The National Academies

NCHRP 20-07/Task 247 [Completed]

Outdoor Advertising Sign Regulation Study
[ NCHRP 20-07 (Research for AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $60,000
Research Agency: Clyde B. Johnson
Principal Investigator: Clyde B. Johnson
Effective Date: 5/29/2008
Completion Date: 6/1/2009
Comments: Completed final report submitted to AASHTO

NCHRP 20-7 (247)

Research Problem Statement

Outdoor Advertising Sign Regulation Study




The states are required to control outdoor advertising signs which are visible and within 660 feet from the National Highway System by the federal Highway Beautification Act, 23 U.S.C. Sec. 131, and implementing regulations at 23 C.F.R. Part 750.  A penalty of 10% of annual federal transportation fund apportionment to the states is provided for failure to exercise control.  The outdoor advertising industry generally operates at a national level with signs in numerous states.  There is no information or database in existence which identifies all of the various state practices and standards relating to control of outdoor advertising signs.  As a consequence, the states are frequently without adequate knowledge of acceptable measures, standards, enforcement and practices in other states which makes administration of the program difficult.  A comprehensive study of state practices and measures for control of outdoor advertising is necessary and long overdue.  This may lead to later development of AASHTO Guidelines, if needed.



Identify, compile and report the standards, measures, practices and enforcement of control of outdoor advertising signs in the various states.



Tasks anticipated in this project include the following:

·         Identify by questionnaire, phone or personal interviews, standards and practices adopted by the Federal/State Agreement in each state, relating to sign spacing, size, height, lighting and similar characteristics.

·         Identify key requirements under state law for control and enforcement of the outdoor advertising sign program in each state which are different from the Federal/State Agreement as in paragraph 1. above.

·         Identify issues with evolving technologies, such as digital electronic changeable message signs, the state's legal requirements for these signs, and any research which states have conducted on these issues to date.

·         Identify methods adopted by the states for administration and control of the program, including items such as definition of requirements established in federal regulations, such as routine and customary maintenance, definition of destruction of nonconforming signs, abandonment, discontinuance and state practices such as frequency of inventory, etc.

·         Identify the state organizational unit and title and contact information of the individual state manager responsible for outdoor advertising control in each of the state Departments of Transportation.

·         Provide a narrative report with well organized tables relating to findings on the information above.






TIME AVAILABLE: Six months, including two months to produce a report


STAFF RESPONSIBILITY: David Reynaud, 202/334.1695 (dreynaud@nas.edu)


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