Digital Screen Advertisements – A distraction to road users?

TMS has recently seen an increase in enquiries to carry out Road Safety Audits on proposed roadside Digital Screen Advertisements. We have recently carried out work in London for the Piccadilly Underpass and Hagley Road in Birmingham.  It is important that these types of schemes are audited to ensure road safety risks are assessed and they do not pose a prolonged distraction to road users.

Digital Screen Advertisements are now commonplace on the highway network, however, they can also be a factor in causing distraction to drivers.

In 2018/19, research into roadside advertising was carried out by the CEDR, a consortium of three research institutes; SWOV, TRL and Vias institute). Known as ‘ADVERTS‘ or, Assessing Distraction of Vehicle drivers in Europe from Roadside Technology-based Signage”, the project outcome was the creation of a set of ten recommendations for minimising distraction from roadside advertising.

  1. Don’t cause confusion with road signs
  2. Don’t block the road users view
  3. Avoid complex locations
  4. Don’t use moving images
  5. Don’t encourage non-driving actions
  6. Keep it simple
  7. Minimise transitions
  8. Don’t dazzle road users
  9. Don’t have flashing lights
  10. Avoid overlarge billboards

These recommendations are available from the ADVERTS website as a full report, a visualised summary of the ten recommendations listed above and a recorded webinar of the project and its main results.

The proposed screens in the schemes we audited were varied in size and the types of messages they displayed, with the newer advertisements proposed to feature subtle moving imagery. Therefore, the auditors assessed each location against several criteria including; proximity of existing infrastructure, conflict points and critical road user decision points.

The recommendations helped the clients to determine the suitability of the locations and decide whether mitigation measures would be necessary to minimise the risk of collisions.

Birmingham, West Midlands, England, UK. 17 May 2018. The A4400 Queensway duel highway , passing the City centre

TMS has experience in carrying out Road Safety Audits and independent safety/risk assessments for digital screen advertising projects.  The fundamental reason for clients commissioning studies of this nature is to ensure the proposed digital advertising does not cause significant distraction to drivers and to identify any potential road safety risks associated with the erection of the new digital screens.

If you have a scheme of this nature that requires a Road Safety Audit, then please call us on +44 (0)24 7669 0900 or alternatively please email Lorna Styring.

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