VMS reduces congestion at UK harbor


The UK division of the Austrian traffic technology supplier Swarco has deployed its intelligent Variable Message Sign (VMS) technology at the newly upgraded Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal to help better manage the port’s traffic flow.

Swarco Traffic Ltd has installed five of its high-performance VMS to advise drivers on lane information, managed via a local control system so that messages can be adjusted in-line with traffic flow. The signs are equipped with energy efficient LEDs capable of displaying full color text and images with no restrictions. Scheduled messages can be programmed, or emergency messages displayed with ease. Swarco’s patented lens technology enables the fitting of the optical lens directly in the matrix plate, with no need for a distorting front screen. The sign’s unique optical design avoids the problems associated with reflections, even at low sun positions they offer high legibility. Integrated sensors for temperature and lighting means the VMS are adaptable to different ambient light conditions.

The capacity at Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal has significantly increased following a £6m (US$7.4m) upgrade project undertaken by Graham Construction. The Terminal can now handle larger ships and manage increased volumes of traffic from the additional cruise passengers. Installation of the signs was completed in July 2019, and the contract follows Swarco’s successful work at the Port of Dover, playing a key role in the £85m (US$105m) Traffic Management Improvement scheme to better manage and control vehicles through a new freight holding facility at the port to remove more than 2.5 miles (4km) of queuing traffic from Kent’s highways.

“We were impressed with Swarco’s experience of working in the port and harbor industry, and its track record in guiding drivers with clarity,” said Jim Armour, contracts manager at Graham. “The VMS technology delivers reliability, flexibility and ease of use, and it is supporting us in smoothly managing the flow of traffic.”

Mark Hickmott, head of operations and projects at Swarco Traffic, said, “We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality VMS in the industry. We are pleased to help make traffic management as seamless and stress free as possible at the port.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.