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Need radar speed signs or message signs ASAP? We can fulfill urgent requests.

Portable changeable message sign on a vehicle hitch sharing information about a town event

What are portable changeable message signs?

Portable changeable message signs ,also called variable message signs (VMS), display messages in and around high-traffic areas. The messages are used to share information regarding traffic routing, events, traffic safety campaigns, and more. Oftentimes, they are portable, being mounted on posts, vehicle hitches, and trailers. These electronic message boards can be remotely programmed. This means that if a user has an Internet-connected device, they can update the message(s) from anywhere, making it easier to keep everything up-to-date. There are multiple power options available for these signs. Most commonly the power options are AC, batteries, and/or solar. Solar-powered variable message signs can work for prolonged periods compared to other available power options.  With such flexibility, this technology has a range of uses. The most common ways these signs are used are:

  • Sharing Event Information
  • Directing Vehicle Traffic
  • Reducing Traffic Accidents and Reckless Driving
  • Spreading Emergency Information Quickly
  • Warning Drivers About Inclement Weather
  • Alerting Drivers to Road Work or Hazards Ahead
  • Engaging With Your Community

The Most Common Ways People Use Portable Changeable Message Signs are:

Sharing Event Information

One of the most popular ways to use these signs is to provide information about events. These events range from community events to concerts, to sporting events, and more. Traffic message boards can help event operations run more smoothly because the information they share helps staff and guests. These message signs can be used at venues to inform guests about start times, safety rules and guidelines, venue security resources, lost and found locations, and more.

Electronic message board sharing ticket information for event

All Traffic Solutions’ InstAlert variable message signs fold in half, making them easy to deploy and store. They make perfect directories to help guests get where they need to go.

Directing Vehicle Traffic

Traffic message boards can be mounted on vehicle hitches to share messages on-the-go

In addition to directing pedestrian traffic during events, these signs are great for directing traffic around construction and roadside emergencies, and concert and event traffic. Deploying a traffic message board helps direct cars and make room on the road for the people who need it, or keep everyone organized and informed on where they should be going. This technology keeps traffic moving smoothly and safely and reduces congestion and backups making the entire process easier and safer for all involved.

Traffic message boards can be mounted on vehicle hitches to share messages on-the-go

Because of the bright LEDs and clear messages, drivers will be in-the-know about delays and detours. With the variety of mounting and power options, deploying these signs for both road traffic and foot traffic is simple. The signs’ easy storage means they can fit in the trunk of a car or closet. This mobility makes their deployment easier for any use case.

Reducing Traffic Accidents and Reckless Driving

Often portable changeable message signs are useful solutions for traffic safety campaigns. InstAlert signs have been used in traffic safety campaigns to discourage drinking and driving, discourage speeding, encourage drivers and passengers to wear their seatbelts, and more. Some VMS technology combines the power of messaging with radar feedback, like the SpeedAlert radar message sign.

VMS are perfect additions to traffic safety campaigns, and for discouraging dangerous driving behaviors.

These signs have positive impacts that reduce traffic accidents and save lives. Many studies have shown variable message signage has helped reduce driver speed. They’ve also shown that the signs helped with freeway traffic management (especially concerning detours).

Spreading Emergency Information Quickly

Emergency situations can change quickly, and emergency responders want to communicate the most pertinent and updated information as soon as possible. These signs can be used to share warnings or evacuation information quickly and effectively. Portable changeable message signs can also be used for directing traffic during emergencies, helping as many people as quickly and calmly as possible.

Warning Drivers About Inclement Weather

Whether it’s flooding, extreme cold, or anything else, it’s clear that the weather can change unexpectedly. To rapidly share warnings and caution drivers, signs like InstAlert can be deployed in various weather conditions.

Alerting Drivers to Road Work or Hazards Ahead

These signs are often used to share messages during road work or warn drivers of road hazards. Since the signs are easy to store and deploy, it takes only a few minutes to deploy a sign to warn drivers of a crash ahead. Or to let drivers know that they should slow down or be prepared to stop.

Engaging With Your Community

These signs can also be used for community engagement. Below are some of the creative ways All Traffic Solutions customers have used our signs to engage with the community.

If you want to learn more about portable changeable message signs, you can read more about the benefits here

InstAlert variable message signs have been utilized for all of the common use cases shared above. InstAlert Signs are an ideal tool for displaying messages and custom graphics wherever they’re needed.

The InstAlert 18 and InstAlert 24 are versatile and have remote management capabilities. Their portable design offers swift set-up and deployment. The InstAlert 24 is the only vms board on the market that has a folding design, making it easy to transport in the trunk of a vehicle. One person can deploy and take down the sign within minutes. Learn more about InstAlert to see how they can help you share information however you need.

About All Traffic Solutions

All Traffic Solutions has been proudly serving law enforcement and municipalities for over 20 years by providing traffic safety tools such as radar signs, radar speed and message trailers, and portable message boards that can be managed remotely by our patented TraffiCloud software


Kim, S., Choi, J., Jeong, S., & Tay, R. (2014). Effects of variable message sign on driver detours and identification of influencing factors. IET Intell. Transp. Syst., 8: 87-92. https://doi.org/10.1049/iet-its.2012.0088

Shen J, Wang H.(2019). Effects of urban road variable message signs on driving behavior. Advances in Mechanical Engineering.  doi:10.1177/1687814019841843

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