New Tool Shines a Light on Line Paint Brightness

Able to record 400 measurements per second into an internal computer and function wirelessly, a state of the art retroreflectometer is our newest tool for testing line paint performance.

While the name retroreflectometer sounds like a flashback to 1970s disco lights, our 12-kilogram mobile marking retroreflectometer is mounted on the side of a ministry vehicle. As the vehicle moves, the device gauges how the line markings and raised pavement markers (like cat’s eyes or road studs) below are holding up, and the brightness they are delivering. The data flashes across a screen inside the vehicle, to give a live reading of what’s being measured, and allows the operator to make adjustments to the device.

What’s Retroreflectivity?

Retroreflectivity, or low light visibility, is crucial to highway safety. When your vehicle lights connect with the pavement markings, the retroreflectors (usually tiny glass or plastic beads) embedded into the lines, bounce the light back to your eyes.

In addition to the retroreflectivity data, the device stores information about the contrast between the pavement and the marking, marking coverage, line type (eg. solid, broken, double), line width, GPS coordinates, temperature, humidity, performance of raised retroreflective pavement markers, vehicle speed, date, time, and user-programmed information. The device can measure both white and yellow, and flat and inset markings, on roads that are smooth or rough, under various light conditions.

“Stickier” Paint, Bigger Beads for Lasting Brightness

We recently got this measuring tool, so we can delve more deeply into the performance of our new line marking paint, in places where durability and visibility have been a problem. The new paint formulation allows for thicker application than our previous paints, and contains the most advanced resin available. (What’s resin? Similar to the sticky stuff from trees, it binds things together.)

We’re expecting the paint will stand up better to scraping snowplow blades, studded tires, chains and the scouring effect of winter traction grit under vehicle tires. The other key aspect of this “thicker” and “stickier” paint is that it holds onto the new slightly larger glass beads that we’ll be using to enhance the line’s visibility.

The new paint and blend of beads will be applied on sections of provincial highways, where paint endurance and visibility have been less than glowing. This includes stretches of Highways 1, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 4A, 5, 7, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22, 27, 97, 97A, 97C, 99 and the Coquihalla and Malahat Highways.

We’re excited about using our new retroreflectometer and expect it will play a shining role, as it helps us with the science of developing better, brighter pavement markings.

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6 Responses to New Tool Shines a Light on Line Paint Brightness

  1. Jesse on October 6, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Hopefully the new resin will make a big enough difference for driving in the rain in the dark. Cant believe how useless the current lines are in those situations. It would also be smart for the province to start installing some fencing rather then just the pathetically low concrete dividers to reduce glare from oncoming traffic in low light/dark driving situations.

    • tranbceditor on October 10, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Hi Jesse – great feedback – thank you!

  2. Anonymous on October 6, 2017 at 7:00 am

    does it take into account the angle (line of sight) for low riding vehicle such as sports cars or high riding vehicles like a tractor-trailer?

    • tranbceditor on October 6, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Are you referring to the reflective beads? If so, the beads reflect light from various angles.

  3. Christine Yates on September 27, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Thank goodness. Nothing worse than no v isible lines on the road, especially at night in poor driving conditions.

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