Effects of Roadside Advertisements on Road Safety (Internal Reports 25/2004)

  • Published: Finnish Road Administration, 2004
  • Authors: Finnish Road Administration
  • Date Added: 07 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 07 Feb 2013
  • Format: pdf

Objectives: The report was compiled to provide background material for different levels of policies, instructions and decisions concerning advertisements. The report contains two separate sections on the effects of advertisements on road safety commissioned by the Finnish Road Administration. The objective was to conduct a general assessment of studies of the effects of roadside advertisement on road safety and to determine whether the effects of advertisements are apparent as the cause of fatal RTIs.

Methodology: The assessment includes a summary of existing research findings on the effects of roadside advertisements on road safety, a review of the development needs of policies on advertisements, and a description of problems related to studies of safety effects. The report also includes the findings of a study of fatal RTIs that occurred in 2000 and 2001 to determine whether there was evidence that advertisements or deficiencies in the crossfall of roads were partial causes of the RTIs.

Key Findings:

  • The effects of roadside advertising that targets road users is a topic of discussion globally.

  • It is difficult to assess the extent to which advertising plays a role in RTIs.

  • In general, the number of RTIs occurring near roadside advertisements has not been observed to be higher than at reference sites. The negative effects of advertisements are, however, visible in RTI statistics if they are focused on limited conditions (junctions).

  • The effects of advertisements are apparent in driver behaviour, but the effects measured in normal traffic are small.

  • Advertisements along main roads distract the detection of traffic signs and possibly also other objects relevant to the driver’s task.

  • Six cases were found in the investigation committee material from 2000- 2001 in which advertisements had in one way or another contributed to the occurrence of an RTI. All of the RTIs had happened at an intersection. In four cases the effect was obstructed visibility, in one case obstructed visibility and disturbance of the driver’s concentration, and in one case only disturbance of the driver’s concentration.

  • Junctions of high speed routes have shown to be a problem, particularly for older drivers.


Distraction, advertising signs, safety, RTIs


Robust government document. Focus is on advertising signs. Slightly dated.