Digital signs are here to stay regardless of efforts to thwart its growth.
With approximately 39 states in the US having laws in place that regulate the use of digital billboards, there is a quandary as to whether this technology should even be allowed. Cities such as Des Moines, St. Paul, Houston and now Los Angeles have banned all or any new digital billboards. The argument is that the billboards are distracting, therefore unsafe, or are an eyesore.
Addressing this objection, the Foundation of Outdoor Advertising Research (affiliated with the Outdoor Advertising Association) was commissioned to conduct a study. They would monitor traffic data in an area located in Rochester, Minnesota where digital billboards were located. This would take place over a five-year period.
It is good to note that the billboards were all 10 feet, six inches, double-sided and each presenting rotating ads… the typical digital billboard.
The results? The data showed no increase in traffic accidents. This supported the 2007 Cleveland study. Even more interesting, it resulted in a 4% decline for traffic accidents immediately in the vicinity of the digital billboards!
So this settles the quandary, right? Not quite. The Federal Highway Administration claims the studies are inconclusive and more studies need to be done. With this said more and more municipalities are restricting digital signage billboards.
What is the future for digital billboards? More studies will be conducted as digital billboards are added to the already existing 1,400 plus signs.
Those slow to accepting this technology and advertising media will soon accept that digital billboards are a whole lot easier on the eye than sad paper signs that slowly peel away, while offering the same message repetitively to viewers that soon tune them out.