Intelligent Roadway Information System

Dynamic Message Signs (DMS)

Select View ➔ Message Signs ➔ DMS menu item

A dynamic message sign (DMS) is a sign which is capable of changing the message displayed to motorists. They can be classified as character-matrix, line-matrix or full-matrix depending on the spacing between pixels. Some are monochrome and others support full color display. All of these configurations are supported.

The following features are supported:


Each DMS can have a number of styles, depending on its current state. Styles are ordered by precedence, determining which color a map marker is drawn.

Style Description
Available Sign is blank and ready to use
Deployed Displaying an operator-defined message
Schedule Displaying a scheduled message
External Displaying a message from an external system (not IRIS)
Maint. Sign requires maintenance, but might still be functional
Failed Communication failure to sign
Purpose Dedicated-purpose sign (travel time, wayfinding, etc.)
All All signs


There are a number of fields available for configuring a DMS.

Field Description
External beacon beacon controlled when sign messages are deployed
Static graphic image of static sign in which DMS is inset
Device purpose general or dedicated purpose for sign operation
Hidden hide sign when available or deployed styles are selected


Sign groups and associated sign text libraries can be managed in the Messages tab.

All sign groups are displayed in the table, even if the DMS is not a member of that group. To add the DMS to a group, select the Member check box.

When a sign group is selected, its message library is displayed in the sign text table. Each row contains a message for one line of the sign. The rank determines sort order in message lists.

The message preview displays a graphical rendering of the selected sign text.

Select an override font to use a font other than the default font from the sign configuration.


MULTI is the MarkUp Language for Transportation Information used to compose DMS messages. It is defined by the NTCIP 1203 standard. Messages in MULTI are ASCII strings, with formatting or other instructions denoted by tags inside square brackets. For example, the [nl] tag indicates a new line. Most of the useful MULTI tags are supported.

Tag Description Supported
[cbx] Message background color Yes
[pbz] [pbr,g,b] Page background color Yes
[cfx] [cfr,g,b] Foreground color Yes
[crx,y,w,h,z] [crx,y,w,h,r,g,b] Color rectangle Yes
[fx,y] Field data No
[fltxoy] [floytx] Flashing text No
[fox] [fox,cccc] Change font Yes
[gn] [gn,x,y] [gn,x,y,cccc] Place graphic Yes
[hcn] Hexadecimal character No
[jln] Line justification Yes
[jpn] Page justification Yes
[msx,y] Manufacturer specific No
[mv] Moving text No
[nl] [nls] New line Yes
[np] New page Yes
[ptn] [ptnof] Page time Yes
[scx] Character spacing Yes
[trx,y,w,h] Text rectangle Yes

Quick Messages

A quick message is a fully composed DMS message which can be associated with a sign group. They are created using the WYSIWYG editor.

When a DMS is selected, a drop-down list is populated with quick messages from sign groups of which that DMS is a member. Quick messages are also used for DMS actions as part of an action plan. For these messages, it is best to leave the sign group blank.

Prefix Page is a flag which indicates that the quick message can be combined with an operator message. When a DMS action uses a prefix page quick message, operator messages will be modified by prepending the quick message before each page. Care must be taken to ensure the combined message can be displayed on the sign. This feature could be used, for example, to put a graphic logo on all messages displayed on a sign.


Select View ➔ Message Signs ➔ Words menu item

DMS messages can be checked against allowed and banned word lists when an operator presses the Send button.

Allowed Words

Allowed word checking is controlled by the dict_allowed_scheme system attribute:

dict_allowed_scheme Description
0 Disable checking allowed word list
1 Suggest replacement of words not in allowed list
2 Reject messages containing words not in allowed list

This list is also used for abbreviation of incident DMS messages.

Banned Words

Similarly, the dict_banned_scheme system attribute controls banned word functionality:

dict_banned_scheme Description
0 Disable checking banned word list
1 Suggest replacement of words in banned list
2 Reject messages containing words in banned list

When appropriate, a form appears to suggest changes or inform the operator of a rejected message.