Standard Active Last Updated: Feb 25, 2022
ASTM E1709-16(2022)

Standard Test Method for Measurement of Retroreflective Signs Using a Portable Retroreflectometer at a 0.2 Degree Observation Angle

Significance and Use

5.1 Measurements made by this test method are related to the night time brightness of retroreflective traffic signs approximately facing the driver of a mid-sized automobile equipped with tungsten filament headlights at about 200 m distance.

5.2 Retroreflective material used on traffic signs degrades with time and requires periodic measurement to ensure that the performance of the retroflection provides adequate safety to the driver.

5.3 The quality of the sign as to material used, age, and wear pattern will have an effect on the coefficient of retroreflection. These conditions need to be observed and noted by the user.

5.4 This test method is not intended for use for the measurement of signs when the instrument entrance and observation angles differ from those specified herein.


1.1 This test method covers measurement of the retroreflective properties of sign materials such as traffic signs and symbols (vertical surfaces) using a portable retroreflectometer that can be used in the field. The portable retroreflectometer is a hand-held instrument with a defined standard geometry that can be placed in contact with sign material to measure the retroreflection in a standard geometry. The measurements can be compared to minimum requirements to determine the need for replacement. Entrance and observation angles specified in this test method are those used currently in the United States and may differ from the angles used elsewhere in the world.

1.2 This test method is intended to be used for the field measurement of traffic signs but may be used to measure the performance of materials before placing the sign in the field or before placing the sign material on the sign face.

1.3 This test method covers measurements at a 0.2 degree observation angle. See Test Method E2540 for measurements at a 0.5 degree observation angle.

1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 06.01
Developed by Subcommittee: E12.10
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.1520/E1709-16R22
ICS Code: 17.180.20; 93.080.30