Case Study: Bespoke Tunnel Signage Solution For TFL

20th June 2024


Messagemaker Displays Ltd. has supplied a bespoke retrofit LED Tunnel Lane Control Signal (TLCS) sign solution to meet the Transport for London (TfL) specification. The TLCS signs, installed in the Fore Street Tunnel in north London, were designed to be easy and swift to install, allowing the replacement work to be completed in just one night.

The TLCS signs are used to control traffic through the tunnel by displaying either a green vertical arrow to show the lane is open, or a red ‘X’ where lanes are closed. Working closely with Cubic Transportation Systems, (who manage the traffic technology as sub-contractor to Kier for the TfL Road Tunnels contract), Messagemaker Displays was tasked with developing a solution that could replace the existing TLCS signs.

The new signs needed to be fully compatible with TfL control systems and fit the existing mounting structure and connections. Ensuring minimal adaptations were required was an essential consideration to help reduce the potentially substantial cost of replacing fittings and connectors.

Cubic Lane Control Sign in a Tunnel for TFL showing a Red Cross

To achieve this, Messagemaker Displays’ experienced engineers discussed the requirements with Cubic to fully understand the challenge – they then interrogated the specification and data on the existing signage. Messagemaker Displays then used its standard dual aspect lane control signs as a basis but developed a bespoke housing that would fit onto the brackets already in place, whilst also meeting the required IP ratings.

The bespoke Messagemaker Displays lane control signs are lightweight and as an LED product require far less energy than the previous generation of signage. This was an important requirement for TfL due to both the operational cost and the pressure on all public organisations to reduce environmental impact.

The focussed beam width provided by the Messagemaker Displays LED lenses means that the symbol displayed is clearly visible to drivers when they are approaching the sign. In addition, the Messagemaker Displays lane control signs allow the brightness of the sign to be changed remotely so the installation team can easily adjust it based on where the sign has been installed to ensure maximum visibility

Cubic Lane Control Signage with a red cross lit up in a TFL Tunnel

The bespoke units were a success and allowed the replacement of all the TLCS signage in the Fore Street Tunnel in a single night, minimising any disruption to traffic on this busy section of the North Circular. The success of this first installation has meant that the bespoke Messagemaker Displays TLCS signs are being rolled out for use on other tunnels throughout the TfL network.

To find out more about Messagemaker Displays visit

“The service we have received from Messagemaker Displays has been integral to the success of this upgrade.”
“The TLCS signs met all our requirements and proved straightforward to install, with minimal additional work required, providing a blueprint for the upgrade of similar signage.”
Neil Ashford, Senior Field Services Managers at Cubic Transport System
Lane Control Signage installed by Cubic for TFL
Santosh, Messagemaker Displays Technical Director
“We are extremely pleased with the results of our collaborative work with Cubic on the design of these TLCS units.”
“It is a testament to the skills and experience of our engineers that we were able to achieve the TfL requirements in a cost-effective way, while helping to ensure the installation process would be as simple as possible.”
Santosh Surabi, Technical Director at Messagemaker Displays