Traffic sign automation with IoT

Traffic Sign Remote Monitoring and Control

Traffic authorities have a problem: sign management over large areas gets expensive. These signs and lights are important traffic control devices that notify drivers of poor road conditions, slow or stopped traffic ahead, the need for snow tires and more. The most expensive way to do it is manually, i.e. driving an entire area to verify that signs are working as designed. With no remote monitoring or control of sign status, Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are left with few options other than to have road crews, police officers or snow plow drivers check on signs throughout very large regions often covering many thousands of miles of roadway.

Remote monitoring and control is a great solution, and one that needs to meet a few goals:

  • Reliability: it doesn’t help to install a solution that needs constant on-site troubleshooting or fails to deliver the needed feedback.
  • Affordability: traffic authorities have budgets and increases often require politics, public feedback, and more.
  • Ease-of-Use: not all system users are technical, so overly complex solutions reduce usefulness with DOT staff.

A reliable, affordable and easy solution can be found with ControlByWeb’s flexible I/O controllers, putting the data from each sign and light into one location where it can be understood and acted upon. Our solution is easy to implement, inexpensive to deploy and simplifies remote data acquisition and control for DOT employees.

Common Sign Management Problems

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Inconvenient Monitoring

The growing number of traffic signs makes keeping track of every one difficult and unrealistic.

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Typical low cost monitoring is usually unreliable, defeating the purpose of a control system.

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Too Expensive

Low cost monitoring and control is often unreliable, costing more to maintain.

ControlByWeb™ Solutions

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Information is quickly and easily condensed into one browser on your phone or computer from anywhere in the world.

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Reliable & Flexible

Reliability and flexibility are a number 1 priority, giving you peace of mind and the ability to adapt.

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Cost Effective

Our high quality products don’t come with high price tags and fit well within a typical budget.


Case Study: Nevada DOT

Gregg Thompson of the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) manages district 3, which covers the northeast quandrant of the state and has a lot of open, remote land. When he started with the department, he noticed a severe waste of money, time and fuel. NDOT had been maintaining the digital traffic signs throughout the district individually and in person.

Costly, Manual Management

These signs required manual management, which meant that in the winter, plow drivers needed to drive over a summit to physically see that the signs were on before they could start for the day. Having employees drive between signs to inspect and repair them, puts employee’s lives at risk. Unnecessary driving also wastes time that could’ve been better spent a different way.

These signs are critical, and the need for them is only growing. Lives are saved every year by the automated icy road signs that can power on when temperatures and road conditions reach a certain threshold. But as they were managed at the time, the cost to maintain and monitor them felt like a huge waste.

Gregg needed a feedback loop for remote communication, so he looked for a simple, automated solution. Luckily, he found ControlByWeb and our 400 Series and X-600M products.

Chains or Snow Tires Required When Lights Are Flashing Sign

Remote, Centralized Monitoring & Control

Before, information was scattered and far too difficult to maintain. Each sign required attention and eventually the gathered data would need to be compiled. By swapping to our monitoring system, every sign in his district could be easily monitored in one place, despite being in such a remote area.

The NDOT swapped over to cellular modems, meaning they don’t have to worry about finding a way to get network connection to each sign. The new monitoring and control systems were put in place and over 300 signs can be checked with a single browser. If a sign hasn’t been turned on, the problem can be identified from a central command center where they have remote light control.

In his fleet of X-410 and X-600M units, over 600 individual I/O are being monitored, and a large majority are being controlled. With the easy use and access of the task builder, Gregg is able to avoid complicated coding and drawn out troubleshooting. If he encounters an issue, he can quickly call the ControlByWeb support team and avoid long wait times.

Signs can be monitored and reset, as well as the X-410 can create fully automated traffic solutions. Gregg has combined both an X-410 and a self contained radar sensor to trigger a “Slow Down” sign to power on when traffic slows down. No one has to watch cameras or keep track of typical traffic hours. Everything is automated and and can be easily checked on and updated from a phone or computer.

The rest of Nevada has seen the possibilities and are working towards the same solution. Instead of putting lives at risk on the road and wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in man hours, this otherwise daunting task can be simply handled from a browser in the command center. These control systems can be very easily installed and customized in similar situations all over the world, and the possibilities are endless.

Reliability Leads to Safety and Efficiency

A growing population leads to more drivers, and an increased need for more digital traffic signs. NDOTs district 3 is one of many remote areas that benefits from a flexible data acquisition system. After finding our reliable ControlByWeb products, Gregg has created a seamless system that has completely transformed the NDOT workload, eliminating unnecessary driving, keeping employees safe and saving time and money.

Frequently Asked Questions


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