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November/December 2010

Roadway Pavement Markings

An effort currently under way by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration to set national standards for minimum maintained retroreflectivity levels for pavement markings has illustrated the need for a practical protocol to measure such levels. In response to this need, ASTM International Committee D04 on Road and Paving Materials has developed D7585/D7585M, Practice for Evaluating Retroreflective Pavement Markings Using Portable Hand-Operated Instruments. The new standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D04.38 on Highway Traffic Control Materials.

D7585/D7585M serves as a successor to a previous ASTM standard, D6359, Specification for Minimum Retroreflectance of Newly Applied Pavement Marking Using Portable Hand-Operated Instruments, which was withdrawn in 2006.

According to Paul Carlson, a research engineer at the Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University, and a D04.38 member, D7585 describes three techniques that can be used to assess the retroreflected luminance of pavement markings.

“Roadway agencies specify different levels of retroreflectivity for different reasons. Some specify retroreflective levels for newly applied markings while others specify retroreflective levels for in-service markings or end-of-service warranty periods,” says Carlson. “Contractors or third-party service providers will use the standard to measure the retroreflectivity using a standard technique.”

All interested parties, particularly users, are encouraged to participate in the standards developing activities of D04.38.


Technical Information: Paul Carlson, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Phone: 979-845-1728

ASTM Staff: Daniel Smith

Phone: 610-832-9727