LONDON: The average British consumer is exposed to over 40 out-of-home ads each day, indicating the need to deliver creative that can cut through the clutter, research into travelling habits has revealed.

Route, which measures out-of-home advertising in the UK, used GPS devices to follow the movements of 28,000 volunteers, tracking 3.5m journeys and measuring traffic near 450,000 outdoor advertising sites, from shopping centres to Tube carriages.

The average person makes contact with 27 roadside posters and 14 bus ads every day, according to the study. And on a typical London commute, travellers will encounter 74 ads.

Other findings included the fact that Londoners get around 25% slower than Glaswegians, people in the north east walk further than anyone else and people in the east of England travel at the greatest speeds. 

The average distance travelled is 241km a week, with men typically journeying 46% further than women, covering 288km compared to women's 197km.

"We now know who is travelling where, how, when and at what speed," said James Whitmore, Route's managing director.

In the future, he added, advertisers will be able to target UK outdoor sites with greater insight, using standard factors such as age and gender, as well as lifestyle and leisure habits or education and wealth.

"The medium is changing rapidly and we must think from the point of view of the audience, not from the position of a poster," said Whitmore.

The four-year study sought to understand how people see the world, considering, for example, the relative visibility of buses to people in cars and those on walking on the pavement or how people see things from inside a train or tube or on board a bus.

Whitmore explained how a complex traffic intensity model had been created to map and populate every pathway in the country, taking data from such diverse sources as ticket barrier volumes from Transport for London and road traffic numbers from the Department for Transport.

Algorithms then calculate the probability of each respondent being exposed to any advertising site (or combination thereof) for any period of up to one year.

Data sourced from Financial Times/MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff