Pavement Markings

Adequately maintained pavement markings improve highway safety and prevent roadway departure crashes by bouncing light from vehicle headlights back toward the vehicle and the driver's eyes, making the pavement markings appear brighter and easier to see and read. Because the retroreflective properties of traffic control devices deteriorate over time, highway agencies need to actively manage the maintenance of pavement markings in order to ensure that they are clearly visible at night.

Regulations / Standards

On April 22, 2010, a standard for maintaining minimum retroreflectivity of longitudinal pavement markings was published as a notice of proposed rulemaking in the federal register. Comment period closed August 20, 2010.

  • MUTCD Notice of Proposed Amendment – Federal Register Notice [ HTML, PDF ]
    Proposal for a standard for maintaining minimum retroreflectivity of longitudinal pavement markings published in the Federal Register on April 22, 2010. This document, developed as part of the rulemaking process, provides the background and detail explaining the proposal.

  • MUTCD Language – Maintaining Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity:
    This link shows the proposed pavement marking retroreflectivity MUTCD Text. Note that this proposal was named Revision 1 to the 2009 MUTCD at the time this NPA was published. In 2011 FHWA published two additional Notices of Proposed Amendments. The amendments will actually be numbered in the order that the final rules become effective.

  • Summary of Proposed MUTCD Retroreflectivity Pavement Marking Standard:
    This brief summarizes the technical details of the 2010 Notice of Proposed Rulemakings. [Publication No. FHWA-SA-10-015]

  • Revised Assessment of Economic Impacts of Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity:
    Final Report: Revised Assessment of Economic Impacts of Implementing Minimum Levels of Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity. This updated report estimates increased costs of 3.2 percent of the current costs to implement the improved retroreflectivity of longitudinal markings in the proposed rulemaking. [Publication No. FHWA-SA-10-16]


For hard copies of documents with publication numbers, please send a request to report.center@dot.gov and include the publication number and title, along with the number of copies and your mailing address and phone number. Requests will be filled based on availability.

Return to top

Program Contact

Cathy Satterfield

What's New

Median Barriers on Divided Highways Regardless of Access Type new

ET-Plus W-Beam Guardrail Terminal Memorandum new

FHWA Resource Charts, July 2013

FHWA Roadway Lighting Handbook, August 2012

RwD Strategic Plan, April 2013

Updated Guidance on Sign Retroreflectivity, April 2013

Clarifying Guidance on Daytime Luminance, January 2013

Guidance for the Selection , Use and Maintenance of Cable Barrier Systems, November 2012