Techspan Systems

Variable Message Signs

In today's world, people on the move, whatever their mode of transport, expect up to the minute, accurate information. Techspan Systems is a specialist supplier of electronic information display systems, which provide route guidance information to the traveling public. We design, develop and manufacture our own products and provide comprehensive installation, maintenance and support services.

The company's policy is to develop technologies and products that have the widest possible application and enable Techspan to provide an expectation exceeding service to its customers.


As part of the technology division of Hill & Smith Limited, Techspan provides a comprehensive range of Variable Message Signs (VMS) offering complete and cost effective signage schemes for highway, road and tunnel construction and renewal projects. The company currently holds significant VMS supply contracts with the Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly Government and various local government authorities within the UK.

Techspan variable message signs fully meet the exacting standards set by the Highways Agency and adopted throughout the United Kingdom. In particular they fully conform to EN12966 (TR2136) for optical performance, ensuring optimum visibility under all operating conditions. Signs can be supplied and installed on portal gantries, full and 'offset-T' cantilever gantries or trailer mounted for temporary operation in road works or for event management.


MS4 is the latest generation variable message sign and is designed to display both pictograms and text. The MS4 increases the intelligibility of information by the use of internationally recognised warning symbols. It is modular in construction and can be supplied in a variety of sizes. All areas can display both amber and red coloured characters or symbols.


Two, three or four-row character signs with up to 18 characters per row to display more detailed text-only messages; these signs are available in a range of character sizes to ensure clarity of visibility for different road conditions and traffic speeds.

They can also have the addition of a matrix panel to show two-digit advisory speed limits, highway lane closure symbols or short words such as 'fog'. These additions are knows as Enhanced Matrix Indicators (EMI). MS3 signs are normally mounted on a cantilever gantry structure, overhanging the highway to ensure maximum visibility.


The UTMC (Urban Traffic Management and Control) technical standard was established by the UK Department for Transport to enable a single modern control system to manage a wide variety of traffic control and parking systems in a town or city centre. UTMC has given birth to a range of smaller character based signs that provide drivers with information about traffic conditions and parking availability.

Techspan supplies complete UTMC compliant systems including all control system software, communications, installation and through-life support. Signs are designed and manufactured to meet the full range of requirements, from simple available car parking spaces combined with a standard TSRGD plate sign, to large, text-based variable message signs using 100mm or 160mm characters, thereby complementing the range of larger MS3 and MS4 models.


These indicators are simple matrix panels with the capability to show two-digit advisory speed limits, highway lane closure symbols or short words. CMI signs conform to the requirements of mandatory speed limit signs and comprise a red circle surrounding a display matrix that can show variable speed limits, set remotely depending on prevailing road conditions. The signs are also linked to police speed enforcement cameras, the threshold for which is changed depending on the sign setting.

Both of these signs can be either post-mounted or placed on an overhead 'bridge' or 'portal' gantry with one sign per lane on a multi-lane highway.

Contact Details

Techspan Systems
Griffin Lane
HP19 8BP
United Kingdom
+44 1296 673 000
+44 1296 673 002