ARTSM, founded in 1934 as a trade association for the makers of traffic signs, now represents companies engaged in the manufacture of all types of highway-related products, from the original traffic signs to reflective film, variable message signs, traffic signals, traffic control and telecommunications equipment, sign posts, passively safe sign systems, bollards, sign lights, sign design software and road studs.
In 1934 five leading traffic sign makers formed a trade association which they named The Association of Road Traffic Sign Makers. From the very beginning, the new association aimed to raise standards in the industry, and lobbied for the introduction of a British Standard, which was published in 1939 as BS 873. Eighty three years later ARTSM (the designatory letters now stand for The Association for Road Traffic Safety and Management) represents companies engaged in the manufacture of all aspects of highway - related products, from the original traffic signs to reflective film, fixed and portable variable message signs, permanent and temporary traffic signals, traffic control and telecommunications equipment, sign posts and fixings, passively safe sign systems, sign installation, lit and retroreflective bollards, sign lights, marker posts, sign design software and road studs. ARTSM operates four working groups, all aimed at developing key areas of the industry: bollards and sign illumination, traffic signs, fixed and portable VMS, and traffic signal and control. Members are encouraged to participate in the working groups and help shape their particular sector. The Association is active in a range of technical work, including BSI committees on traffic signs and variable message signs, and is also consulted by the Department for Transport on the development of new Traffic Signs Regulations and updated versions of the Traffic Signs Manual. It is also a founder-member of the TOPAS Group, which, now that the former Highways Agency no longer fulfils this function, manages and develops technical specifications for traffic control equipment and offers a means for customers to verify compliance with these through its product registration system.