Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) is a generic term for a type of road traffic sign which displays a message conditional upon the presence, or speed of a vehicle. The signs are postioned on roadsides like regular traffic signs. They are intended to help drivers by alerting them and drawing attention to their speed.

These signs activate if an approaching vehicle is detected to be exceeding a preset speed in an area. The speed limit or a warning message will illuminate on the sign to remind the driver/rider to slow down. A study conducted by TRL for the UK Department for Transport, one of the conclusions was that Vehicle Activated Signs appear to be very effective in reducing speeds; in particular, they are capable of reducing the number of drivers who exceed the speed limit and who contribute disproportionately to the accident risk, without the need for enforcement such as safety cameras.

We consider the installation of a sign if a site can demonstrate a casualty reduction benefit and the site has a history collisions involving speed.

Site assessments involve consideration of the following factors:

  • What has been tried previously and what other options there are
  • The condition of the existing signing and road markings
  • Adequate forward visibility to ensure minimum 5 seconds' travel time
  • Acceptable location in relation to adjacent properties and width of verge
  • Safe access for maintenance

If appropriate, we will support community initiatives to install privately funded signs through developer contributions or parish councils.

We currently have over 100 permanent VAS signs in locations throughout the Bath and North East Somerset area, these signs displays various messages which include slow down, 20mph, 30mph, 40mph and warning signs of children near schools.

Our most recent installations are the new 20mph VAS signs, with a data collection unit, these form part of our mobile programme, where we are able to position a sign in a temporary location for a period of time and then relocate the sign to a new location on the programme,this allows the flexibility to address potential problem areas.

Variable Message Signs

VMS (Variable Message Signs) are used to provide information affecting travel to road users. Bath and North East Somerset Council have two types of signs - inner car park guidance signs (within Bath) and outer variable message signs located on the edge or periphery of Bath on key strategic routes. There are currently 9 inner car park signs showing occupancy data on the inbound routes to the car parks. Drivers can choose in advance which car park to head fo based on the number of spaces showing as available on the VMS, thereby reducing queuing and circulating traffic in the centre. There are four outer variable message signs which display information such as traffic congestion, accidents, incidents, plannied roadworks, major events, parking availability and campaigns. These are located on the A4/Bristol Road Eastbound, A39 Corston Eastbound, Lansdown Park & Ride Southbound and A367 Odd Down Park & Ride.



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