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Australian Road Research BoardDecember 7, 20221 min read

Variable message signs - do they work?

Variable message signs have been introduced to Darwin roads to start a larger rollout across the Northern Territory by the NT and Federal Governments.

There's been significant interest in the Top End in how they work - especially whether they can help reduce the road toll and help get drivers to where they going more easily.

Aimed at providing timely and accurate information to road travellers, the signs are integrated with Intelligent Transport Systems to display messaging based on real-time road information.

The aim of the signs is to enable efficient management of traffic flows in the event of road crashes and congestion. The signs will also enable information to be provided to motorists about road closures or flooded roads, traffic detours and emergencies, as well as other road safety messages.

Signs have been installed initially in the Darwin and Palmerston region.

Stage 2 will see signs go up around Central Australia and the Barkly.

Stage 3 will complete the project, with signs installed on the Kakadu, Arnhem, Victoria and Stuart highways in the Arnhem and Katherine regions.

ARRB National Road Safety Lead David McTiernan was interviewed on ABC Radio Darwin about variable message signs, and their effectiveness. His interview with ABC's Jo Laverty and Adam Steer is below.