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An InstAlert Variable Message Sign is one of the most useful parking solutions for college campuses

After two years of graduations being held virtually, having strict capacity limits, or being canceled altogether, many colleges’ spring 2022 graduations will mostly revert to pre-pandemic normalcy. Various colleges and universities are providing graduation parking information on their website, social media, and press releases to emphasize any changes or important parking details during the time of graduation. With normal graduations on the horizon, that means campus facility managers, campus security directors, and campus police have a big issue on their hands: increased traffic on college roads and in parking lots due to commencement activities. However, one of the most useful parking solutions for college campuses during this busy time can help reduce parking issues and traffic back-ups. 

One of the most effective and easy-to-implement parking solutions for college campuses during commencement is the use of portable variable message signs that can be managed remotely. This solution can help improve traffic flow around campus by allowing you to share event information in advance and direct guests to designated parking areas on graduation days. It is easy to pre-schedule messages in advance for events like commencement, and it is also easy to change messages in minutes by quickly logging in using a smartphone, tablet, desktop, or internet-connected device.

This blog covers how variable message boards connected to an online management system can reduce parking issues and traffic back-ups during graduation, and how you can implement this solution for future on-campus events. 

Reduce Traffic Congestion and Parking Issues on College Campuses During Commencement

One of the biggest pain points security and parking directors deal with on college campuses is that there is not enough parking. The increased number of visitors that drive into a college campus on graduation day results in more traffic, more parking issues, and even car accidents on occasion. In anticipation of this expected increase in traffic, traffic patterns may change on the day of the college graduation ceremonies, which may only multiply the confusion for attendees. Even something as simple as reminding drivers to use both lanes while entering a parking garage can lessen significant traffic back-ups and reduce frustration for drivers and university staff alike.

An effective way to provide graduation parking guidance, up-to-date information about changing traffic patterns, event guidance, and more on a college campus is by deploying variable message boards that can be remotely programmed using an online management system. 

An InstAlert Variable Message Sign is one of the most useful parking solutions for college campuses

Having VMS boards deployed at high traffic areas on your campus (such as intersections and parking garages) during graduation can help reduce congestion and get people into (and out of) parking lots and garages as quickly as possible. 

Variable message signs help you communicate instructions to the drivers coming into your campus. Perhaps there is additional parking down the road: a message sign will communicate that information with high visibility. If a parking area is full or reserved, it’s easy to move a portable InstAlert in front of a parking garage or lot to let drivers know they won’t be able to park there. You can program up to six different full-screen messages for one sign to rotate through, with each message being displayed for up to five seconds. 

Graduation parking messages being set up in TraffiCloud.Graduation parking messages being set up in TraffiCloud.

The versatility and portability of an electronic message board on a portable post mean parking and event staff can physically move the sign around throughout the day as needed. This is made possible since the variable message sign can run on a portable battery. However, if you’re looking for more permanent power options InstAlerts can also be powered by AC, through trailers, and solar. As the only folding variable message sign on the market, InstAlert makes storage and transportation easy. It takes only a few minutes to pick up and move the variable message sign from the entrance of the parking garage to the exit and have it face cars exiting the parking lots/garages. If you are not looking to move the sign, InstAlert can also be mounted to a permanent pole, vehicle hitch, or trailer. 

Through TraffiCloud you can set up custom messages, and set the timeframes for when those messages will appear. For example, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. you could have the sign display parking information for visitors flooding into the parking garages, and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. you can display a message congratulating the new graduating class!

If there is a concern about vandalism or theft, every InstAlert has a tamper alert function. This will send you an email or SMS notification that the sign is being tampered with, and the sign will also capture photos. You can also see where your signs are located on the TraffiCloud map with GPS tracking. You can even monitor the battery levels and status of all your signs, all in one customizable dashboard.  

For commencement ceremony guests, navigating the campus and its buildings can be difficult if they have never been there before. Having variable message signs near walkways as wayfinding signage to help guests navigate from the parking lot to the venue is another great way to help organize and streamline the process for everyone that day.

This solution is useful beyond college graduation 

Graduation is one of the busiest events of the year for colleges and universities, if not the busiest event of the year. But the busy period of graduation can last anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. However, a remotely managed traffic message board can be useful for many other events besides graduation.

InstAlert Variable Message Sign at Cleveland State University

In the instance of freshman orientation, an InstAlert combined with the ease of TraffiCloud will make it easy to guide new students where they need to go and share any important and helpful information during orientation. It is more efficient and effective to direct pedestrian foot traffic and organize cars dropping off and picking up their soon-to-be college students when you have variable message boards informing drivers where to go and where to park.

Right off the heels of freshman orientation, freshman move-in day also causes a huge influx of traffic! Colleges often have a lot of resources to help make the process as easy as possible, but on a big campus, it’s still easy to get lost. Message boards help facilitate traffic, inform families where they can and can’t park, and guide parents and students to get where they need to go. All of these benefits make it easy to prevent backups on college campuses, which is needed for the increase in traffic that happens before and after commencement ceremonies.

A variable message sign with TraffiCloud is one of the most useful parking solutions for college campuses.

Beyond the start of the new school year, universities and colleges use variable message signs for tailgates, sporting events, college-sponsored events, 5k runs, and so much more! The versatility of variable message signs is also used for public service announcements (for example, to discourage drunk and distracted driving).

A variable message sign discouraging drinking and driving

Per sign, you can program up to six screens of custom texts and graphics (for example, the school logo or mascot) to easily rotate through messages for any need you have.

The ATS Logo displayed through the TraffiCloud interface.

Graduation is a crazy weekend for everyone: university staff, the graduating class, and the friends and family coming to celebrate this accomplishment. Having a versatile, portable variable message sign is one of the best parking solutions for college campuses. Using an InstAlert sign improves the experience for everyone visiting campus, and it makes it easier for staff to share their messages with attendees. InstAlert variable message signs are used beyond commencement— they are one of the top parking solutions on college campuses.

If you’re interested in exploring how a variable message sign can help make your graduation a bit easier for all involved, you can learn more here.

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 variable message boards that can be managed remotely by our patented TraffiCloud software

ATS Gives Back

To show our appreciation for law enforcement and our commitment to public safety we started the ATS Gives Back program. With this program, we commit to donating two signs a month to police departments who demonstrate need. 

If your police department or a police department you know might be eligible, please apply with this form (and include any supporting attachments) and send it to ATSgivesback@alltrafficsolutions.com. If you want to see previous winners, you can see them here.

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