Alternatives to Billboards

Logo signs and Tourist-Oriented Directional Signs (TODS) are small, business directional signs that have proven to be successful in regions across the country. Both supply passers-by with needed tourist and services information without marring the area’s visual quality. Logo signs and TODS displays are smaller and less obtrusive than billboards and generally cut advertising costs for roadside businesses.

Logo signs advertise gas, food, camping, and lodging at nearby highway exits and already exist on interstates in at least 44 states. TODS appear on non-interstate highways to supply information about local tourist attractions, such as distances and directions.

A 1990 study sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture found that the annual direct economic impacts of TODS in Oregon and Washington exceeded $25 million, with secondary impacts topping $53 million. The benefit/cost ratio of the TODS program was nearly 2500 to 1 in Oregon and 1000 to 1 in Washington.

Small, hand-held electronic devices have been developed that conveniently supplies travelers with city-to-city directions and interstate services, provide another alternative and a glimpse of future technology.

John Paul Nichols, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Cendant Hotels, commented in a recent interview that “…terrestrial billboards…are becoming a thing of the past…my little handheld (electronic) device can find every hotel in the United States; I don’t need to wait for a billboard. The cell phone will alert me to my hotel preferences, not some sign I will find by accident.”