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The advent of new electronic billboard technologies, in particular the digital Light-Emitting Diode (LED) billboard, has necessitated a reevaluation of current legislation and regulation for controlling outdoor advertising. In this case, one of the concerns is possible driver distraction. In the context of the present report, outdoor advertising signs employing this new advertising technology are referred to as Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS). They are also commonly referred to as Digital Billboards and Electronic Billboards.
The present report documents the results of a study conducted to investigate the effects of CEVMS used for outdoor advertising on driver visual behavior in a roadway driving environment. The report consists of a brief review of the relevant published literature related to billboards and visual distraction, the rationale for the FHWA research study, the methods by which the study was conducted, and the results of the study, which used an eye tracking system to measure driver glances while driving on roadways in the presence of CEVMS, standard billboards, and other roadside elements. The report should be of interest to highway engineers, traffic engineers, highway safety specialists, the outdoor advertising industry, environmental advocates, Federal policy makers, and State and local regulators of outdoor advertising.
Director, Office of Safety Research and Development
Director, Office of Real Estate Services
This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.
The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the object of the document.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.