Dover Port Variable Message Displays, Dover, England

FM Conway, The Port of Dover, 2016


In 2015, the Dover Port witnessed record volumes of freight passing through (2.53 million units), an increase of five percent on 2014 – equating to £119 billion of trade annually (or 17 percent of the UK total). SWARCO Traffic’s challenge was to assist in The Port of Dover’s plan to create a 13-lane freight holding facility that caters for 220 outbound HGVs and has the ability (at capacity) to remove 4km of queuing traffic from the county’s highways and Dover itself.


A total of 15 Variable Message Signs (VMS) were specified: two being used to direct HGVs into Customs or the holding facility depending on the volume of traffic – during busy periods, HGVs are required to enter the holding facility to reduce the Port’s congestion; and 13 of the signs are installed on a 57.5 metre-long gantry at the beginning of the holding facility to gives drivers clear information on which lanes to enter. Each of the signs, which were made to order within three months and include over 160,000 individual LEDs, were required to meet the Port’s exacting light emission standards to both cater for its 24/7 freight needs while keeping light pollution and disturbance for local residents at a minimum.


Part of this programme has centred on the Traffic Management Improvement (TMI) scheme. Completed in April 2016 it has directly increased the Port’s capacity to retain vehicles (including HGVs) within its boundaries to reduce traffic, congestion and emissions from the town and local roads – and in doing so provide a further boost to the local economy. Previously, and at peak periods, the Dover Traffic Access Protocol (TAP) would be implemented, where HGVs would queue in a facility on the A20.