Help Forum

Help requested posted on 1st August 2016:

Digital advertising screens

Has anyone experience of large-scale digital advertising screens? We are being asked for our views on placement of these large-scale screens along or nearby highways. I would appreciate views of those that are, or have gone through the planning phase. And LAs who have had them installed and whether they are experiencing road safety concerns following installation.

Amber Kerens Bathmaker

Reply to this request


Response posted on 2nd August 2016 by:
Lance Fogg

E: lance@arena-associates.co.uk
T:

Digital Advertising Screens

Transport for London should be able to advise you comprehensively. All such signs proposed for erection on the TfL Network are subject to their own internal safety procedures including an independent road safety audit.


Response posted on 2nd August 2016 by:
Kate Carpenter

E: kate.carpenter@jacobs.com
T:

reports on advertising distraction

Two studies on these were presented to PACTS road environment working group, the TfL one 9which showed they do distract drivers, but can be placed to make that minimised) and TRL who did a separate study. The company who promotes the screens was manfully trying to defend their use, but was on a hiding to nothing; as adverts they will only work if they distract people enough and for a long enough period, and by definition that must be adverse for road safety especially vulnerable users eg cyclists, motorcyclists and peds who are smaller and easier to miss. TRL study here http://sosglasgow.com/Save_Our_Skyline/Articles/Entries/2015/10/12_Traffic_Safety!_files/TRL%20report%20Investigating%20Driver%20Distraction%20PPR409.pdf and a Rees Jeffreys study here http://www.reesjeffreys.co.uk/reports/Roadside%20distractions%20final%20report%20(Brunel).pdf


Response posted on 2nd August 2016 by:
Robert

E: Robert.Swears@opus.co.nz
T:

More Reports on Advertising Distraction

While the report is a bit old, you may be interested in the following.

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2003/08/17782/23546

In this paper (only a summary is available through the link), Brendan Wallace notes (inter alia) "It is possible that the causal explanations produced by drivers for their own behaviour are influenced by social factors (for example, fear of prosecution)" That is, after someone has been involved in a collision, even if they were distracted by a digital advertising screen they may be unlikely to admit it because of the potential for them to incur liability for the collision.

Another report (for which I can't find a link) prepared by Samuel G Charlton regarding sign recognition studies, based on road users "travelling" in a driving simulator, found that the "warning" sign most recognised by participants was a McDonalds advertising sign. While the participants failed to recall warning signs. As noted by Kate Carpenter, advertising signage only works if it distracts people for a long enough period for them to comprehend the message. A conclusion of the study by Charlton is that advertising signage was recalled by all participants more consistently than the warning and advisory signage containing the messages we are trying to convey to road users.


Response posted on 3rd August 2016 by:
Andrew Fraser

E: andrew.fraser@falkirk.gov.uk
T:

Digital advertising screens

I'm not sure that we will ever get this form of bullying under control through the "road safety" route, if only because of the difficulty of proving the link between any particular advertisement (digital or otherwise) and a road accident. I suspect that the "amenity" route will bear more fruit, unless we've all become utterly de-sensitised to the various forms of damage to which advertising contributes.
Lord Harrison did his best to clear the country of adverts on trailers beside motorways, but that seems to have failed - one does wonder whether the roads authority (whatever that is) is thinking about ... but that's another problem.
Items of note, other than the above, include:

http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=2334

and this is worth a look:

http://www.scenic.org/billboards-a-sign-control/digital-billboards/swedish-digital-billboard-safety-study

which tops a list of articles:

related:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23682577 effects of electronic billboards on driver distraction

(including a DOT study with a surprising conclusion).

Readers (if they got this far) might be interested in the Sao Paulo experience:

https://www.newdream.org/resources/sao-paolo-ad-ban

I don't know about anyone else, but I HAVE been distracted by an advertisement, and I HAVE very nearly run into the back of the vehicle in front of me. Like everyone else I do NOT have complete control of where I am looking - if I did, I don't think I would have survived for so long.

As George Orwell said "Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket" - and that's where it should be left - not along our roads.

(Well, OK, it's a necessity, and some of it is admirable, in a way, but outdoor advertising, by whatever means, does need much firmer control than our current feeble - hard to understand - system allows. )


Response posted on 8th August 2016 by:
Ian McPhail

E: 1059@merseyside.police.uk
T:

Large Screens

Amber I have passed your request to Jayne Black Liverpool Council as they have a large one outside the main city centre train station


Response posted on 11th August 2016 by:
Mark Foweraker

E: m.foweraker@cardiff.gov.uk
T:

Digital advertising screens

We have a number of these in Cardiff and we have standard planning conditions and we also require a Road Safety Audit for those which can be seen from the Highway.

On illumination these are common with static internally or externally illuminated advertising panels. 600 cd/m daytime - 300 cd/m night-time.
We are considering if this should be reduced at the times we are going to be dimming street lighting. We are considering the need for active illumination control or other conditions to prevent "dazzle" when a light poster replaces a dark one.

In terms of distraction there should little difference as the result of the digital aspect as long as:-
The image is static (no animation or apparent moving images)
The minimum display time is sufficient (10 seconds) and the transition is by a 2 second fade.
We are considering the need to prohibit the sign reacting to external events (in the US some signs identify specific approaching vehicle types and target the driver and I have heard BA had one that pointed to passing BA planes)
In a specific case we are intending to condition prohibiting one sign being linked to another that is nearby to prevent additional distraction of seeing one directing drivers to look at the other.
In another case we are considering if our control room should be able to 'black out' a sign that would be near a point of regular queuing.


Response posted on 19th January 2017 by:
Ron Brown

E: ronb488@gmail.com
T:

Digital advertising screens

I have encountered an incredible advertising screen in South Tyneside.
This screen - approx 3.5m diagonal is on the central reservation of the A194, a national speed limit section of dual carriageway, & approximately 150 metres from a roundabout.
At night, the screen is so bright as to affect night vision, & is positioned to attract the attention of drivers.
I can't believe that this is even legal, let alone sensible.

Any advice please on where to raise a complaint


Response posted on 19th January 2017 by:
Ron Brown

E: ronb488@gmail.com
T:

Digital advertising screens

I have encountered an incredible advertising screen in South Tyneside.
This screen - approx 3.5m diagonal is on the central reservation of the A194, a national speed limit section of dual carriageway, & approximately 150 metres from a roundabout.
At night, the screen is so bright as to affect night vision, & is positioned to attract the attention of drivers.
I can't believe that this is even legal, let alone sensible.

Any advice please on where to raise a complaint


Response posted on 19th January 2017 by:
Ron Brown

E: ronb488@gmail.com
T:

Digital advertising screens

I have encountered an incredible advertising screen in South Tyneside.
This screen - approx 3.5m diagonal is on the central reservation of the A194, a national speed limit section of dual carriageway, & approximately 150 metres from a roundabout.
At night, the screen is so bright as to affect night vision, & is positioned to attract the attention of drivers.
I can't believe that this is even legal, let alone sensible.

Any advice please on where to raise a complaint


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