The US Federal Highway Administration issued clear guidance this week, authorising digital billboards. The memo says the high-tech signs are not flashing or intermittent.

The four-page September 25 document is signed by FHWA Associate Administrator for Planning, Environment, and Realty Gloria M. Shepherd. The highlighted portion of the memo reads: “Proposed laws, regulations, and procedures that would allow permitting CEVMS (commercial electronic variable message signs) subject to acceptable criteria (as described below) do not violate a prohibition against ‘intermittent’ or ‘flashing’ or ‘moving’ lights as those terms are used in the various FSAs (federal-state agreements) that have been entered into during the 1960s and 1970s.”
These guidelines suggest display times between four and ten seconds with eight seconds as the recommended static dwell time. In regard to lighting, the memo said signs should be “not unreasonably bright for the safety of the motoring public.”
OAAA’s code of industry principles calls for adjustment of brightness
based on ambient light conditions.
The recent, clearly worded FHWA guidance memo updates and clarifies a 1996 FHWA memo that said changeable message billboards are acceptable if allowed by states and the signs do not contain flashing, intermittent, or moving lights.
Billboard opponents argued today’s digital billboards are unauthorized because they feature intermittent light.
The FHWA clarification clearly refutes this argument.
The current memo repeats previous policy that digital billboards are allowed only on conforming signs.

Outdoor Advertising Association of America


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