New analysis suggests the potential revenue which could be generated by motorway advertising on gantries could be £4.5 million in 2026, rising to total more than £4bn between 2025 and 2070.
Engineering consultancy Ramboll’s analysis says that, as the technology becomes commonplace gantries that provide driver information will become obsolete but by using the infrastructure and available space for advertising, there may be profitable business opportunities.
The figures have been drawn up based on predictions of the uptake of driverless cars and the average cost of advertising space in such areas. The research found that annual revenue will peak in 2050, at £147m, then slowly decline as the existing gantry structures approach the end of their predicted lifespan.
Taxi companies such as Lyft and Uber are already in operation with self-driving cars in San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Phoenix, and uptake continues to spread. The transport team at Ramboll predicts cities and roads will be “transformed” over the next century due to the widespread uptake of driverless cars.
While advertising on motorways is currently limited due to the potential for adverts to distract drivers, driverless cars mean this could be lifted, and passengers provide a clear captive audience. Far from being obsolete, it says overhead structures such as gantries could therefore be considered valuable future assets that enable businesses to capitalise on this transport revolution.
Stephen Knox, Engineer at Ramboll commented “This research presents exciting opportunities for the future of highways. As environmental consultants we at Ramboll are always keen to remain ahead of the game in terms of predicting how our infrastructure must adapt to future social and technological changes. In providing a potential use for soon to be redundant gantries, we could open many doors, and it is vital that both business and government take the time to consider these.”