Pavement Marking Visibility Requirements During Wet Night Conditions

Report No: 07-CR7

Published in 2006

About the report:

This study investigated the performance of pavement markings in wet night conditions. Typically, performance will decrease in wet conditions. The degradation is a result of flooding of the marking optics and a change in the optical media, thereby reducing retroreflectivity and the visibility distance. Several technologies are available to improve the visibility of markings under wet conditions. This study used four technologies and evaluated them in a dynamic situation. In the experiment, vehicles were driven by older participants and visibility was measured based on the detection distances of the beginning or ending of a continuous edge marking. The results indicate that a specifically designed wet retroreflective tape performed better than the currently used paint and glass bead technology. Paint with large glass beads and profiled thermoplastics also showed an improvement over the standard paint and glass bead technology. A relationship between retroreflectivity and the detection distance was found, which was used to postulate a minimum required value for visibility during wet night conditions. A value of 200 mcd/m2/lx appears to provide a reasonable detection distance for a minimum performance requirement.

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.


Last updated: November 25, 2023

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