Review of the Road Safety Impact of Overhead Billboards

Matt Albrecht, Richard Amoh-Gyimah, Hayley Lajszczak

Research output: Book/ReportOther output


Driver distraction is a critical factor in road safety. Roadside advertising is a significant potential source of driver distraction. Therefore, it is important to understand how the placement of a billboard centrally located over a road versus on the side of the road may affect driver behaviour and road safety. A comprehensive review of national and international literature on billboard and digital advertisement road safety was conducted. A total of 86 papers were identified in the literature review search that dealt with the various aspects of road safety pertaining to billboards. After screening publications for explicit reference to overhead billboards, a total of 3 papers remained. Two publications were driving simulator studies, the other was a naturalistic driving study. Notably, there were no papers identified that assessed explicitly the crash rates of sites with an overhead billboard installed, either relative to other billboard locations or to sites with no billboards installed. The simulator studies showed that there is an increase in time spent looking at billboards located overhead on bridges or gantries. However, the relationship between visual fixation and various measures of driver performance is complex and inconsistent. Moreover, the relationship between simulator performance and crash risk is hampered by the current state of understanding of overhead billboard crash risk. No recommendations are made regarding the safety of overhead relative to laterally located billboards as more research is needed to address these areas.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCurtin University
Commissioning bodyMain Roads Western Australia
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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