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Thread: Electronic messageboard signs

  1. #1

    Electronic messageboard signs

    Our City is looking to establish some regulations on electronic messageboard signs. Over the past year they have reached a price point where every business wants one. No longer used for time and temperature, these things have animations, video, and lots of colors. Can anyone direct me to some decent regulations? We are looking for minimum time that messages must hold (thus eliminating scrolling or animated messages). Does anyone have recommendations as to how long a message should hold? 3 seconds? 10? Or should it be based on the speed limit of the road?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I like the way we handle them:

    3.11.3.3.1 Animated, moving, flashing, and noise making signs are prohibited. Changeable electronic message board signs are prohibited in all zoning districts.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
         
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    We allow electronic message signs but place a very steep penalty on them in regards to the permitted size. They can not be animated or flash.

  4. #4

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    I did a ton of research on this a couple of months ago. I guess a lot of areas are dealing with the same issue, and have outdated sign laws which never anticipated the kinds of giant television-like displays we now see... if you can wait, I could compile and post something with a bunch of links...

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Mercer's avatar
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    Whatever you do, do not include a sentance similar to "shall not create a distraction for vehicular traffic". The last city I worked in had that in the code and it was a nightmare to enforce because it is so subjective.

    I like NHPlanner's code, simple and to the point.

  6. #6

    Registered
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    Calgary, AB
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    Some starting points for researching this...

    (Note that one thing that was difficult for me when researching this was that the terminology isn't consistant. They can be called changable message signs (CMS), variable message signs (VMS), or electronic billboards (EBB). VMS usually refers to the signs used on highways though to warn of accidents and delays, but sometimes is used to talk about advertising billboards with electronic text.

    Also, the same specs that apply to changable text signs also may apply to tri-vision signs and video display billboards (the ones that are like giant TVs))






    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/realestate/e...d/elecbbrd.pdf

    RESEARCH REVIEW OF POTENTIAL SAFETY EFFECTS OF ELECTRONIC BILLBOARDS ON DRIVER ATTENTION AND DISTRACTION - Federal Highway Administration

    A main feature of this is a listing of various states' guidelines on message signs


    http://www.scenicflorida.org/cevms/chfhward80051a.html

    SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS IN THE USE OF COMMERCIAL ELECTRONIC VARIABLE-MESSAGE SIGNAGE

    June 1980 - Final Report - FHWA

    Although dated in some parts, this provides a lot of information on various features of changable message signs / variable message signs.


    http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/library...billboards.pdf
    WisDOT RD&T Program

    Links to other documents and again, state guidelines on message signs.


    Also, take a look at the Traffic and Road Use Management Manual - VMS Guidelines from the Queensland (Australia) Department of Main Roads, available on this page:

    http://www.mainroads.qld.gov.au/MRWE...s?OpenDocument

    Although it is intended for message signs for highways rather than billboards, it includes a formula for calculating legibility distance for text set away from the edge of a road. It may be useful when determining if a proposed sign can be read by motorists. It also goes into detail about minimum text heights based on speed.


    http://www.stopthebillboards.ca/files/Toronto.pdf

    Small report on video display (TV-like) boards in Toronto. Notes that there is not a lot of information on these Asks for more information.


    In addition, sign manufacturers always have minimum guidelines on text height for these types of signs. It is in the sign makers interest to make a sign that will be useful and not a hazard, and as well, a sign that is too small won't help their client. Ensure that any information you receive from manufactures checks out against some of the guidelines in the research however.

    When doing the research, as has already been posted, many jurisdictions have flat out rejected all types of VMS/CMS/video display signage. That's the easy way out, but it's better to have the research to back you up to say why you don't want this sort of signage. Some jurisidictions have gone the other way, and perhaps are too accepting of these new types of signage.

    Good luck -- I hope you are able to find some of this information useful.

  7. #7
    Member
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    Boise, Idaho
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    EMD's

    Boise City has recently updated their electronic message display ordinance and might be worth a look.

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