Road Weather Management Program
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Best Practices for Road Weather Management Version 2.0


The Wet Night Visibility of Pavement Markings: A Dynamic Experiment


Fifty-three participants evaluated the visibility of four different pavement marking materials under a simulated rain system operating at 0.8 in (20 mm) of rain per hour at night while driving a vehicle on a closed test track. The conditions tested include a variable lighting condition, glare, pavement types and two different vehicle types. The evaluation consisted determining the detection distance of a start or an end point of a white 4-inch edgeline. The result showed that lighting improved visibility and provided mitigation for the effects of glare. The results also showed that the wet retroreflective tape provided the longest visibility distance followed by equivalent performance of profiles thermoplastic and large glass beads with standard paint providing the shortest visibility distance. The detection distance was compared to the retroreflective performance of the pavement marking technology. It was found that a log-linear relationship exists between the retroreflectivity and the detection distance. It was also found that the level of retroreflectivity provided by the materials tested did not provided adequate visibility distance for a sedan with a 2-second visibility time at speeds greater than 45 mph.


86th Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. For an electronic copy of this resource, please direct your request to

Date: 2007


Gibbons, Hankey


Pavement condition

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