Case study

Effects of Varying Messaging Signs

A study on how wording on varying messaging signs can affect drivers’ behaviour.

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A company wanted to see if the varying messaging signs (VMS) they used had an effect on driver behaviour. To do so, they would need to be able to see car movement before, during, and after every time the signs change. The messages compared were “breakdown ahead” and “crash ahead”.


By using connected vehicle data, car movement could be analysed. This included speed, g-force, braking and accelerating. The company found that wording did have an effect on drivers with “crash ahead” having effects on speeds while “breakdown ahead” had barely any.


The data shows that “crash ahead” was more effective on drivers than “breakdown ahead”. The average, median, and 85th percentile speed all dropped during the activation of “crash ahead”. “Breakdown ahead” was found to have no effect and in some cases, cars would speed up or drive at faster speeds.
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