Attention drivers: NJ turns to electronic signs to get out messages
Have you noticed? Wherever you go in Jersey, electronic message signs are flashing updates about changing weather conditions, missing seniors, congestion delays and all sorts of other things.
It takes a team of specially trained transportation analysts to control these signs.
“These devices are really about the safety of motorists and giving them the information to travel on the state’s roadways more safely,” said Sal Cowan, the senior director of transportation mobility for the state Department of Transportation.
He said a number of agencies in the Garden State are using dynamic message signs to get messages and warnings to the public.
He noted sometimes there will be reminders about not driving tipsy, or information about an Amber Alert, but “we usually put messages up there for emergent or incident management purposes, such as a crash ahead or a disabled vehicle.”
The signs on state roadways are controlled by technicians in the traffic operations centers in Woodbridge and Cherry Hill. The technicians work with the State Police and the Turnpike Authority.
Signs include fixed overhead signs and portable ones used at construction sites.
The messages on larger signs are controlled through the use of fiber lines that run underneath the roadways but the smaller ones are programmed using remote telecommunications technology.
Signs on the Turnpike are handled by Turnpike Authority personnel, and dynamic message signs approaching tunnels and bridges that cross the Hudson River are controlled by the Port Authority. Some counties have signage they control along county routes.