Friday, December 4, 2009

Tampa Bay Citizens Oppose Digital Billboards

Tampa Bay citizens and neighborhood groups are actively opposing a proposal to allow digital billboards in the city for the first time. The bill stems from a proposed legal settlement between the city and Big Billboard that hinges on the legalization of digital billboards in exchange for the removal of static billboards elsewhere. Residents voiced their opposition in a public hearing and raised concerns about the distracting nature of digital billboards, which rotate ad copy as frequently as every eight seconds and have been found to be a distraction to motorists.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Tribune passes along unusual testimony from the industry on whether digital billboards are like the moon: "If you never had any complaints about moonlight then you shouldn't have a problem with digital billboards." A more reasonable assessment of the brightness of these signs -- which an industry funded study found are ten times brighter than the surrounding area and three times brighter than traditional billboards -- comes from promotional material of a manufacturer:

"Nothing's as eye-catching as an electronic LED display. The brightly-lit text and graphics can be seen from hundreds of feet away, drawing the attention of everyone within view."

Indeed, as these unfortunate folks who happen to live in the vicinity of a digital sign in Saint Louis know, Tampa Bay residents have reason to be concerned about light trespass and distraction. Visit Scenic America's resource page on digital billboards for more on the serious safety and visual implications of these new signs.

Update: Here is another disturbing news video about how brightly-lit digital billboards are negatively affecting residents, this time in Detroit.

1 comment:

  1. Can you post the studies that show the distraction you mention in the article above? Most of the new boards with digital technology have automatic dimming capabilities to prevent unnecessary light intrusion. yes, they are eyecatching, and that is why businesses across the board show increases in sales from 15 to 50 % with this technology.

    Very important in this economy.