Working Group 3

Working Group 3 – Fixed and Portable VMS

Working Group 3 – Fixed and Portable VMS – 

Chair 2023/24 – Carl Dyer, Swarco 

Vice Chair 2023 – Scott Hatcher, Coeval

The application of VMS (Variable Message Signs) in strategic locations and smart management schemes on motorways and trunk roads has made VMS a familiar sight to drivers. Add to this numerous urban installations for car park guidance and general driver information and it is evident that VMS are a helpful tool in contributing to the management and free flow of traffic. Mobile VMS are invaluable in situations where drivers need to be informed amongst other topics of forthcoming events and temporary conditions.   ARTSM members in WG3 design, manufacture and install a very wide range of permanent, mobile and temporary VMS & VAS used in the UK, every type from the simplest manually operated flap sign, mechanical prismatic signs through to LED electronic signs and signals. It would be no exaggeration to claim a figure of 95% of all installations.   WG3 formulates a consensus view of members regarding standards, regulations and legislation, actively participates in writing and reviewing these documents and ensures that ARTSM representatives on the BSI B/509/11 committee are properly briefed on the issues they wish the UK delegation to present to the CEN committee. The BS EN 12966:2014 standard has been influenced by WG3 safeguarding UK interests. Two other important areas of work include:   TOPAS (Traffic Open Products and Specifications) which has taken over a number of former Highways Agency specifications and Technical Regulations (TR) including those TR specifications used for Type Approval now supersede by TOPAS product registration.   CEN/CENELEC European and BSI adopted Standards.   As noted in the Statement of Purpose an important feature in the WG3 committee’s work is a continuous review of standards and documents which may affect changes in procedures, legislation, safety standards and European harmonization and, in turn, the interests of members.

Working Group 3 Variable Message Signs – Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose for WG3 sets out the aims of the members of ARTSM who are engaged in the development, design, testing, manufacture, supply and installation of permanent, mobile and temporary VMS, VAS & SIDS intended for use on public highways in the United Kingdom.

WG3 is represented on the TOPAS management board by the current WG3 chairperson and on BSI’s shadow committee B/509/11 covering EN 12966 for VMS.   The WG aims to meet quarterly to transact business and all members are welcome to attend. Requests for agenda items are welcomed.

ARTSM supports TOPAS and urges purchasers of equipment covered under these specifications to request adherence to TOPAS specifications in their procurement processes. Most UK Local Authorities already do so. Adherence to TOPAS specifications-which it must be pointed out is voluntary-alleviates the level of specification required by purchasers. For manufacturers it ensures that one product will give access to the majority of the UK market. Information on TOPAS specifications can be found at

Next Meeting:   28/2/24; 4/6/24; 4/9/24;4/12/24

Chair March 2023/24: Carl Dyer, Swarco (third term) Deputy Chair : Scott Hatcher, Coeval