March 25th, 2011

Tollway trucks will bring assistance, advertising

Chicago Tribune

Drivers who run out of gas or have a flat tire on the Illinois Tollway could soon find themselves getting an advertising pitch along with their rescue.

Tollway officials announced plans Thursday to sell advertising space on the sides of the Highway Emergency Lane Patrol, or HELP, trucks that assist stranded motorists.

That’s only the first step in a revenue-raising strategy that could lead to selling naming rights on tollway oases, putting ads on the tollway’s website and even leasing ad space on the domes where road salt is stored.

Placing ads on the 13 HELP trucks will defray the $2 million-a-year cost of providing the roadside assistance, officials said.

A growing number of U.S. highway agencies are looking at ways to raise non-toll revenue, said Diana Stewart, the tollway’s marketing manager.

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