Bilingual Variable Message Signing on Canada's Federal Road Network

Providing up-to-date information on road conditions can be an invaluable tool in maintaining safe operations on major roadways. The use of variable message signs to convey this information is becoming a standard on many roadways. For roads under the jurisdiction of the Canadian federal government, signing is required in both French and English. This presents a unique challenge in variable message signing. EBA was commissioned by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and Parks Canada Agency (PCA) to undertake the planning and design of four bi-lingual variable message signs (VMS) along the Alaska Highway and two on the Trans-Canada Highway through Banff National Park. A key component of the study was to develop a message display strategy to display both English and French. Factors included the sequencing of messages (sequential for each language vs. simultaneous display), number and size of characters, consistency of message content and visibility. It was recommended that messages be displayed simultaneously on a four line display panel with two lines per language with English in amber and French in white. Customized bilingual message libraries were created. Each library included messages specific to the needs of the particular highway corridor including message for construction, road closures, weather, and special events. The length and layout of each message was carefully chosen to ensure the desired message is transmitted while optimizing the comprehension of the stated message. (A) For the covering abstract of this conference see ITRD record number 201209RT334E.

  • Corporate Authors:


  • Authors:
    • MERLO, M
    • Smiley, A
    • SYME, R
    • Taheri, A
    • HORWOOD, A
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2013


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 15 p.
  • Monograph Title: Calgary 2013 - The Many Faces of Transportation - Technical Compendium

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01494285
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transportation Association of Canada (TAC)
  • Files: ITRD, TAC
  • Created Date: Sep 24 2013 12:59PM