Main outdoor billboard requirements in the United States


Various outdoor billboard requirements characterize an ever-decentralizing legislative system. Partially, the history of the laws governing billboard advertising in North America appears in the period after 1950. This, to a large extent, has contributed to the development of a strict local code in each of the North American federal entities. All this, concerning the permits for obtaining and processing such visual and advertising resources. An extensive regulatory tapestry, which has as common aspects the regulated parameters of measures or size, the expressed content, and the location.


To contribute to the legal soundness of each advertising action, the user must know the requirements. A feature whose importance increases after the existence of a set of fines and sanctions by the state. To meet these informative objectives, the marketing agency BluCactus has prepared the following blog. It summarizes the key aspects involved in identifying the outdoor billboard requirements. It also guides the reader on the most convenient processes for applying for and getting the associated governmental permits.


U.S. Department of Transportation and all governmental authorization application processes for placing outdoor billboards.


Blucactus-The-U.S.-Department-of-TransportationBeyond traffic regulation and protection in the US, the Department of Transportation (USDOT) is the entity in charge of issuing billboard permits.


However, the behavior of the entity towards users varies according to the state in which it is.


Among the fifty states, the factor that varies the most is the mandatory outdoor billboard requirements according to their visibility. For this purpose, the regulatory standard is the location of a space within the first 660 meters of any interstate highway.


Likewise, aspects such as the number, type of documents requested, and processing fees vary according to the type of industry and product to promote. The applicant must go before the legal agency and provide the required information so that the governmental entity can make the denial or approval of the project. The process, as well as all outdoor billboard requirements, also include the following variants.


Permission for advertisements within privatized administrative regions.


Sub-offices of the Department of Transportation in specific states require mandatory permits for organizational billboards. All this even when they have to be inside the area of land jurisdictionally corresponding to an organization. Besides their physical installation, other outdoor billboard requirements also consider prohibitions and penalties in terms of size, content, and placement criteria. Generally, this aspect also encompasses billboards attached to the building, on the rooftop, and other types of structural supports of complementary intent.


Penalties and fines for entrepreneurs who unwittingly commit advertising offenses.


The U.S. Department of Transportation considers unconscionable non-compliance with outdoor billboard requirements to be illegal. This form of offense refers to the omission, absence, or each of the nationally required parameters within this advertising formula. Generally, the causative factor relates to the lack of information by the advertiser regarding its state advertising regulations. The penalty may vary from specific amounts according to the infringed aspect to the sanction and removal of the advertisement.


Brief analysis of the three key requirements for the proper placement of outdoor billboards:


Blucactus-Brief-analysis-of-the-three-main-requirements-demandedGenerally, the different outdoor billboard requirements have three key characteristics in common. These focus on the visual, dimensional, and location aspects of each billboard.


To a great extent, the price of the permit varies, not according to the state, but rather, the industry or type of product to be promoted. A great example of this is the $300 fee imposed by the State of Washington for all commercial billboards.


This is followed by the low cost of $50 for the promotion of agricultural products for home consumption. Under other variants, permits get exempted for advertisements not visible from any roadway. Illinois is the most representative case of all.


To facilitate the process, the entrepreneur must provide such information to the Department of Transportation. Based on this, the relevant agency will decide on the subsequent acceptance, denial, or modification of the applications. The following three outdoor billboard requirements rely on the collection of data from various parts of the United States.


Size and Dimension Regulations:


Blucactus-Brief-analysis-of-the-three-main-requirements-demanded-2Zoning ordinances are understood as that regional code that controls the use of spatial resources in the national territory.


Within this, size and measurements are one of the main outdoor billboard requirements. Thus, the state government can provide a regulated control for a standard maximum size.


This, on a national level, rarely exceeds specific values of 14 feet high by 40 feet long. The purpose of all this is to avoid mechanical and visual obstructions to the major road arteries on which it is necessary to operate.


Using such resources is an alternative that is more highly valued by interstate or interurban highways. Based on demographic development criteria, certain states regulate billboard advertising measures more specifically. Other variants of outdoor billboard requirements involve billboard rental. This has its own measures. The state also dictates specific measures for travel and tourism companies. All this is on a par with the government agencies and companies themselves enjoying the same promotional opportunity. All this informative accumulation involves the application of the principles outlined by the Highway Beautification Law of 1965.


Content regulations:


Blucactus-Brief-analysis-of-the-three-main-requirements-demanded-3The visual content of a billboard is the least restricted aspect. The latter, because any regulation on it has a legal character opposed to freedom of expression. The entrepreneur is, therefore, able to deliver the most suitable message to capture their target audience.


The only outdoor billboard requirements on content relate to displays of an electrical nature. The National Highway Association has since 2007 issued specific measures for such aspects.


Based on this, the duration of an electric advertisement may be no longer than an interval between 4 and 10 seconds.


Of great importance to these outdoor billboard requirements is the granting of promotional permits. In such a case, almost as important as the content is the genre of the billboard. In specific states, certain types of billboards are permissible over an interval extending over days. These types of permits include special event billboards, agricultural billboards, location advertisements. Each of these has specific guidelines regarding the consistency of the message. As well as the length of time to avoid different types of fines and penalties. At the moment of designing a promotional marketing strategy, the entrepreneur must take into consideration these types of aspects.


Regulations and Location Elements:


Blucactus-Brief-analysis-of-the-three-main-requirements-demanded-4 - outdoor billboard requirementsAs a common factor, outdoor billboard requirements in the United States have the Beautification Act of 1965.


Among its key requirements is to bisect the peripheral space between the country’s major highways. For this purpose, a measurement of 660 feet is used to the contour of a busy roadway.


This entire set of parameters will be valid only for billboards within that spatial interval. For advertisements in regions beyond this limit, only the state, municipal and local governments will impose criteria of order and adequacy.


The various fines and legal actions taken by the state largely stem from the infringement of their placement features. The states of Vermont, Hawaii, Alaska, and Maine have declared their placement to be completely illegal. Elsewhere, violations for outdoor billboard requirements are considered violations for placing Bandit Signs. That is the display of signs at avenue intersections or on major high-volume urban traffic highways. Another variant of the process is the fine for any in fraganti action that the municipality can receive.


What other major U.S. legal entities regulate and control the various outdoor billboard requirements?


Multiple historical factors have led to the emergence of two major bodies of law for advertising control in the U.S. Part of this has been the decades coinciding with the end of the 19th century. At that time, companies were under voracious pressure to stand out nationally. Today, this circumstance is no different, although the main motivation is the globalization imposed by the U.S. worldwide. Consequently, billboard advertising is integrated with the various expansive properties within the current digital marketing boom.


At the national level, the different outdoor billboard requirements come under the control of two explicit control agencies. They constitute the basis that controls and regulates the placement and establishment of state criteria for billboard advertising. Every entrepreneur must know how to identify and differentiate between the two entities. The latter is concerning how the regulations issued by each of them adjust to the main criteria of municipalization or zoning. The national advertising authority agencies are the following.


Highway Beautification Act (1965)


Blucactus-What-Other-Important-US-Legal-Entities - outdoor billboard requirementsThis regulatory body was first approved by the first lady of the time Lyndon B. Johnson during the 1960s.


Specifically, on October 22, 1965. We can measure its influence to this day in an effective way to manage today’s outdoor billboard requirements.


Its most representative feature for that area has been the delineation of the average roadway management area. This comprises the identification of a 660-foot peripheral interval of each roadway as a legally restricted area.


Initially, such regulation was part of the Great Society program promoted by the same governmental entity. At the time of its inauguration, it represented a project interspersed with the planning of the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. The initial motivation was to provide an aesthetic and functional aspect of the city of Washington. Subsequently, other federal entities in the United States took up the system. To this day, local governments use it as a frame of reference to outline their particular laws on outdoor billboard requirements for businesses.


Federal-Aid Highway Act (1958)


Blucactus-What-Other-Important-US-Legal-Entities-2 - outdoor billboard requirementsIt is the oldest American regulation on state outdoor advertising. The existence of this regulation is because 23 states are now part of its component system. A fact that contrasts with the outdoor billboard requirements of the previous legislation.


Its essence consists of the fact that governmentally the state precincts are economically subsidized by the state.


The mechanism it establishes is the possibility for the local government to receive bonuses for the maintenance of each of the road arteries of its territory.


At that time, such regulations had military administrations in mind. Thus, the law authorized and prioritized the need to expand the flow of roads from state to state. To a large extent, this involved the construction of a network totaling 41,000 miles. Then-President Eisenhower motivated the initiative because of the rapid movement it would allow the civilian and military population in the event of a nuclear attack. To this day, such regulations serve as the source for outdoor billboard requirements. This is because it prevents sponsored businesses from exceeding the use of interstate visual space.


The BluCactus agency is your solution for the creation of advertising promotion campaigns using all types of spectacular billboards.


The BluCactus team knows and is aware that complying with the outdoor billboard requirements can be complex. That is why each of the services we offer provides ease and legal soundness for every business owner. Much more than the relevant legal advice, BluCactus takes care of the entire brand promotion process. To support this, our outdoor advertising services consist of three parts. The rental, the construction of billboards, and the design of totems. We can also use the most important range of materials of the highest quality and sophistication available in the market.


Likewise, the level and variety of structures we offer are of equal quality. Among our main products are the monopost billboards, the three-sided support, and the illuminated billboard. To expand your reach in various economic sectors, the team also designs for you peripheral advertising for sports fields. Of course, each of these models adapts to meet the highest requirements for outdoor billboard requirements.


Final Notes: Trust those who know marketing! BluCactus is synonymous with quality advertising services for the entire United States and the rest of the world!


Blucactus - Contact usIf there is one criterion that differentiates BluCactus’ services from other agencies in question, it is its openness to globalization.


Consequently, our outdoor advertising services allow all of our prospects to jump into completely new markets. The latter will allow your company to grow at the pace that your market demands.


For this purpose, we have a wide presence in important Latin American countries, as well as in several European countries such as Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. All this, besides our coverage in various parts of the Asian continent.


Thus, such tools will allow you to expand your presence worldwide while prominently adjusting to the different outdoor billboard requirements.


Don’t forget that outside this area, you can also count on ingenious marketing and design proposals. Always with the aim that your customers can appreciate your brand as a unique and constantly innovating entity. For more information about outdoor billboard requirements, we invite you to contact our expert team. Also, if you want to keep up with the world of digital marketing, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter. What are you waiting for? Contact us today and start being part of this new revolution in offline advertising! Don’t get left behind!


Quote your project to let us create your Outdoor Advertising project to increase your audience and sales today!

Get a Quote


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *