City eyeing digital billboards
By Matthew Hoekstra - Richmond Review - June 18, 2008
The city is eyeing 13 digital advertising displays for the downtown core to complement the reinvention of No. 3 Road and generate cash for the city.
IBI Group, the consultant heading the city’s No. 3 Road restoration project, is recommending one large-format LED screen for the exterior of each downtown Canada Line station and 10 freestanding wrap-around displays along Richmond’s main drag.
In his report, the city’s Amarjeet Rattan said the technology could be “aesthetically pleasing, engaging and informative without creating a sense of visual pollution or overload” and generate revenue for the city.
“Many other public transit systems around the world have successfully introduced similar types of advertising at stations and other prime locations,” he said.
On Monday, staff’s recommendation to kick-start a pilot program for the displays was set for a council vote, but it was pulled from the council table.
City spokesperson Kim Decker said staff are folding new technical details into the report. She said it’s not clear when the recommendation will go to a council vote.
The LED screens, similar to big-screen TVs, would be attached to the Aberdeen, Lansdowne and Richmond-Brighouse stations. The 10 360-degree displays would be located at various points on No. 3 Road between Cambie and Saba roads, under the Canada Line guideway.
The proposed technology is said to offer images as sharp in daylight as they are in darkness, can withstand weather and be connected to the Internet.
According to Rattan’s report, the project could net the city $400,000 a year in revenue, based on a sharing agreement between the city, InTransitBC and a partner that would pay for the capital costs of installing the technology.
The city would also have access to portions of the displays for use by city departments at no cost.
The cash could go to the city’s public art reserve, leisure facilities development reserve and general revenue, according to Rattan.
Coun. Rob Howard called it a “pretty significant opportunity” for the city to generate revenue from a source other than property taxes.
“We talk all the time about property tax being an inappropriate in some instances, source of revenue for for a bunch of different city programs. This is an opportunity to generate some additional revenue, while we’re enlivening the street.”
In January, council voted to explore opportunities with InTransitBC for multimedia technology along with Canada Line on No. 3 Road that could be used in providing public information, visual displays, audio and advertising.
No. 3 Road displays considered:
•Interactive projection technology: images projected onto sidewalk surface
•Revolution 360-degree high resolution displays: standalone wrap-around virtual content panels with built in computer, media player
•Interactive kiosks: users can access information, download videos and ring tones, take and send photos and shop online
•LED screens: flat screens at Canada Line stations attached to guideway and around guideway pillars
Meanwhile, some new renderings are also out for some of the stations:
Broadway-City Hall Station
Marine Drive Station