Digital billboards, currently banned by Ottawa bylaws, will make their first appearance on the local media landscape, after city council voted to allow them at select locations for a two-year pilot project.

 

The billboards will be erected on city land at three locations while staff evaluate the effect on traffic, advertising revenues and other factors. Staff cited industry estimates that the billboards could increase city ad revenues by three or four times.

 

Coun. Diane Deans voted in favour of the pilot project, but worried that the displays, which typically change every six seconds, might distract drivers, or that the light emitted from the billboards at night might disturb residents.

 

“I think that the public reaction to this, when they see digital signs being introduced into this market, will not be a positive one,” she said.