Scenic America blasts FHWA on electronic signs

Oct. 9, 2007
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued a memorandum providing guidance on “off-premise changeable message signs” adjacent to routes

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued a memorandum providing guidance on “off-premise changeable message signs” adjacent to routes that are subject to the requirements of the Highway Beautification Act. The memorandum-- which finds that changeable electronic variable message signs (CEVMS) do not violate the prohibition against intermittent, flashing or moving lights-- was intended to clarify a 1996 memorandum on the same subject.

Scenic America, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the visual character of America's communities and countryside, has issued a memorandum of its own taking the FHWA to task for the decision. The organization noted that, “The policy was issued in spite of the fact that FHWA has agreed to conduct research into the safety issues associated with these controversial signs. That research will not be completed until 2009. The FHWA policy means that hundreds, if not thousands, of digital signs will go up along federal roads before it is determined if they are safe.”

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