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Feds Greenlight Digital Billboards

Date: October 02, 2007



Feds Give Green Light to Digital Billboards


(Washington, DC) – Digital billboards are not banned by existing federal rules and regulations, and states should continue to develop acceptable guidelines for their use, according to a new memorandum from the Federal Highway Administration. The memo gives states the ability to approve guidelines for new billboard technology without the fear of running afoul of federal standards.

“This answers an important question: if a static message on a billboard is changed by digital technology, is that billboard ‘flashing?’ The government said the answer is ‘no,’ “ said Ken Klein, executive vice president of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.

The memorandum, signed by FHWA Associate Administrator for Planning, Environment and Realty Gloria M. Shepherd updates a 1996 memo which allowed changeable message billboards. The 1996 memo said states could allow changeable message billboards if they don’t flash or feature motion video or intermittent light.

In the last two years, 10 more states have enacted laws or regulations to allow digital billboards. Digital billboards can deliver emergency and public safety information, such as AMBER Alerts and disaster information in real time. They give advertisers greater flexibility in reaching customers, as well as reduced production costs. The boards are also used by law enforcement to aid in the apprehension of fugitives and to seek tips.

Of the 450,000 billboards in America, an estimated 700 are digital. 
The OAAA is the largest trade association representing the outdoor advertising industry. It is dedicated to leading and uniting a responsible outdoor advertising industry that is committed to serving the needs of consumers, advertisers and the public. OAAA’s nearly 1,000 member companies generate $6.8 billion annually in ad revenues, represent more than 90% of industry income, and donate space to charitable organizations in excess of $390 million each year.


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