Philadelphia’s Street Furniture Request for Proposals

Philadelphia issued a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) for a Street Furniture Program on March 25, 2010.
The RFP is designed to elicit bids from private companies to design, manufacture, install and maintain street furniture at no cost to the City while generating revenue for the City.

The street furniture included in this RFP are transit shelters, sheltered bike parking, arts, culture and public information panels (“info panels”) and corrals for boxes containing free newspapers.

The RFP also includes street objects designed, installed and maintained by the City such as the six transit head houses (entrances to underground transit on East Market Street between City Hall and 10th Street), solar powered compacting litter containers and recycling containers. Advertising may be installed on these items but the city will be responsible for design and maintenance.

Revenue and Costs
The City will receive an annual minimum fee, two bonus payments and a percentage of gross annual revenues.
This type of arrangement is often presented as a win-win situation because, done correctly, increasing the amount of bus shelters, bike parking and arts, culture and public information signage makes the City more livable while improving the City’s bottom line.

This RFP will dramatically increase the amount of legal outdoor advertising in the City of Philadelphia.
At a minimum, commercial advertising will be permitted on over 500 transit shelters (304 existing and approximately 250 new shelters at new locations), 113 information kiosks of which one side of the panel is reserved for commercial advertising, 48 advertising panels on 12 bike shelter structures (4 advertising panels per structure), and 6 transit headhouses. The RFP also invites advertising on honor box corrals, litter and recycling containers. (Read details of RFP)

  • The contract will last for 20 years.
  • The City will consider options based on increased revenue potential regarding the installation of digital advertising panels at any or all locations at any point during the 20 years. (Page 16 of the RFP). In other words, if the City feels that the financial rewards of permitting electronic signage is sufficient, it may allow digital advertising on any or all of the street furniture.
  • Real Time Information will be installed on 50 transit shelters.
  • Art, culture and public institution advertising will be available for reduced or no cost.
  • Designs will vary depending on the area: commercial, residential or historical.
  • Property owners adjacent to the proposed transit shelter will have input on location.

Public Involvement
The winning vendor will be required to present a “charette” or display of proposed designs for public viewing and comment. SCRUB will let you know when and where that will take place. City Council will vote to approve the final contract.

Digital Displays
Allowing the dazzling display of digitalized advertising on transit shelters and other signs within the public right of way is a new addition to the public furniture conversations. Distractions caused by electronic signs can jeopardize driver and pedestrian safety, compromise sustainability initiatives and detract from the city’s visual character. This clause should be removed from the final contract