USC Study: Rooftop Digital Advertising on Taxis & Rideshare Vehicles Could Stimulate the LA Economy Up to $16 Million Annually
Study Joins Growing Chorus of Economists and Taxi Industry Opposing Councilmember Blumenfield’s Proposal to Ban Rooftop Digital Advertising
Los Angeles, CA, February 12, 2019 — A new economic analysis by Professor Greg Autry with the USC Marshall School of Business finds that rooftop messaging smart screens (RMSS) on taxis and rideshare vehicles “promise to upend the traditional paradigm of mobile advertising in a positive way, delivering significantly greater returns to individual drivers and offering a real- time, mobile messaging platform for public entities.”
The rooftop messaging smart screens such as those deployed by Firefly offer supplemental income for taxi and rideshare drivers with no capital or additional time required of drivers. Professor Autry finds that rooftop messaging smart screens (RMSS) have promise to significantly stimulate the Los Angeles economy. For example, “equipping the Los Angeles taxi fleet with RMSS could stimulate up to $16 million in primary spending with a significant multiplier effect resulting in secondary economic activity of many tens of millions of dollars. The ride-hailing fleet offers an even larger impact.”
This economic study offers a grim analysis of the pending proposal by Los Angeles City Councilmember Blumenfield that would ban taxi drivers from equipping their vehicles with rooftop digital advertising. The proposal will be considered on Wednesday, February 13th at 1pm in the Council’s Transportation Committee.
According to Kish Rajan, Chief Evangelist of CALinnovates, the group that commissioned the study, “We reject this proposal to ban innovation in the taxi industry, especially given the well documented harm it would inflict on drivers and their families. This technology offers taxi drivers countless possibilities to improve the services they provide riders, helps them compete, and raises their incomes without increasing fares on riders. It is a no-brainer that City Officials should reject this ban.”
Professor Autry joins UCLA Professor Gary Blasi, author of, “Driving Poor: Taxi Drivers and the Regulation of the Taxi Industry in Los Angeles ” in objecting to the proposed ban. Professor Blasi’s research found that taxi drivers in Los Angeles worked very long hours for much less than a living wage and he stated, “For the City of Los Angeles to deny these drivers and their families the ability to add a few hundred dollars to their meager incomes would be a disgrace.”
Councilmember Blumenfield’s proposal would disadvantage taxi drivers by eliminating the opportunity to earn additional income without working longer hours. The presidents of the Independent Taxi Owners Association, LA Checker Cab and the United Independent Taxi Drivers, Inc. have asked the Council’s Transportation Committee to reject the proposal. A letter they submitted states:
The elimination of our drivers’ right to install rooftop taxi advertising signs, even the traditional lighted taxi toppers that have been safely deployed in this City for over 30 years, would take away a potential source of meaningful extra income for hardworking taxi drivers. This would be a critical blow to the competitiveness of our industry, which has struggled in an increasingly competitive market. And it would cut short an opportunity for the City of Los Angeles to encourage innovation and growth in the taxi industry.
** Media interviews are available with Professor Autry and Andrey Minosyan, President of the Independent Taxi Owners Association.
Anna Williamson Mobile: 843-408-7125
Kish Rajan Mobile: 415-570-9303 firstname.lastname@example.org
Click image to read full study.