Guidance for Cost-Effective Selection of Pavement Marking Materials for Work Zones Academic Article uri icon


  • Pavement markings provide important information to motorists, especially in a work zone environment where alignments are often changed from what is typical. Unlike normal roadway applications, work zone pavement markings are often placed on the roadway for a limited period of time, such as during an interim phase of construction. The performance and total cost for each material may vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as traffic volume, surface type, and project duration. The objective of this study is to develop a systematic approach to provide practitioners with objective guidance for selecting cost-effective pavement marking materials for work zones that meet specific performance requirements. A Monte Carlo simulation and sensitivity analyses were conducted to establish a cost-based decision support guidance given a set of factors influencing the performance of marking materials. Four types of materials considered in this study were paint, thermoplastics, temporary tapes, and traffic buttons. The analysis results indicated that traffic buttons perform slightly better at shorter phase durations and moderate traffic levels on the concrete surface. The use of thermoplastics was recommended as the lowest-cost alternative only on the asphalt surface with moderate project durations and traffic levels. Paint markings are recommended for short-duration projects regardless of traffic conditions or pavement surfaces. 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Songchitruksa, P., Ullman, G. L., & Pike, A. M.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Songchitruksa, Praprut||Ullman, Gerald L||Pike, Adam M

publication date

  • June 2011