Metrology Company Takes Aim at Digital Billboards

10/15/2018 8:39 AM 

As the use of roadside digital signage increases, so have the number of studies and articles about whether the technology causes light pollution and traffic accidents. The former is somewhat in the eye of the beholder, as in New Haven, CT, last spring, when public objection to a new, 230-square-foot LED-based billboard, described by the Connecticut Mirror as “blinding,“ led to proposed new legislation for digital signage regulation. The latter, traffic accidents, have been studied at some length, with a 2015 National Institutes of Health Study concluding that while billboard-related driver distraction appeared to be minor, further study was required.  

Industry and governmental uncertainty over digital signage is a possible windfall for display metrology manufacturers such as Konica Minolta Sensing, which recently released a white paper about how instruments such as its CS-150 Luminance and Color Meter could help ensure that luminance guidelines for roadside digital signage are met.  Konica Minolta suggested that its products be used to calibrate billboards for optimal luminance both day and night – hitting the sweet spot between getting people’s attention and distracting them to the point of danger or discomfort.

It may take some time before the public and the government decide on acceptable parameters for roadside digital signage. In the meantime, automotive technology itself could make the call. The sequential Burma-Shave signs that proliferated from the 1920s to the 1960s disappeared as people began driving at speeds too fast to read them. It is possible that by the time digital signage has been optimized,  autonomous driving may be taking off and driver distraction will be less of an issue. – Jenny Donelan



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