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.
Pavement Marking Demonstration Project: State of Alaska and State of Tennessee - Report to Congress This 2010 research study outlines the preliminary findings that use of 6-inch edge lines results in a reduction of several crash types on rural two-lane roads. It also indicates States are pursuing alternative procurement strategies to be more cost-effective and the industry has is using more environmentally benign materials. [Publication No. FHWA-HRT-09-039]
Updates to Research on Recommended Minimum Levels for Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity
to Meet Driver Night Visibility Needs [
PDF 659 KB ]
This 2007 research report presents new recommendations for minimum levels
for pavement marketing reflectivity. The report also presents an analysis
of the limitations of the recommendations, and a plan for future research.
[Publication No. FHWA-HRT-07-059]
Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Workshops Summary Report: [
PDF 426 KB ]
This report summarizes input received during two pavement marking retroreflectivity
workshops sponsored by the FHWA in 2007 to gather stakeholder input for
the proposed revisions to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
(MUTCD)regarding pavement marking retroreflectivity. [Publication No. FHWA-SA-08-003]
Preliminary Economic Impacts of Implementing Minimum Levels of Pavement
Marking Retroreflectivity [
PDF 464 KB ]
Researchers developed a spreadsheet analysis tool to calculate the costs
associated with implementing minimum retroreflectivity levels. Using the
mid-range of assumed pavement marking costs the analyses show that the
economic impacts range from $0 to $150 million per year, depending on the
assumptions used in the analysis. [Publication No. FHWA-SA-08-010]
Impact of Edge Lines on Safety of Rural Two-Lane Highways:
This before-and-after study of edge line implementation in Louisiana showed
that edge lines help drivers confine their traveling path, particularly
at night, and edge lines have no or little effect on drivers’ speed.
The Benefits of Pavement Markings: A Renewed Perspective Based on Recent
and Ongoing Research:
This paper was developed to bring together many of the recent and ongoing
research efforts to demonstrate a renewed perspective regarding the benefits
of pavement markings and, where information is available, describe the benefits
of various aspects of pavement markings. Published in Transportation Research
Record TRR 2107.
Roadway Delineation Practices Handbook:
This 1994 FHWA handbook was developed to assist design, traffic and maintenance
engineering personnel in making determinations about roadway delineation
systems. Topics covered include how to choose the appropriate system for
a given situation; when a system has reached the end of its useful life;
and how to maintain a quality delineation system.
Benefit-Cost Analysis of Lane Marking [
PDF 1.74 MB ]
Pavement markings save lives and reduce congestion. This analysis of the
benefits and costs of edge lines, center lines, and lane lines concludes
that, on average, each dollar spent on pavement striping yields $60 in benefits.
The benefit-cost ratio rises with traffic volume. The urban ratio is twice
the rural ratio. Published in Transportation Research Record 1334.
Turner-Fairbank Photometric and Visibility Laboratory:
The FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center’s Photometric and Visibility
Laboratory (PVL) enables researchers to evaluate the photometric and colorimetric
properties of signing and marking materials, including fluorescent materials.
Studies of human-centered systems related to visibility issues are also
performed in this laboratory.
For hard copies of documents with publication numbers, please send a request
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
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Guidance memorandum on the Roadside Design Guide - 4th Edition NEW!
Memorandum - Roadside Safety Hardware-Federal-Aid Reimbursement Eligibility Process NEW!
2009 MUTCD Compliance Dates Revised NEW!
FHWA Technical Advisory T 5040.40: Center Line Rumble Strips NEW!
FHWA Memo: Technical Advisories for Rumble Strips NEW!
Roadway Departure Safety Implementation Plans
Roadway Departure Countermeasures
Roadside Design: Steel Strong Post W-beam. A guidance memo was issued on May 17, 2010 on the height of guardrail for new installations. Guidance regarding existing guardrail will be developed in the next several months, in consultation with AASHTO’s Technical Committee on Roadside Safety.
Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [HTML, PDF]
MUTCD Text of the Proposed Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Standard
Summary of the MUTCD Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Standard
Revised Assessment of Economic Impacts of Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity
Low Cost Treatments for Horizontal Curve Safety
The Safety Edge