Review and Development of Recommended Minimum Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Levels Academic Article uri icon


  • Research was conducted to review and develop minimum levels for pavement marking retroreflectivity to meet nighttime driving needs. A previous study performed in the 1990s using a computer model called the Computer-Aided Road-Marking Visibility Evaluator resulted in a table of minimum levels of pavement marking retroreflectivity values that FHWA used to develop its initial set of minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity levels. Since then, additional research has been completed as well as development of a newer, more feature-intensive computer model called the Target Visibility Predictor (TarVIP). The research presented used TarVIP to study pavement marking retroreflectivity needs while using the most recently available information pertaining to driver, vehicle, and headlamp trends in the United States. In this research, previous pavement marking research efforts that included findings or recommendations related to minimum retroreflectivity are summarized. Next, a comprehensive survey on the factors that affect pavement marking visibility and minimum RL levels was performed, with key factors identified. They included pavement marking configuration, pavement surface type, vehicle speed, vehicle type, and presence of raised reflective pavement markers. From findings of the key factor reviews, the TarVIP model was used to generate preliminary results that could then be analyzed by sensitivity analysis. The research resulted in a set of recommended minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity levels for typical conditions on U.S. roadways. Limitations of the research were listed as well as concepts for future work.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Debaillon, C., Carlson, P. J., Hawkins, H., He, Y., Schnell, T., & Aktan, F.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Debaillon, Chris||Carlson, Paul J||Hawkins, H Gene Jr||He, Yefei||Schnell, Tom||Aktan, Fuat

publication date

  • January 2008