Virtual-DMS systems that disseminate roadside information using RSUs cost roughly 80 percent less than traditional DMS systems.

An evaluation of connected vehicle technology for ITS deployments.

Chantilly; Virginia; United States

Summary Information

This report compared the costs of implementing two alternative designs for traveler information systems. The cost to implement and operate a network of traditional roadside dynamic message signs (DMSs) was compared to the cost to implement and operate an in-vehicle messaging system (virtual-DMS) supported by traveler information broadcast on a Connected Vehicle (CV) network in the same area.

The cost comparison evaluated at a high level the capital costs to deploy traditional and virtual DMS systems along a two mile section of I-66 in Northern Virginia where Route 28 and I-66 meet. The traditional DMS system included two DMSs for each side of the freeway, related supporting structures and controllers, and a half-mile of fiber-optic communication link. The virtual-DMS system consisted of two roadside units (RSU) one for each side of the freeway, and backhaul communication infrastructure at each installation site.

The table below excerpted from the source report shows a comparison of capital costs for traditional DMS versus virtual-DMS at one location covering both directions of travel on an interstate highway.

Traditional DMS Item
Traditional DMS Total Average Cost
CV-Based Virtual-DMS Item
CV-Based Virtual-DMS Total Maximum Cost
DMS (2)
RSU (2)
Support Structures (2)
Communications and Power (0.5 mile)
Backhaul Comm (2)
Controller and Other (2)

The virtual-DMS system was estimated to have fewer asset requirements and labor costs compared to the traditional DMS system that requires large mounting structures. The virtual-DMS system, however, would require compatible CV-equipped vehicles, transferring some of the cost to the traveling public. This cost, however, could be offset somewhat through governmental incentive programs designed to implement newer less expensive solutions as older legacy systems are retired.

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Effects on Intelligent Transportation Systems Planning and Deployment in a Connected Vehicle Environment

Author: Krechmer, D.,

Published By: U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration

Source Date: 07/01/2018

Other Reference Number: FHWA-HOP-18-014


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Cost ID: 2019-00416