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Moving the American Economy - U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Contact: Doug Hecox
(202) 366-0660
FHWA 01-07

New Report Calls for Review of Nation's Outdoor Advertising Policies

A federal report released today said policies governing outdoor advertising along interstates should be updated to reflect advances in billboard technology, and addressed other controversial aspects of the Federal Outdoor Advertising Control Program.

The report concluded that many challenges can be overcome through better cooperation among the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), state governments, the outdoor advertising industry and other stakeholders.

The U.S. Institute, a program of the Morris K. Udall Foundation, an independent Federal agency, received funding to develop the report from the FHWA. The report concluded that more work is needed to resolve issues related to billboard technology, placement of billboards, inconsistencies in enforcement and other issues. It also suggested a pilot program to study changes in outdoor advertising control regulations.

"While only a first step, this report and the discussions it generates will be of great help to us," said FHWA Administrator J. Richard Capka. "We applaud the work of the U.S. Institute of Environmental Conflict Resolution which, by helping to improve our Outdoor Advertising Control Program, will lead to safer highways."

The report, based on a neutral assessment of the nation's outdoor advertising controls, addresses difficulties in reconciling the advertising industry's use of new technology with potential risks to driver safety caused by digital billboards which, like large flat-screen televisions, make customized messages for passing motorists possible.

"We are pleased to offer this assessment of the Outdoor Advertising Control Program to FHWA and all the other stakeholders interested in outdoor advertising," said Dale Keyes, of the U.S. Institute. "We hope it leads to constructive dialogue."

Copies of the report are available online at FHWA's Web site www.fhwa.dot.gov/realestate/out_ad.htm or by request through the U.S. Institute at brooks@ecr.gov.

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