVE II Pilot Projects.
Methodologies for qualitative, quantitative and economic assessments have been developed to improve the effectiveness of variable message sign (VMS) systems through specific cooperation with DRIVE II pilot projects.

In order to produce reliable results, a set of experiment guidelines has been produced. This documents the indicators to be recorded and the measurement methods.

A survey of over 50 sites which use a VMS system was undertaken. A set of criteria for assessing and classifying each site was produced. The classification of a site included the application field (ie motorway, urban or rural) and the VMS strategy or objective (eg queue or congestion warning, incident warning, bad weather warning, parking information). 20 sites were classified as being of interest, with effort being concentrated on 7 sites. A range of application field, VMS strategies and member states are represented by the 7.
Technical Approach

The first part of the project will define practicable and achievable methods that can be applied to any co-operating test site implementing VMS to assess the effectiveness of that implementation in terms of system operability, driver response, and operator and driver benefits. Methods will also assess the effects of integrating VMS system technology with in-vehicle communications technology especially RDS-TMC.

Field trials will be carried out on various selected road scenarios in different European states to ensure that the results are as representative as possible with the active participation of research organisations, road operators, consultancies and manufacturers.

Experiments conducted will mainly cover:

data acquisition methods;
effective system displays, operations and architectures;
factors affecting sign and message visibility and legibility;
factors affecting user compliance with signs or information provided in different strategies and measures, such as re-routeing, incident and congestion warning, and speed advice and limitations.

Experiment results will measure:

effect of VMS on traffic and on users behaviour
amount by which drivers change their route, as a result of amongst others, route guidance, diversion message and parking guidance;
amount by which drivers slow down or change lane, as a result of amongst others, speed recommendation, danger warning and congestion warning;
amount by which users comply with traffic and road information.

Key Issues

to assess the effectiveness of VMS implementation on the Pilot Projects test site(s).
A common European understanding of VMS messages and VMS strategies.
An appraisal of the impact of VMS on driver behaviour.
Cost and benefit analysis of VMS systems and strategies.
To quantify the effects on users of integrating VMS system technology with in-vehicle communication technology.

Expected Achievements

1993 will see the start of all of the experiments and an analysis of preliminary results to confirm the measurement methods and compatibility of the results. Existing standards for VMS will be researched by a questionnaire to all sites.

The questionnaire results and the results of the experiments and user surveys will form the basis of our initial results to be documented towards the end of 1993.

Expected Impact

The harmonisation of VMS strategies and systems throughout Europe.
A measurement of economic benefits of integrating VMS systems for the operator and drive within in-vehicle communication technology, particularly RDS-TMC.
An understanding VMS messages and VMS strategies
Cost and benefit analysis of VMS systems and strategies.

Contribution to Standardisation

It is anticipated that the project will help to converge emerging standards during its lifetime from all the associated European partners. Work completed during the project will contribute to the recommendations for Common Functional Specifications for the operation, location, features and strategies of VMS systems and their integration with other ATT technologies.


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Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

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W S Atkins Consultants Ltd
Woodcote Grove Ashley Road
KT18 5BW Epsom
United Kingdom

Participants (8)

4 Rue Des Cuirassiers
69428 Lyon
Beeskowdamm 3-11
1000 Berlin
Mizar Automazione SpA
Via Monti 48
10126 Torino
3000 BA Rotterdam
798 Avenue Marechal Delattre De Tassigny
94002 Creteil
Solari Udine SpA
Via Gino Pieri 29
33100 Udine
Steierwald Schönharting und Partner GmbH
Heßbrühlstraße 21
70565 Stuttgart
Transport Research Laboratory (TRL)
United Kingdom
Old Wokingham Road
RG11 6AU Crowthorne