RES2013-29: Retrace Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Levels on Tennessee Highways

This study evaluated the performance of pavement markings in the State of Tennessee and established pavement marking replacement(maintenance) timing for two types of pavement markings used in Tennessee: paints and thermoplastics. Pavement markings provide vital information to road users pertaining to lane restrictions and vehicle movements, which if adhered to, result in improved road safety. Retroreflectivity is a measurement of how well the markings can be seen by road users, especially at night. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) specifies acceptable minimum pavement marking refroreflective properties 45 days from application to be a minimum of 300 mcd/m2 /lux for white stripes and a minimum of 200 mcd/m2 /lux for yellow stripes, (mcd/m2/lux is milli-candela per square meter per lux). The study established data collection sites, collected data using a handheld retroreflectometer (LTL-X) for a period of two years, and evaluated pavement marking retroreflectivity trends over time. The data collection was performed on two types of pavement markings, paints and thermoplastic, where thermoplastic markings are expected to perform longer than paints. Sixty (60) data collection sited were randomly selected from the four TDOT regions. Data were collected approximately every forty-five (45) days on dry markings. Pavement markings deterioration models and deterioration rates were established using the collected data. The analysis was performed at statewide and regional levels. The study established statewide pavement marking deterioration rates per month. Further analysis was performed to evaluate the influence of traffic intensity and elevation to marking deterioration rates. The study found no conclusive pattern for pavement marking deterioration rates based on traffic intensity and elevations. The deterioration rates obtained for thermoplastic markings yielded a very low correlation to measured values. It could be that two years is not long enough for thermoplastic markings to fail to the extent of producing a defined pattern that correlates with measured values. For paint markings, the correlation value ranges were acceptable.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $199526
  • Contract Numbers:


    Contract ID 38749

    FHWA Project No. 041B268

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Managing Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

    615 McCallie Avenue, Department 4905
    Chattanooga, TN  United States  37403
  • Principal Investigators:

    Onyango, M

    Chimba, Deo

  • Start Date: 20130301
  • Expected Completion Date: 20151101
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: Transportation, Planning, Research, and Development

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01762870
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Tennessee Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: RES2013-29, Contract ID 38749, FHWA Project No. 041B268
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 28 2021 11:13AM