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Commercial Electronic Changeable Message Signs (Digital Billboards) Peter J. Yauch, P.E. Program Manager, TSM&O Albeck Gerken, Inc. TRANSPO 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Commercial Electronic Changeable Message Signs (Digital Billboards) Peter J. Yauch, P.E. Program Manager, TSM&O Albeck Gerken, Inc. TRANSPO 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Commercial Electronic Changeable Message Signs (Digital Billboards) Peter J. Yauch, P.E. Program Manager, TSM&O Albeck Gerken, Inc. TRANSPO 2012

2 Billboards 2

3 Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS) 3

4 4

5 5 Political Considerations

6 Traffic Safety Concerns about CEVMS 6  Driver inattention and driver distraction  Includes texting, cell phone use, adjusting audio devices, interactions with passengers, and outside persons, events, or objects  NHTSA Study Finding – diversion of eyes from roadway greater than two seconds increased the risk of crash or near-crash involvement  AASHTO identifies need for research on impacts of CEVMS on traffic safety, initiates study through NCHRP NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration AASHTO – American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration AASHTO – American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

7 Traffic Safety Concerns about CEVMS 7  January 2008 – FHWA study initiated on effect of CEVMS on driver visual behavior and evaluation of potential risk to traffic safety  April 2009 – NCHRP study completed, identified eleven key criteria related to traffic safety that should be considered in regulations of CEVMS  Late 2010 – Anticipated completion of FHWA study on driver visual behavior  Present – FHWA study status is “delayed” NCHRP – National Cooperative Highway Research Program

8 NCHRP CEVMS Criteria 8  Minimum message display duration  Interval between successive displays  Visual effects between successive displays  Message sequencing  Amount of information displayed  Information presentation  Brightness, Luminance, and Illuminance  Display Luminance in the event of failure  Longitudinal spacing between CEVMS  Placement in relation to traffic control devices and driver decision and action points  Annual operating permits

9 Minimum Message Display Duration 9  NCHRP report recommends reducing the likelihood a driver will be able to read more than a single message  Industry desires 6 – 10 seconds per display  FDOT allows 6 seconds per display  Many local codes required longer durations  Safety theory that drivers will be attracted longer to a changing display to see the “complete” message  Base duration on typical legibility distance (1/4 mile) and speed (55 mph on Federal Aid Highways)  Recommend value of 15 seconds per display, or four messages per minute, for arterial

10 Minimum Message Display Duration 10 Advertising Message 1Advertising Message 2Advertising Message 3Advertising Message 4

11 Interval Between Successive Displays 11  NCHRP report recommends keeping the interval between successive displays at essentially zero  Theory that drivers will be attracted to the changing display to see the “complete” message  Many codes required this to be 2 seconds per change, based on mechanical “Tri-Vision” signs  Industry concurs with recommendation of “essentially zero” seconds

12 Interval Between Successive Displays 12 Advertising Message 1Advertising Message 2Advertising Message 3Advertising Message 4

13 Visual Effects Between Successive Displays 13  The NCHRP report recommends prohibiting visual effects, such as fades and dissolves, between successive displays  Theory that the visual effects are “attention getting” and potentially lead to driver distraction  Not currently addressed in many local codes  Industry concurs with prohibition of visual effects between displays

14 14 Advertising Message 1Advertising Message 2Advertising Message 3Advertising Message 4 Visual Effects Between Successive Displays

15 Message Sequencing 15  The report also recommends prohibiting a series of related messages, or that build upon an earlier message, as a form of animation  Theory that drivers will be attracted longer to a changing display to see the “complete” message  Animation is prohibited by many codes, but Message Sequencing is not defined as Animation  Recommend that successive messages on the same sign be unrelated in terms of thought or product being advertised

16 Message Sequencing 16 DRINKREFRESHINGCOLDORANGE JUICE

17 Amount of Information Displayed 17  The NCHRP report recommends requiring care in message design to prevent driver overload  Theory that drivers will be attracted longer to a “wordy” or “busy” display  Not currently addressed in many codes  Industry advises that most advertisers know that quick comprehension of a display is a basic advertising principle  Difficult to regulate – issues with free speech  Recommend not addressing in sign code revisions

18 Amount of Information Displayed 18 Alpha, Baker, Charlie, Delta, Echo, and Frank, LLC Attorneys at Law Accidents, Wills, Worker’s Comp, Product Liability, Taxes, Real Estate, Criminal Defense, Construction Law, Eminent Domain, Immigration, and Wrongful Death Offices in Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Safety Harbor, Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, East Lake, Oldsmar, Gulfport, and Pass-a-Grille Visit our website at:

19 Information Presentation 19  The report recommends requiring care in message layout (fonts, colors, contrast, etc.) to prevent driver overload  Theory that drivers will be attracted longer to a “hard to read” display  Not currently addressed in most codes  Industry advises that most advertisers know that quick comprehension of a display is a basic advertising principle  Difficult to regulate – issues with free speech  Recommend not addressing in sign code revisions

20 Information Presentation 20 Alpha, Baker, Charlie, Delta, Echo, and Frank, LLC Attorneys at Law Accidents, Wills, Worker’s Comp, Product Liability, Taxes, Real Estate, Criminal Defense, Construction Law, Eminent Domain, Immigration, and Wrongful Death Offices in Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Safety Harbor, Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, East Lake, Oldsmar, Gulfport, and Pass-a-Grille Visit our website at:

21 Brightness, Luminance and Illuminance 21  Report recommends using different lighting levels based on surroundings of sign  Technology not addressed in many sign code  Many agency sign codes often reference light levels falling on adjacent surfaces  Proposed standard of 0.3 foot-candles above ambient lighting at 100 feet from the sign – easiest to measure  Industry generally accepting of 0.3 fc requirement  Alternative light output measure  NITs – candelas per square meter – need specialized light meter  300 – 350 NITs suggested by industry  Sign should be required to have ambient light sensors to adjust light output based on conditions

22 Display Luminance in Event of Sensor Failure 22  Related to last issue, the report recommends a back- up system to dim a sign should the ambient light sensor fail  Technology not addressed in most sign codes  Described as standard practice by outdoor advertising companies – a time-of-day system that can override ambient light sensors  Industry generally accepting of these requirements

23 Longitudinal Spacing Between CEVMS 23  The NHTSA report expressed concerns about multiple signs being visible from a single location on the roadway  Theory that multiple signs increase driver distraction and overload  Also a concern of scenic preservation groups

24 Placement with Relation to Traffic Control Devices and Driver Decision and Action Points 24  The FHWA study was anticipated to provide additional input into this recommendation  Advertising signs should not obscure or detract from required traffic control devices  Recommend a review for potential traffic control device conflicts as part of site review process

25 25 Sign facing eastbound traffic Tyrone Blvd at Park Street, Pinellas Co.

26 26 Location experienced an increase in the number of night-time, rear-end and sideswipe crashes on the eastbound approach since this sign was installed. However, insufficient data to relate this increase to sign’s operation..

27 Public Service Applications 27

28 What’s Next? 28

29 Technology is here to stay 29 The Fifth Element (1999)


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