Dynamic Message Sign – how much does it really cost?

Cost of ownership of variable message signs is made of initial cost (equipment purchase cost) and operation and maintenance cost (power consumption cost, preventive maintenance cost and repair maintenance cost)

The figure graphically illustrates these costs on an example of standard amber matrix sign widely available on the markets.

USDOT ITS costs database states that operation and maintenance (O&M) cost of installed DMS annually reaches up to 5% of its capital cost

(source: www.itscosts.its.dot.gov).


During purchasing stage, operation and maintenance costs are often neglected even though they create significant amount of overall cost, during sign’s entire lifetime.

On the other hand, capital cost of equipment is usually considered as the only relevant factor during choice of suppliers, although it creates only smaller part of overall cost at the end.



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