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Bright & Not So Merry – Why Digital Billboards Are on the Naughty List



Big billboard companies consider digital billboards an opportunity to reach consumers through eye-catching, technologically advanced advertising. Bright and flashy, these digital signs offer increased revenue to their owners as they sell the same advertising space to multiple customers and businesses. Billboard companies feel it’s a huge win, but what is the cost to the communities they pollute? We have broken down the top three reasons why you should ensure digital billboards stay out of your backyard and city:


1. Digital billboards are a dangerous distraction. They require onlookers to take their eyes off the road for an alarmingly long gaze - the electronic displays often change every six to eight seconds and a government-funded research study in 2015, found that crash rates were 25 percent to 29 percent higher near digital signs along high-speed roadways in Alabama and Florida.


2. Digital billboards significantly reduce visibility for drivers. A study conducted in August of 2018, showed that the permissible luminance of digital billboards significantly reduced a drivers' visual performance in municipal traffic at night. In addition, the study found that digital billboards displaying animations, video images and quickly alternating advertisements can potentially distract drivers, by displaying content that resembles traffic signs or colors used in traffic lights. These digital billboards may mislead drivers, potentially leading to dangerous situations in road traffic.


3. Digital billboards cause light pollution. Digital billboards contribute to sky glow, a form of light pollution. In fact, a digital billboard uses the same amount of energy as 15 average U.S. homes in a 34-hour period. This light pollution is decreasing the number of stars visible at night and negatively affects the well-being, health and safety of people and wildlife.


These are just a few of the dangers of digital billboards and there are many factors to consider when considering the visual pollution of these advertisements. Scenic Houston is dedicated to preserving and protecting our beautiful city and night sky. We join others across the nation to fight the blight! Learn more at www.scenichouston.org.

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