Evaluation of Pavement Markings for Improved Visibility During Wet Night Conditions

Report No: 96-R33

Published in 1996

About the report:

This study evaluated the night visibility of waffle tape and paint with large beads, particularly during wet night conditions. Data were collected at two sites along a primary arterial. The evaluation included an examination of (1) the application of the markings, (2) the visibility of the markings using retroreflectometer measurements and subjective assessments, and (3) the cost-effectiveness of the markings. The study revealed: (1) compared with paint with standard beads, the waffle tape and paint with large beads were slightly more retroreflective during light rain at night and recovered quicker after flooding out, (2) the marginal improvement in visibility during periods of light rain do not offset the operational problems of applying paint with large beads, and (3) the benefits of waffle tape during light rain do not appear to justify its use solely for wet night visibility. Because of the above findings, snowplowable raised pavement markers, which are very visible in wet night conditions, appear to be more cost-effective. The study recommends that (1) VDOT continue to use and maintain snowplowable raised pavement markers for visibility during wet night conditions, (2) VDOT continue to monitor FHWA's study on all-weather pavement markings, and (3) the Suffolk District consider testing non-snowplowable raised pavement markers to assess their use as a low-cost alternative to improve visibility during wet night conditions where snowplowing occurs infrequently.

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: December 17, 2023

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