New MS4 Sign Driver

NHDS have been intrinsically involved in the design and development of traffic control systems for over a decade. Our Sign Drivers have been controlling Highways Agency Variable Message Signs (VMS) as well as proprietary signage since 1994. Working initially with Serco Systems, and latterly Signature, NHDS have continued to design, develop and manufacture Sign Drivers capable of controlling the whole range of Highways Agency overhead VMS Signs, up to and including the new MS4 series.



MS2 Sign

MS3 Sign

Variable Message Signs have been positioned on the UKs motorway and trunk road network since the 1970s. They typically relay general safety guidance as well as information about accidents, delays and weather conditions. The new series of MS4 signs are currently on trial on a section of the M4, and the Highways Agency are monitoring driver feedback to ensure that they meet their commitment to provide better information to drivers.

The new MS4 series signs are far more technically advanced than their predecessors. They consist of a fully programmable LED matrix with a fine pixel pitch, which include both red and amber LEDs. The new signs can display pictures as well as text. Research has shown that drivers can process and understand picture based messages up to a second quicker than pure text.

NHDS have produced a control system capable of driving these impressive new signs. HA type approval and environmental testing is due to take place in March 2005.

MS4 Sign

MS4 Sign Driver Features and Functions The flexibility of the MS4 driver means that it can be deployed in a wide range of applications and display dimensions, meeting a wide range of requirements with minimal change.

NHDS provide the MS4 software & hardware platform, comprising the MS4 device driver, its Engineers Terminal and the MS4 Simulator software.

Multiple pictograms & character sets can be uploaded to the MS4 Sign Driver in standard BMP format. Aspects are also stored as BMP file bitmaps and are easy to configure.

The MS4 driver has the ability to control any of the following types of display and can ,if required, be configured to drive them in combination:

  • Customisable matrix indicator aspects with "in-board" lantern emulation.
  • Mixed upper/lower case text in 3 fonts - as normally reserved for static signs.
  • Customisable pictograms including red warning triangles.

  • Two variants of the Sign Driver are available, allowing it to be installed within the MS4 sign itself, or into an all aluminium 2U tray. The tray is designed to fit neatly into a 600 cabinet, and is equally suitable for standalone use.

  • The Sign Driver can receive control data in a variety of formats and over a number of mediums, including RS485, TCP/IP, etc.

  • The Sign Driver is compatible with various existing control systems. There is no need to change instation or infrastructure since it can translate any configured message text strings into pictograms automatically.

  • The Sign Driver can be customised to drive any sign display that utilises an RS485 interface. Other interfaces can be readily developed.