Deterioration of pavement marking retroreflectivity in the province of New Brunswick

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University of New Brunswick


Pavement markings with retroreflective properties provide delineation and safety benefits for drivers during nighttime conditions. The New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (NBDTI) do not have a history of retroreflectivity performance for pavement markings throughout their life-cycles. This makes it difficult to assess the impacts of a potential minimum retroreflectivity standard such as that proposed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or to adopt performance-based specifications. A year-long study of pavement markings on 24 sampled road sections was performed to understand the state of pavement markings in New Brunswick and the causes/rates of their deterioration. Analyses found the factors that have a statistically significant effect on pavement marking retroreflectivity include age, traffic volume, road class, season in which the marking was applied, and paint colour. Graphical analyses of the sampled retroreflectivity values over time found that they generally deteriorate over time, and that white markings consistently produce higher readings than yellow markings through their life-cycle even though white markings deteriorate more quickly. Overall only 27% of the markings sampled complied with the FHWA-proposed retroreflectivity standard at the time of their replacement; nearly half failed between six months and one year. The analysis suggested that the current pavement marking maintenance schedule would be inadequate if FHWA’s minimum retroreflectivity standards were to be adopted in New Brunswick. It is recommended that NBDTI govern a pavement marking policy that will improve compliance with any proposed minimum standards.