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Roadside advertising: when is it safe?


When it comes to road safety, roadside advertising is an emerging aspect of the road environment.

Roadside advertising is continuing to grow, with new signage regularly being installed. Often new advertising signs are being installed with emerging digital displays that allow for multiple messages to be displayed on the one sign. As you drive along the road these days, you will likely see several examples of these signs. Did you know that traffic engineers are involved in designing them?

Traffic engineers assist with the design of advertising signage to assess if locations are suitable from a road safety perspective. Our process for assessing the safety of roadside advertising takes into account each sign’s unique position.

We assess the sign's particular elements and whether it is appropriate for that specific part of the road.

There are two key elements to the road safety assessment of advertising signs as follows:

  • The sign display – The physical nature of the sign is important from a road safety perspective. Elements such as the brightness and luminance of the sign, the time that the sign ‘dwells’ on each message and the transition between advertising messages is important to avoid involuntary capture of driver attention. Typically, controls are placed on the advertising messages to manage the display of information and how it interacts with passing drivers.

  • The location of the sign – The second important element is the physical location of the advertising sign. Important considerations include the potential safety hazard of the sign structure, where the sign is visible to drivers and the areas where drivers are most likley to read the advertising sign. Our assessments consider the driving task in the areas where the sign can be read and comprehended by drivers and the possible impact on road safety.

We are often called in to assess the road safety implications of new sign proposals, to assure councils and the Department of Transport that the proposed roadside advertising is appropriate for the road environment.

Recently, we had a project involving a proposed digital sign on an urban freeway in Melbourne. The sign was refused initially by the freeway authority because they thought it would be too distracting, and the case went to VCAT. We provided an expert evidence statement, which deemed the sign to be appropriate for the location based on the throughout assessment of the sign messages and sign location. Upon reviewing the expert evidence statement, the freeway authority withdrew their objection to the road safety aspects of the sign.

If you are looking to utilise roadside advertising, you need to review the road safety impacts - For both your own and the road authority's peace of mind, we are happy to help. Quantum Traffic can provide expert evidence and consultation to implement safe roadside advertising.

To find out more, get in contact with us today.


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