Do read my dear friend Colin Asher's wonderfully written reported meditation on subway advertising and the urban landscape. An excerpt that gave me pause:
By 1997, the New York City Transit Authority was taking in $38 million from underground advertising sales. That was around the time CBS Outdoor, one of the companies that sells space on the city’s behalf, began leasing entire stations. They call the scheme “station domination,” and promote it as “suited to advertisers who have an umbrella message to impart with multiple facets.”
A subjective aesthetic observation: the uniform themes presented "station domination" is more pleasing to the eye than a cacophony of disjointed, themeless advertisements. From the perspective of Colin's thesis, it's a shrewd, insidious ploy that gives consumer messages the veneer of public art. But it would hardly be insidious if it wasn't effective.
But no "station domination" can ever be as beautiful as the "slideshow" effect that appears on the Q line outside the DeKalb Avenue station, where the darkened pillars of the subway tunnel interrupt a series of graffiti murals on a lighted background. I was lucky enough to grow up on the Q line back when it was the D, where the above-ground tracks extending into Brooklyn after 7th Avenue display the immortal work of SANE SMITH and other legends.
Urban policy question: does anyone know if there is a correllation between advertising revenue collected by transportation boards/agencies/authorities and public transit fare prices? I imagine that those boards/agencies/authorities claim that we'd all be paying $15 for a bus ride if not for advertising. I'd like to know if there's an empirical basis for that claim.