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PennDOT Requests Electronic Ads on Highway Signs Used for Traveler Notifications

If state officials get their way, electronic signs along highways informing drivers of accidents, construction sites and traffic jams will also be used to display commercial advertising. Private billboard companies will update and maintain these signs as well as sell advertising space. The revenue will be shared with the state.

As appalling as it sounds, the same sign that tells you to slow down for safety reasons could be used to pitch you the buffet dinner at the next exit, the casinos in the nearest city or promotions for cell phone plans.

Pennsylvania has joined California and Florida in an application to the FHWA to waive the regulations that prohibit commercial advertisements on state controlled, overhead and roadside changeable signs in the right of way. The three states intend to contract with outdoor advertising companies to upgrade the current signs. The signs would be converted to digitalized ones, capable of showing fully colored, changeable, commercial images. They would be used like digital billboards, but they would target motorists looking for crucial traveling information!