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The VMS-A – More Than Traffic Management

The original 5 colour VMS-A is one of our most popular and versatile products, offering a wide range of benefits that can be used for various applications.

From data collection to assisting with messaging needs for national emergencies, the VMS-A can be used for many tasks that break away from the traditional traffic management applications expected from ordinary portable variable message signs. 

Indeed, the VMS-A is no ordinary portable variable message sign. This unit strikes a perfect balance between the size of its footprint and screen size to allow it to be used for many applications for different industries, and when considering the technology that can be integrated with the VMS-A, it’s quite clear that this unit offers more than just traffic management.  


During the pandemic, we saw numerous deployments nationwide in town and city centres to help local authorities spread the right message.

We even worked with retail, who were dealing with crises of their own when certain stores were forced to close and others could stay open. Clear and concise messaging was important to guide customers at retail parks, inform on a store’s COVID policy or even to help manage queuing.

The VMS-A is also a called-on solution to help with messaging needs for local charities and events. We can deploy the VMS-A in locations with high footfall such as supermarket car parks to help charities promote or explain their campaigns. The Christmas Tractor even used a VMS-A to display sponsor’s logos on the sign and then promote them on Facebook. 

Another example is Ashgate Hospicecare’s annual Sparkle Walk, which requires the closure of roads across Chesterfield. Multiple VMS-A units are deployed around the affected areas a week prior to the event so that drivers are made aware of the upcoming disruption as well as helping to spread the message about the Sparkle Walk.

The VMS-A isn’t just for text – its 5 colour display makes it ideal for pictograms too. In traffic management applications, we traditionally apply this potential to speed roundels, road closures and any other traffic management pictogram signs. 

However, using a browser or mobile device, clients can display more than just the expected traffic signaling pictograms and recreate all sorts of images such as logos and other pictures with Web Studio or the Bartco LiveApp

The VMS-A’s integrations also make it nearly as functional as its primary purpose. Units discreetly contain a data collation radar that can be used to collect the following traffic data;

  • Speed
  • Time
  • Date

As a low-cost alternative to many data collection solutions on the market, the VMS-A is ideal to be used as a data source for the analysis of traffic trends, enabling greater intelligence for planning projects of all kinds.

This feature alone makes it more important than just a typical portable variable message sign. 

In the same way, a recent innovation of our VMS-A sees an environmental sensor integrated with it to offer clients the ability to monitor the external environment.

The ITS Integrated Environmental Sensor produces a wide range of air pollution data that can be used to inform and direct on issues of air pollution safety. This solution is a low-cost system that offers the ability to build a high-density ambient air quality monitoring network that records data in real-time.

With low power demands, integration with the VMS-A offers air quality monitoring in many applications, including but not limited to:

  • Work places / work areas
  • Construction site safety
  • Events
  • Town centres / cities
  • Urban roads / Highways

These applications make this product a useful tool for a variety of industries, organisations and projects concerned with air quality, such as schools, Tier 1 construction contractors and local authorities who may need such data for planning, safety or to measure changes. 

Another recent development of the VMS-A integrates CCTV, allowing you to have eyes on the ground without having to be physically present on-site.

The combined use of such technologies allow our VMS-A to offer an information, surveillance and feedback solution that can be used to monitor driver and pedestrian behaviour without having to be on-site.

The VMS CCTV is ideal for:

  • Queue management
  • Parking management
  • Works egress safety
  • Site safety
  • Events & wayfinding

As time goes on, it’s exciting to think about how the VMS-A will not only evolve, but also impact new and familiar markets. Only last year, MVIS partnered with data sharing solutions specialists, Chordant, on a trial that showed how the VMS A data collection radar can act as a real-time portable traffic data system that produced comparable traffic speeds and flow relative to Coventry SCOOT data, exposed through Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) on the oneTRANSPORT Data Marketplace.

The implications of this project are far reaching. Data, as a commodity, specifically in the name of safety, is a highly valuable asset that’s only becoming more important, as local authorities, traffic management companies and many other groups scramble to learn more about traffic trends. This data can be used in planning projects of many kinds and offers increased intelligence than can impact society in a wide range of ways.

There’s no telling where the current and future innovations of the VMS-A could lead, with integrations and potential uses that could help increase safety, monitor the environment, help with planning and even keep order on the streets. 


If you would like to learn more about our VMS-A, please contact us via our contact form. Alternatively, you can call us on 01629 580 570 to speak to one of our friendly team, or you can email us via sales@m-vis.co.uk.