Alcohol Ads on Public Transit: Can They Be Stopped?

March 14, 2016


A robust panel discussion led by Alcohol Justice's Bruce Lee Livingston will take place at the Alcohol Policy 17 Conference in Arlington, VA on Friday April 8, 2016.

The panel will include:

Bruce Livingston, MPP
Alcohol Justice

Robert Pezzolesi, MPH
New York Alcohol Policy Alliance

Michael Siegel, PhD
Boston University School of Public Health

Diane Riibe, Moderator
U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance

Model laws exist in San Francisco, Seattle, and Philadelphia to ban advertising on public transit. Currently 19 major transit agencies in the nation do not allow alcohol advertising. New York City’s Public Transit and the City of Chicago still allow alcohol advertising that is viewed by millions of children every school day. Other transit agencies continually backslide, for example, a recent attempt at the DC Metro system. Success is much more difficult where state governments have primary authority, such as in New York and Massachusetts.

This panel includes researchers and advocates from throughout the country who will gather together to compare notes and share strategies. A sustained effort from 2006 to 2010 in the San Francisco Bay Area drove alcohol ads off of BARTand MUNI. An effort in Los Angeles from 2010 to 2015 ended with a City of Los Angeles ordinance that ends alcohol ads on city buses, benches, and bus stops. Boston advocates have been mostly successful through long-term efforts, while a New York City effort has begun, highlighted at

The panelists will look at the national research in Alcohol Justice’s 2013 report, “These Bus Ads Don’t Stop for Children.” The following questions will be up for discussion: Can local efforts be coordinated nationally? Are there state or federal transportation funding handles for organizing? How is the cost-benefit for the public integrated into the transit agency calculations, if at all? How can the agencies be better tracked? Can communities control alcohol ads on other public property, such as airports, train stations, and sports venues?

For more info & to register for AP 17: