What are Variable Speed Limit Signs? 

What are Variable Speed Limit Signs? 

If you have travelled along an area where roadworks have been conducted, it’s likely that you have come across a Variable Speed Limit Sign (VSLS). The electronic speed limit signs are a form of traffic management equipment.  Often used to assist road workers and emergency response teams. The signs main purpose is to communicate the required speed limit to motorists.

Variable Speed Limit Sign (VSLS) are illuminated speed limit signs that are controlled electronically. Trailer mounted VSLS are mobile and can be set up in most locations. They can be moved conveniently from one location to another with the use of a standard vehicle. Primarily used by traffic control crews or construction companies to provide temporary speed limits. The speed displayed can be changed immediately to suit traffic conditions on the road. Also known as VSLS, they are highly visible and a crucial part of traffic control.  

Safe and effective traffic control can be conducted with VSLS to immediately advise the desired speed limit. Improving the safety for all parties involved including site workers and motorists. 

Where can Variable Speed Limit Sign (VSLS) be used? 

Similar to other electronic traffic control signs there are serval instances where electronic speed limit signs can be used. You may need to check with the road authority of the particular road, however the Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS) can be used across many different roads, including highways, freeways, arterial roads and local roads. VSLS are a very useful tool amongst freeway widening projects, other road repair construction sites, or any other roads where the speed limit may be changing on a regular basis. 

6 Benefits of using Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS)

  1. Increased Road Safety – Removing the need for roadworkers to be on the road and exposed to live traffic 

When used correctly, VSLS can improve the safety of both motorists and road workers onsite. Once the VSLS are set up, there is no need for any roadworks to be on the road to put out further speed limit signs or adjust the speeds on the VSLS. The VSLS are designed to operate autonomously, and remotely, removing the need for roadworkers to be on the road. 

  1. Increased Road Safety – Ensuring compliance with speed limits 

Speed limits throughout the area or roadworks can be effectively managed, meaning that the right speed for the situation is displayed. When construction is active on the road, the speed limit can be reduced for the safety of the roadworkers, and when the works are packed up for the day, the speed limit can be increased back to a safe speed to increase traffic flow efficiency. Returning speed limits to the original posted speed limit when safe to do so, can help to achieve compliance by motorists when the speed limit is actually needed to be reduced.

VSLS provide motorist with clear and simple guidance of the correct speed limit required. Roadworkers do not have to be depended on to control the flow of traffic. Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS) can reduce the risk of a collision and improve overall road safety.

  1. Effective Speed Reduction 

The speed limit is displayed on an ultra-bright high intensity display. This means maximum visibility to the approaching motorists. This ensures the required speed is visible even in changing and varied weather conditions. VSLS communicate directly to the motorists and are shown to be much more effective at communicating changing speed limits to motorists than static signs. 

  1. Remote Programming

Using the latest remote programming technology, speed limits can be changed in an instant. The operations team at RPM Hire use the latest traffic management equipment software to remotely control the display of the speed on the Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS). The traffic management software may be compatible with the relevant road authority’s own system, giving the road authority the ability to manage the speed limits if required. 

The software can have multiple users with or without restrictions to limit the control of the VSLS. This will allow only the authorised personnel to change the speeds on the signs. 

The software can integrate with one or many of the electronic speed limit signs, depending on traffic control requirements. With the ability to change and manage speeds on multiple units at once. Speed limits can be adjusted instantly according to traffic conditions and changing scenarios, thus making managing the speeds a simple process!

For scheduled speed changes, the web-based programming system can handle scheduled speed limits. For example, if the construction site needed the speed to be reduced from the posted speed limit of 80 km/hr outside of working hours to say 40 km/hr during the working hours then this can easily be scheduled to change over automatically at the pre-set times. Scheduling can also be adjusted for the different days of the week or between set times and dates. This means that if you know the speed requirements in advance, you could set a whole months’ worth of speed limits and upload to the speed limit signs once in advance. The Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS) would then change over automatically at the pre-determined times.

  1. Cost Effective 

When compared to traditional traffic control methods VSLS can be hired for a fraction of the cost. They are environmentally friendly and operate using minimal resources. The VSLS are fitted with quality solar panels that allow the VSLS to operate autonomously all year round. The unit is fitted with high capacity batteries, for operation overnight, or during periods of low sun. There is no need for traffic controllers to manually manage the speed. The overall traffic control costs can be reduced and productivity is increased. 

  1. Time saving, allowing works to go longer

As the Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS) can be changed over in an instant (including multiple units at once), there is significant time (and cost) savings when setting up a worksite. This will allow costly and important works to start sooner, rather than wait for the traffic management crews to drive around and manually adjust all the speed limits, meaning more work can be achieved during the allocated road occupancy times. 

How to set up a Variable Speed Limit Sign (VSLS)? 

The setup process of a VSLS is easy and simple. At RPM Hire we aim to make the hire process run as smooth as possible for our customers. The logistics team will deliver, set up and collect your VSLS, with minimal customer involvement. 

  • Delivery – RPM Hire will deliver the VSLS to the desired location. Our logistics team member will then safely unload the trailer mounted sign from the delivery vehicle.
  • Equipment set up – The set up of the VSLS includes stabilising the legs on the unit to ensure the unit is stable and not going to move from the desired location.


The logistics team member will ensure that the trailer is secure and safely set up at the location. This includes installing the safety locks on wheels and control boxes.

  • Ready for operation – After the set up process has been completed. The electronic speed limit sign is ready for operation. The speed can be adjusted at any time. The RPM Hire operations team can assist in changing the speed limits as required, or we can pass on the remote changing capabilities to the road authority, traffic management company or the construction team. RPM Hire can provide free training on how to use the system effectively.
  • Equipment pick up – Once the hire period has ended our logistics team member will safely begin preparing the unit for transport back to the RPM Hire depot. 
  • Peace of mind damage guarantee – At RPM Hire we offer an exclusive damage guarantee on selected items this includes the Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS). The damage guarantee shields our customers from large and complex fees against equipment damage. Damage that occurs beyond their control, including theft, vandalism, incidental damage, collisions and natural disasters. For full details visit our peace of mind damage guarantee page on our website, or ask one of our friendly staff!


How to hire a Variable Speed Limit Sign (VSLS)? 

RPM Hire operate throughout Victoria, New Sale Wales and Tasmania, but service Australia wide. We provide hire of traffic management equipment including Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS) and a range of other traffic management products. View our full range of hire equipment. For a free quote contact RPM Hire via the contact form on our website.

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