Back in the old days, directing the flow of traffic meant creating a physical sign with a message painted on it. When you needed a sign with a new message, you had to create a new sign or paint over the message on another sign. Plus, all of these signs had to be installed in the ground rather than being mounted on a trailer or trolley. Not only did this make traffic control and creating work zones more difficult, but it also came with a higher risk of accidents since a simple painted sign isn't always easy to see.

Digital message signs and sensors are some of the biggest innovations to grace the modern work zone. Creating a work zone no longer means creating individual signs; all you have to do is program a digital sign to display your message. With trolley and trailer-mounted message signs available, as well as digital sensors and speed readers, you can create a safe work zone without installing anything permanent. Here's what you need to know about how work zone sites have changed with the digital age.

Obtaining Data

The first thing smart work zones have to do is obtain data about the flow of traffic. This data is used to make smarter decisions to create a safer work zone, which includes relaying certain information to drivers. A smart work zone system can determine how many vehicles are passing a given point in a certain amount of time, how fast those vehicles are going and more. Providing accurate, real-time speed readings to drivers is an effective way to encourage them to slow down as they approach or pass through a work zone. In some cases, the data obtained through a smart work zone can be used to direct motorists to other routes that may be less congested, which reduces congestion in the work zone and reduces the risk of accidents.


Creating a safe work zone used to mean creating custom signs for one-time use, which then had to be installed at the work zone before it was safe to work. Smart work zone equipment of the modern world is portable, which means setting up a work zone doesn't take nearly as long. Plus, it doesn't take as much time or money to create a safe work zone since you can simply reuse portable equipment at each site. Trailer-mounted and trolley-mounted message signs and sensors can be used at several job sites and can be programmed to fit varying needs, which is one of the biggest components of modern work zones.


It used to be that message signs had to be painted and installed on the side of the road to clearly mark a work zone and direct the flow of traffic. Thanks to digital message signs, you no longer have to worry about creating a new message sign each time you move to a new work zone or need to display a new message. These systems are connected to a computer that allows you to simply type in a message for the sign to display. You save money since you don't have to worry about investing in new message signs for every job, plus it's significantly easier to program a new message than it is to invest in new signs.


Reliability is one of the most important factors when it comes to work zones, and the digital age has made reliability better than ever before. At the beginning of the digital age, there were simple message signs that could be programmed to display different messages. Nowadays, there are digital message signs that are equipped with a modem and can be accessed with a remote controller, which means you don't even need to have somebody onsite to manage digital message signs and other work zone safety tools.

General improvements in computers and other digital technology have also led to improved reliability. You can check on the status of message signs from a remote location to make sure they're working, plus you can troubleshoot from afar. The truth is, a good modern sensor or message sign isn't likely to have any problems you have to deal with.


The more you can automate tasks, the more money you can save and the more resources you have to invest in other areas. Setting up a safe work zone used to be a big job, but smart work zone technology has made it easier than ever. Not only are the components in a smart work zone completely portable, but they're also programmable to meet changing needs. Plus, the person who programs message signs and other smart work zone equipment can do it remotely, so you don't have to spend extra money to have more people on site. The same sensors that collect data can also be used to warn drivers about their speed and automate other small tasks. The result of all this digital technology is a safer work zone and more money in your pocket.