Unless you have serious eye-sight problems, you can’t have missed those 3 huge LED billboards at strategic locations on the motorway, namely both entrances to Port Louis and at Phoenix. Since their installation a couple of months back, these new billboards have raised a number of concerns on road safety due to the distraction caused and sometimes, alarming brightness levels. The Road Development Authority (RDA) have summoned the company “Rent A Sign” for having installed these billboards without their approval. Additionally, the special advisor of the Prime Minister, Mr Buntipilly, present during the small launching party held at the entrance of Port Louis (from the north, right besides the motorway), has declared that he asked for a decrease in the brightness of the display screens.
Well, now my comments :
Indeed, these LED billboards are distracting, I strong agree, especially when the videos being broadcast include large areas of white and vibrant colors.
But that’s their aim. But we should remember something : LED billboards are not something which Mauritians invented. So, how are they handled and controlled in other countries? The “Rent a sign” company said that they installed the 3 billboards according to international standards. What were they and how different can they be in our local context, causing so much fuss around their installation in our landscape?
As per press articles, it seems that the Road Development Authority have sent legal notices to the company in regards to their unauthorized installations. According to the RDA which regulates any form of road publications (panneaux d’affichage) along road sides, they have never approved any installation of LED billboards.
What if a “pti copain” owned those billboards?
Based purely on my assumptions, I can bet that none of the authorities would have dared to stand against those billboards if ever they were owned by someone having priviledged relationship with the persons in power. Instead, appropriate legal frameworks would quickly be created to approve such installations. And then, our roads will then be comparable to those “public” beaches over-crowded with transats (Sun chairs).
Huge LED screens are not new in Mauritius
Yes, while it might sound surprising to some people, several huge LED screens have been around since quite a long time. For example, the Municipaility of Port Louis has a large one on its building, right in front of the Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam Street (ex-Desforges). Although it is not used for advertising purposes, the huge LED screen continuously displays details about events, festivals or other information such as time, date and temperature.
However, I can confirm that the luminosity levels of these LED installations are much more acceptable to those 3 new billboards installed along the motorway. For comparison purposes, the luminosity of the LED billboards are nearly the same as the huge LED screens at La Croisette (Grand Bay).
No, speed cameras will not solve the problem
The introduction of speed cameras have probably decreased the number of accidents in specific areas but however, it might not be the most suitable solution to all problems. In regards to this, I don’t know what they might end up with but it might not be surprising if the authorities decide to install speed cameras just in front of the billboards to force drivers to slow down so that they can appreciate the adverts, safely. After all, speed cameras have proved to be a good sense of investment for the government. I wonder if in some months, speed cameras might be listed in the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. [To read : Map of speed cameras in Mauritius]
What’s your stand?
To conclude, I’m not totally against the new LED billboards on our roads. There are more serious concerns about our existing road infrastructures which make driving dangerous in some parts of the island. One thing for sure : I’m pretty amazed at the incredible speed with which the local authorities reacted following the installation of the LED billboards. Normally, it can take years for them to find a problem and a solution.
And now, what do you think about these LED billboards? Any comments and experience to share?