• Smart tips for specifying high-performance road markings

    • Road maintenance worker standing on an unmarked road.



      For a traffic engineer, the safety of the motorists on their roads is a top priority. Motorists need reliable lane guidance to help keep them safe on roads – day or night and in all weather conditions. This is especially true for aging drivers and vehicles with advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS.)

      Developing specifications for road marking materials that are applied to the roads is a critical component in helping provide safety. Here are factors to consider when developing specifications for your roadways:




      • Roadway at night with white reflective centerline markings.

        Retroreflective levels and performance

        Specifying retroreflectivity levels and performance for road markings is critical for ensuring their performance at night and in black spots.

        Road markings typically appear clearly to motorists navigating roads during normal daytime lighting conditions. However, as the sun sets and night falls, drivers rely more on the retroreflectivity of those road markings to help see them and perceive lanes at a distance.1

        If road markings are considered for use in black spots (more complex roadways with higher instances of crashes) or roadways serving older populations with vision issues, increasing the brightness required in a road marking specification could provide more consistently reliable lane guidance that helps reduce crashes.2,3 That’s because brighter markings provide more preview time, where motorists traveling at higher speeds can still comfortably react and adjust their driving based on how the roadway changes.4



      • Reflective road markings under wet pavement and inclement weather conditions.

        Retroreflective performance in inclement weather

        Road markings can disappear from the drivers view in wet, nighttime driving conditions, creating a dangerous situation.1

        Recent studies demonstrate that wet reflective markings are an effective countermeasure for reducing 32% of wet-night crashes and 49% of wet-night fatal injury crashes5,6 so consider wet retroreflective performance when developing a road marking specification. The two ASTM methods for testing these performance levels are:

        • E2832-12 for Wet Continuous, which involves a wetting apparatus that continuously wets the measurement area during measurement

        • E2177-19 for Wet Recovery, which is measured 45 seconds after the measurement area has been wetted7



      • Pavement marking tape on surface

        Long-term durability

        Help limit costly repairs or replacement earlier than expected by checking your pavement marking’s durability. Take into consideration the wear and tear caused by your specific traffic patterns and weather when you specify your road markings.

        Sand abrades softer glass beads, which can create a hazy surface, resulting in a less than efficient optical system. Choose a pavement marking with microcrystalline ceramic beads that are tougher and more durable than glass-only beads.



      The lifetime cost of pavement markings

      Road markings can be an effective safety countermeasure and upgrading a safety countermeasure like high-performance road markings can enhance safety for motorists.




      High-performance pavement markings on the roads

      We apply 3M technology platforms across our operation to create products that help make roads safer. Our approach to road markings means you get our best technology. We offer more than 80 years of road safety innovation with facilities and support around the world.

      Our team of experts actively support pilot projects and full installations of road marking solutions with 3M™ Stamark™ High Performance Pavement Marking Tapes and 3M™ Connected Roads All Weather Elements and work with transportation agencies across the world on road marking specifications.






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      Ready to learn more about specifying for performance and durability?

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      1 3M blog: What happens to the road markings at night when it rains?

      2 Carlson et al. (January 2015). Nighttime Safety and Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity on Two-Lane Highways: Revisited with North Carolina Data. Crash Modification Factors Clearinghouse. http://cmfclearinghouse.org/study_detail.cfm?stid=409. (Retrieved September 16 2021).

      3 FHWA. (December 2005). Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume VIII: Phase II—Study 6: Detection of Pavement Markings During Nighttime Driving in Clear Weather. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/humanfac/04139/index.cfm. (Retrieved September 16 2021).

      4 MN Department of Transportation. (March 2020), Pavement Markings—Wet Retroreflectivity Standards. Adam Pike, Principal Investigator, Texas A&M Transportation Institute. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/research/reports/2020/202009.pdf (PDF, 5.03 MB). (Retrieved Sep 16 2021).

      5 FHWA. (December 2015). Safety Evaluation of Wet-Reflective Pavement Markings. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/15083/index.cfm. (Retrieved September 16 2021).

      6 Park et al. (January 2019). Safety Effects of Wet-Weather Pavement Markings. Crash Modification Factors Clearinghouse.
      http://cmfclearinghouse.org/study_detail.cfm?stid=567. (Retrieved September 16 2021).

      7 Do your pavement markings pass the test? Understanding test methods (PDF, 350.85 KB).