Sydney outdoor print under threat

The end of printed street furniture signage in Sydney could come as soon as 2019, as the City of Sydney says it wants a new consistent style which uses digital technologies.

The local government is seeking to replace its current street furniture – bus stops, kiosks, toilets, benches and bins – with digitally enabled inventory, which would likely have little to no room for printed advertising or notices.

Nationally the value of advertising on street furniture is around $20m month, although this includes the spend on bus and tram advertising.

The council is currently calling for tenders to replace the existing furniture, with the new contract due to start in 2019. The last time than contract went out to tender was two decades ago.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the changes would help make Sydney more attractive and accessible while meeting the needs of today’s tech-savvy commuters, residents and tourists.

Moore says, “This is an opportunity to invest in new street furniture with a consistent style and using technologies to make it easier for people to stay informed and find their way around our city.

“Eventually we could see real-time emergency, event and transport information displayed on bus shelters.

“We want to make sure no one is left behind in this shift to a digital future, so we’re looking for innovative local and international providers with new ideas to deliver fast and free public wifi.

“Across the expressions of interest, we are looking for modern sustainable designs that use energy efficient materials and fittings.”

The City’s existing street furniture contracts have been in place since 1998 and are due to expire by mid-2019.

It estimates the cost of supplying, installing and maintaining the new street furniture items at less than the cost of purchasing and maintaining the existing street furniture.

Expressions of interest are open until February 6, with the contracts for both the wifi service and street furniture to be awarded around mid-2018.

The existing street furniture items will be progressively removed and replaced with new items from 2019.

Advertising panels will be allowed on certain items – subject to development consent on a site-by-site basis – with advertising sales revenue being used to fund the supply and maintenance of the new street furniture.

A portion of advertising on street furniture items will be reserved for cultural events that support the arts and encourage people to take part in local creative endeavours.

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