Vehicle activated signs | Oxfordshire County Council

Vehicle activated signs

Why these signs are used, and how they are funded.

Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) are the electronic displays that flash up the speed limit, or other sign to give a clear warning of an approaching hazard.. The signs are usually activated at a pre-set trigger speed by the approach of a vehicle. They alert only those who are driving above the speed limit or, if used on an approach to a hazard, too fast for the road conditions.

Why they are used

The signs appear to be effective in reducing speed, particularly of fast drivers who contribute disproportionately to the accident risk. Usually installed alone they can also be used to complement other speed-reduction measures such as traffic calming or speed cameras. Signs are currently operating at accident sites with externally funded signs at sites where there may not be a casualty history but there is a high degree of non-compliance with the speed limit.

What types of VAS are used in Oxfordshire?

VAS were first installed in the county in 2003. The majority relate to speed limits, however they can also be used to warn drivers of an approaching hazard such as a junction, crossroads or sharp bend. They are powered by mains electricity from a public power supply i.e. a street lighting column, or by solar panels.

How are VAS funded?

Signs funded from the council’s Casualty Reduction Programme

These are identified by our Road Safety Team and targeted largely to maximise potential casualty reduction, based on the reported five year injury accident history.

Signs from other county council budgets

These follow the general guidance within the VAS funding criteria document. The extent of provision will depend on their ability to support Local Transport Plan priorities and available funding.

Externally funded signs

Where there is no, or minimal casualty history but there is evidence to show a higher degree of non-compliance with the speed limit, a town or parish council and occasionally businesses, can fund VAS as low-cost accident prevention measure. The speed reduction from VAS enable communities to benefit from externally funded sites which would otherwise be beyond the resources of this Authority. See our page on externally funded traffic schemes for more information.

For further information please contact our Highway Enquiries Team.

Last reviewed
06 June 2017
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