I: Introduction

1.01: Scope and Purpose

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (“MTD”) is a political subdivision of the State of Illinois and operates a regional transit system throughout Champaign-Urbana and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. It is in the public interest to make advertising space available on certain designated transit assets to generate revenue and help fund the operation of the regional transit system. These advertising spaces include, but are not limited to exterior advertising on vehicles, interior advertising on vehicles, digital displays on Passenger Information Kiosks, advertising placed in the annual Maps & Schedules publication, and any additional special advertising space offered by MTD in the Client’s order summary.

Advertisements on MTD property are not to be construed as the viewpoint or official message of MTD or endorsed by MTD, and all advertisements are subject to final approval by the Managing Director of MTD or their designee.

1.02: Nonpublic Forum

MTD and its vehicles and property are not public forums or designated public forums. MTD reserves the right to regulate the content of advertisements on its property, including but not limited to the interior and exterior of its vehicles, consistently with state, federal, and local laws and regulations.

MTD will make space on its property available for limited types of advertising (“Permitted Advertising”). By allowing limited types of advertising on or within its vehicles and property, MTD does not intend to create a public forum or designated public forum for public discourse or expressive activity, or to provide a forum for all types of advertisements.

1.03: Excluded Advertising

MTD will not accept for display on its property the types of advertising prohibited by these advertising policies. By not accepting Excluded Advertising, MTD can (a) maintain a professional advertising environment that maximizes advertising revenues and minimizes interference or disruption of the commercial and service aspects of its regional transit system; (b) maintain an image of neutrality on political and religious matters and other noncommercial issues that are the subject of public debate, advocacy, and concern; (c) protect passengers, employees, and MTD property from harm or damage that can result from individuals’ reactions to political or controversial materials; (d) help build and retain transit ridership; and (e) maintain a safe and appropriate environment for all riders, including the minors MTD transports through its agreements with local schools.

1.04: Limits on Permitted Advertising

Certain Permitted Advertising is subject to reasonable limits. These limits enable MTD to (a) avoid subjecting its passengers and other members of the public to material that may discourage them from using MTD services; (b) maintain an image of professionalism and decorum and which is consistent with MTD’s brand identity and reputation; (c) avoid displaying materials that are not suitable for viewing by minors who ride on MTD vehicles or whose neighborhoods are served by MTD vehicles; and (d) maximize revenues by attracting and maintaining ridership.

II: Advertising Policies

2.01: Associated Materials

MTD reserves the right to review and consider content published on an advertiser’s website or social media, other advertising content published by the advertiser, and other related material when determining whether an advertisement is consistent with the principles in these Advertising Policies.

For example, advertising that directs viewers to Internet addresses, social media, or telephone numbers that contain materials, images or information that would violate these
advertising standards if the materials, images or information were contained in the advertising displayed or posted on MTD property will not be allowed.

2.02: Excluded Advertising

MTD will not accept the following advertising for display, posting, or placement on its property:

  1. Advertising that does not comply with federal, state, or local laws and regulations.
  2. Advertising containing copy and/or art which is profane, obscene, or sexually explicit.
  3. Advertising for adult establishments which are not open to minors. This includes, but is not limited to, advertising that promotes or displays images associated with adult book stores, adult video stores, nude dance clubs and other adult entertainment establishments, adult telephone services, adult Internet sites, and escort services.
  4. Copy and/or art which portrays violent acts or other graphic violence, including the depiction of bodies, body parts, and fetuses which are in states of mutilation, dismemberment, disfigurement, and/ or decomposition is not permitted.
  5. Advertisements depicting weapons, ammunition, or explosives, or promoting the sale or use of the same. This includes advertisements for weapon modification accessories.
  6. Advertising which MTD determines is disturbing or graphic, including but not limited to images of abused or neglected children or animals.
  7. Advertising for tobacco, recreational or medical marijuana or cannabis products or devices (including CBD), liquor stores, and/or alcoholic beverages.
  8. Illustrations or references which encourage persons to refrain from using safety precautions or which promote behavior, conduct, or products in violation of established public health standards.
  9. Political or issues-based advertising of any kind. For the purposes of these Advertising Policies, political or issues based advertising includes, but is not limited to: (a) advertisements, posters, or other displays that promote or oppose candidates for appointment or elective offices; (b) political campaign material; (c) advertisements, posters, or other displays that promote or oppose ballot questions, initiatives, petitions, or referenda; (d) advertisements, posters, or other displays that promote, oppose, or otherwise directly relate to issues of public debate or economic, political, or social issues; and (e) advertisements that contain content that exploits controversial political or social issues for commercial purposes.
  10. Religious advertising, including but not limited to religious messages, religious connotations, religious doctrines, religious symbols, language or symbols being used to proselytize or which may be perceived to proselytize to a particular religion, and invitations to attend a religious service, institution, or event. Advertisements by religious groups of a non-religious, purely community service nature (for example, a clothes drive for area students, or an advertisement for a community food pantry) may be permitted at the sole discretion of MTD.
  11. Advertisements which discriminate or encourage discrimination against people based on personal attributes such as race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, disability, medical or genetic condition, or any other class protected by state, federal, or local law, or which are (or reasonably could be interpreted as being) disparaging, disreputable, or disrespectful to individuals in a protected class.
  12. Advertisements affecting MTD’s image or operation. MTD will not accept advertisements that threaten or adversely affect the public image of MTD or its services, MTD’s ability to operate effectively, or MTD’s ability to attract and maintain ridership.

2.03: Standards and Restrictions of Permitted Advertising

Permitted advertising is subject to the following limitations:

  1. All commercial advertising must be truthful. False, deceptive or misleading commercial advertising is not permitted.
  2. Advertisements may not contain implied or declared endorsement of any product or service by MTD, unless MTD has given prior written approval regarding the endorsement (for example, advertisements for a service, event, or program for which MTD is an official sponsor, co-sponsor, or participant).
  3. Advertisements promoting contests must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. The contest sponsor must indemnify MTD from any claim or legal action against MTD involving any contest advertisement placed in MTD system.
  4. If an advertisement contains a testimonial then, upon request, the sponsor shall provide to MTD documentation that the person making the testimonial has authorized its use in the advertisement. The sponsor shall indemnify MTD against any legal action by any person quoted or referred to in any testimonial advertisement placed in MTD system. Such indemnity shall be in the form and substance acceptable to MTD.
  5. Commercial advertising offering premiums or gifts must not misstate their value.
  6. Use of MTD graphics, explicit MTD references or representations, or indirect references to MTD in advertising require advance written approval by MTD.

2.04: Prohibitions on Literature or Product Distribution and Leafleting

MTD’s purpose in operating a regional transit system is to meet the public’s need for efficient, effective, and safe public transportation. MTD property and vehicles are not public forums for public discourse or expressive activity. Literature or product distributions, leafleting and similar activities can disrupt or delay passengers who are boarding and exiting vehicles, distract passengers, distract operators, cause maintenance issues, and otherwise create safety issues for passengers, operators and surrounding traffic.

Accordingly, political campaign activities, distribution of political or issues campaign literature, leafleting, and other informational or campaign activities are prohibited within MTD vehicles and on MTD property. On a limited basis and in conjunction with a “partnering” opportunity approved by MTD, MTD may allow an advertiser to distribute items on or within MTD vehicles or property. Any distribution of literature, leaflets, coupons, products, samples, or other items must be pre-approved by MTD and must comply strictly with terms and conditions established by MTD.

2.05: Other Permitted Advertising and Public Service Announcements

MTD may make advertising space available for advertising proposed by governmental entities, institutions, or tax-exempt nonprofit organizations (examples include but are not limited to advertisements focusing on personal health or wellness issues, or ads informing the public about programs, services or events). Nonprofit entities must document their tax-exempt status. On a limited basis and at its discretion, MTD may make unpaid advertising space available for public service announcements or advertising related to mutually beneficial trade and sponsorship agreements.

Costs associated with the design, production, installation, and removal of public service announcements are the responsibility of the group or organization requesting the public service announcement. The advertising and public service announcements permitted under this section cannot contain displays or messages that qualify as Excluded Advertising under Section 2.02 and must comply with these Advertising Policies. Unless the source of the advertising or public service announcement is obvious from the content or copy, the advertisement or public service announcement must specifically identify the sponsor of the advertisement or the message.

2.06: Advertising Pricing and Space Availability

The price for placing advertising on MTD vehicles or property is governed by the, contract(s) between MTD and its advertisers and/or contractor(s). MTD limits the amount of space on its vehicles and property available for advertising and does not represent that it can accommodate all requests for advertising space. Advertising space will be made available only on property designated by MTD. No advertising, signs and other types of postings or messages may be displayed, posted, or placed on any other MTD property.

2.07: Reservation of Rights

The MTD reserves the right to amend these Advertising Policies at any time. Revisions or amendments will be made in writing and provided to MTD’s advertisers and contractor(s). Subject to any contractual obligations, MTD reserves the right to discontinue advertising on MTD vehicles and property and discontinue accepting advertising for display or posting on MTD vehicles or property. MTD reserves the right to limit the availability of advertising space on its vehicles and property and to remove advertising that does not comply with these Advertising Policies and, subject to any contractual obligations, reserves the right to display advertisements and notices on MTD vehicles and property that pertain to the operation of MTD transit services and operations and its own promotions.

III: Appeal of Advertising Decisions

3.01: Initial Review

MTD will make initial decisions about accepting or rejecting proposed advertising. The decisions will be based on these Advertising Policies and will be made by the Managing Director or their designee. MTD staff may work with advertisers to resolve issues about advertisements that do not comply with these Advertising Policies. Resolution may include modification of the art, copy or both.

3.02: Appeals

An advertiser may appeal a decision to reject or remove an advertisement by filing a written request with the Managing Director of MTD or their designee within ten (10) business days after the rejection or removal decision. The advertiser’s request must state why the advertiser disagrees with the decision in light of MTD’s Advertising Policies. The Managing Director or their designee will review the basis for the rejection or removal and will consider the advertiser’s reasons for filing the request. The Managing Director or their designee will make a decision on the request and will notify the advertiser of their decision in writing within fifteen (15) business days after receiving the advertiser’s request. The decision of the Managing Director or their designee is final.