Wet Night Visibility of Pavement Markings

Report No: 05-CR3

Published in 2004

About the report:

This report describes an investigation into the performance of pavement markings in wet night conditions. The performance of a typical pavement marking will degrade when it gets wet. This is a result of the flooding of the marking optics, thereby reducing retroreflectivity. Several technologies are available to improve wet marking performance. In this project, six technologies were tested using both standard measurement methods and participant evaluations. The results show that two of the marking technologies, raised retroreflective markers and wet retroreflective tape, outperformed the group under all conditions. These markings were also highly accepted by the participants. The results also show that the standard paint and glass beads technology is the worst performing and the least desirable of those evaluated. A comparison of the ASTM retroreflectivity measurement methods and the measured luminance results also indicates that the methods are suitable for the conditions used in the evaluation; however, possible additions and corrections to the methods are outlined in this report. A follow-up study is underway to allow development of a performance-based specification for pavement markings for wet night visibility.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Ronald B. Gibbons, Jonathan M. Hankey, Irena Pashaj

Last updated: November 28, 2023

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