July 23rd, 2012
Virginia drafting rules for highway naming
By Liz Essley
People and companies that buy the naming rights to Virginia’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure won’t just get their names on a sign along the highway.
Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton is pushing to make sure that when a company like Burger King pays to name a road, the company’s name will also pop up in front of potential customers on smartphone directional apps and Internet maps.
“The real value in naming rights isn’t solely a name or a sign on a major thoroughfare,” Connaughton told the Commonwealth Transportation Board, which is drafting the rules for the sale of naming rights, an initiative Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed to raise money for transportation projects. “It’s the thousands of people who look through the Web and through smart apps. They may never drive on that specific piece of highway but still can be touched by this marketing technology.”
So far, the draft rules say that only legal or registered names will be permitted and a bridge or road cannot be named for more than one entity, according to a presentation by Virginia Department of Transportation official Constance Sorrell.