ARRB evaluates digital billboards and driver behaviour

The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) has released findings from an evaluation of the impact of digital billboard technology on driver behaviour.

Conducted by ARRB on behalf of the Outdoor Media Association, the study monitored drivers in the presence of two digital billboards at seperate intersections in Queensland.

Principal researcher Paul Roberts said the intersections were initially filmed without any signage.

Later, they were filmed with the presence of an outdoor digital billboard several times over a 24-hour period for four weeks in order to gauge the impact on driver behaviour.

“Billboards were active for several different dwell times from eight to 30 seconds,” Dr. Roberts said.

According to Dr. Roberts, researchers analysed two key measures plausibly related to the risk of certain types of crashes – lane drift and stopping over the line at an intersection.

“The research found lane drift was unaffected, or results improved when signage was displayed,” Dr. Roberts said.

“In addition, not stopping correctly by stopping over the line improved in all but one case. No crashes were recorded.”

Dr. Roberts said it is important to note the results only relate to two specific sites and not to digital billboards generally.

“This study showed it is sometimes possible for a digital sign at an intersection to operate with no apparent negative impact on driver performance and, in some cases, to improve it,” Dr. Roberts said.

“However, if the general parameters of how and when this absence of negative impact occurs can be precisely specified, this would prove enormously valuable for all stakeholders.”

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