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Variable message sign boards can help communicate important messages for heavily populated events

As exciting as events are, there are some challenges that event operations’ teams often face when it comes to managing attendees, high traffic around the venue and ensuring that everyone stays safe and informed before, during, and after the event. That’s where variable message sign boards (also referred to as VMS) can help. 

In this article, we will break down how effective variable message signs are, and how they can be used for events to streamline traffic, provide event and safety information, improve wayfinding, and enhance the overall guest experience.

About Variable Message Sign Boards

These portable changeable message signs are designed to improve the efficiency of traffic flow and enhance road safety by providing timely updates, along with clearly providing information to the public. These boards can display a variety of messages, including traffic conditions, weather alerts, roadwork warnings, and emergency notifications, and more. They can also be used to indicate event information, such as times for game day events, or up-to-date information like rain delays.

Instalert on a vehicle hitch mount can assist with traffic management for community events

These signs contribute significantly to reducing accidents, easing congestion, and sharing important information with pedestrians and drivers alike. These positive impacts ensure smoother and safer experiences for all.

Effectiveness of Variable Message Sign Boards

The signs have proven to be effective in influencing driving behavior and sharing dynamic traffic information, according to multiple studies.
For instance, a driving simulation experiment demonstrated that variable message signs significantly impacted driving behavior by providing real-time information (Yan & Wu, 2014). Similarly, another study aimed at assessing the effectiveness of VMS information during driving showed significant differences in driving as a result of the signs (Guattari et al., 2012). Furthermore, these signs play a significant role in route guidance, as evidenced by a study conducted on motorways outside Oslo (Erke et al., 2007). This research illustrated the proven effectiveness of these signs in various contexts and conditions.

How Variable Message Boards Can Boost Your Event Operations


1. Streamlining Event Traffic Management

One of the most significant challenges that venues face during events is managing car traffic. With so many people coming in and out of the venue, it can One of the most significant challenges that venues face during events is managing vehicle traffic. With so many people coming in and out of the venue, it can quickly turn into chaos. These signs can be used to display messages that direct drivers toward the nearest parking lot, alleviate congestion, and avoid traffic jams. Drivers can be notified of alternative parking arrangements, where the rideshare pick up or drop off is, one-way restrictions, and other such information, which helps avoid accidents and congestion.


2. Providing Event Information

Variable message board signs can be used for sharing event information

No matter the size of the event, keeping everyone informed can be daunting. These boards allow event managers to update the crowd with important information, which includesdetailed information on rideshare pick-up and drop-off spots, parking lots and garages, exits, and tailgate areas. Additionally, they can provide valuable updates on safety and security protocols, ensuring you’re well-prepared for security screenings and ticket checks. Furthermore, these signs are excellent for showing last-minute schedule changes, unexpected cancellations, and other essential announcements.


3. Enhancing Safety and Security for Crowd Management

Safety and security are top priorities at any venue, and variable message sign boards help address several critical concerns. For example, these boards can be used to display exit routes, emergency response instructions, and emergency roads that help speed up evacuation response rates. Real-time safety messages can also help convey unknowns like weather, safety instructions, and chemical and fire disaster updates that could affect the safety of the people attending the events.
InstAlert 24 variable message sign being used for event traffic management

4. Improve Wayfinding to Increase Concession and Merchandise Sales

Deploy these signs in high-volume areas (indoors or outdoors) where they can display information like where to enter the venue, specific VIP area entrances, general information, the start of the event, and more. They can also be used to identify where attendees should go for their seats, customer service, restrooms, and more.

The additional benefit of this wayfinding signage is that getting more people in seats can lead to people settling in, and then spending their extra time to spend money at concessions or on merchandise. The sooner more people smoothly arrive at their spots, the more people will spend on high-ROI items for your venue, like food, drinks, and t-shirts. By displaying messages helping attendees get into the venue faster, these signs can help generate buzz around concession stands and help boost sales.

5. Enhancing the Guest Experience

Along with safety, an event is more enjoyable when everything runs seamlessly, efficiently, and smoothly. Long queues, repeated announcements, or incomplete information can lead to a negative experience for event attendees. With these message signs, security and event managers can help clearly and easily display announcements, whether they relate to wait times or general event information. The more information that is easily visible and accessible, the better the experience will be for all attendees.

InstAlert Variable Message Signs Can Enhance Your Events

InstAlert variable message signs can be utilized for all of the use cases above. InstAlert Variable Message Signs are an excellent solution for displaying custom messages wherever they’re needed.

The InstAlert 18 and InstAlert 24 have remote management capabilities, swift set-up and deployment, and versatile usage. The InstAlert 24 is the only variable message sign on the market that has a folding design, making it easy to transport in the trunk of a vehicle. Moreover, they are quick and simple to set up, with one person being able to deploy and take down the sign within minutes.

The InstAlert 24 variable message sign is the only VMS on the market that can fold, making it easier to store and deploy

These signs are not just portable, but also durable and versatile. They are constructed from welded aluminum and feature concealed mounting hardware, shatterproof Lexan, and a graffiti-resistant powder coat, ensuring their ruggedness in any weather and a lifespan of over a decade. In terms of versatility, they can display up to six screens of custom text, chevrons, and/or images. Power options are flexible, with the power sources being Lithium battery, Integrated Solar, AC, or a trailer.

Through a TraffiCloud subscription, users can easily analyze road traffic data and generate easy-to-read reports, set alerts for tampering and low battery, and schedule messages in advance. The signs can also share emergency alerts, traffic information, travel times, detours, parking and event locations, weather updates, pedestrian crossings, and more.

Variable message sign boards are an essential investment that can make a significant impact on schools and event venues hosting events. VMS help address several challenges and concerns such as traffic flow, safety and security, customer engagement, and the overall experience of attendees.


Erke, A., Sagberg, F., & Hagman, R. (2007). Effects of route guidance variable message signs (VMS) on driver behaviour. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 10(6), 447-457. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2007.03.003

Guattari, C., Blasiis, M. R. D., & Calvi, A. (2012). The Effectiveness of Variable Message Signs Information: A Driving Simulation Study. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 53, 692-702. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.919

Yan, X., & Wu, J. (2014). Effectiveness of Variable Message Signs on Driving Behavior Based on a Driving Simulation Experiment. Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society, 2014, 206805. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/206805

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