The Newest Driving Distraction: Digital Bus Ads


L.A. may have banned digital advertising on billboards, but the Antelope Valley just introduced them on buses. The Antelope Valley Transit Authority launched a five-year pilot program last week to see how such messaging will impact drivers, if at all.

Digital advertising cuts down on expensive materials and labor that go into affixing regular advertising onto the sides of buses. Transit authorities like AVTA, who increasingly rely on advertisers to plug budget holes, are hoping the digital ads entice more companies to drop a few coins in their cashbox. Police are supportive, as well, saying the ads will be a more effective to way to reach the public during Amber Alerts and other emergencies.

The California Highway Patrol will monitor the program and take action if it’s causing problems. The ads will remain static on freeways and will only change images while the buses travel on surface streets.

“We fully expect these digital signs will prove to be just as safe as the digital billboards we see posted along our highways,” Congressman Steve Knight, who authored legislation for the pilot program, said in a statement. “Time will tell, but we feel confident this program will withstand scrutiny.”