The rural deployment of dynamic message signs (DMSs) has been more limited than its deployment in urban areas because of the more dynamic nature of traffic conditions and heavier traffic volumes. However, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) was awarded a rural safety improvement program (RSIP) grant in 2008 to deploy DMSs and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras on some rural segments of highway in the southeast region of Missouri. The University of Missouri performed an evaluation of the deployments with a focus on obtaining the perception of motorists toward DMSs in rural areas, evaluating the impact of DMSs in alerting drivers of an upcoming work zone, and evaluating the impact of DMSs in diverting traffic to a detour route during full freeway closure.
A qualitative survey was conducted at two locations along Interstate 55, at gas stations at Exits 129 and 91 during August 2010. Between the two locations, 198 surveys were collected to obtain the perceptions of motorists, rather than to measure specific variables. Answers to survey questions were coded from 1 to 5 (strongly disagree to strongly agree) and "mean answers" were determined for various demographic groupings.
The overall "mean answer" to questions relating to the information provided by the DMSs were rated between "agree" and "strongly agree". Questions included those about their satisfaction with information provided, ease of understanding, accuracy, and readability. Questions also asked whether drivers felt that the information provided on the DMSs led to better decisions and safer conditions.
Overall, 94 percent of respondents indicated that they took the action instructed by the DMSs, including 98 percent of truck drivers and 96 percent of people traveling for work purposes.