Reflective Road Markings Let Humans and Vehicles Share Security
Nov 24,2023

Reflective Road Markings Let Humans and Vehicles Share Security

Road markings are of vital importance in traffic safety system. Compared to street lights, signage and other safety facilities, road marking can have a sustained positive impact on road safety at a relatively low cost. At the same time, as technology advances, autonomous vehicles are considered an answer to the high accident rate.

However, since autonomous vehicles rely on Machine Vision for guidance in the vast majority of situations, they cannot operate effectively on roads lacking maintenance. Therefore, applicable autonomous driving technology solutions must include road markings that can be recognized by human drivers and machine vision alike.

IRoad Markings Safety System

Road markings are a traffic safety system composed of a base layer and a retro-reflective layer. The base layer can be solvent-based or water-based paints, thermoplastic paints that are softened under heat, or two-component or multi-component paints that are solidified by chemical reactions on the road surface.

Base Layer—Paints

The base layer is the key component of the road marking system, which can be divided into two categories: thin and thick. The thinner base is usually no more than 1mm, and the construction method is mainly spraying. The thicker base can reach several millimeters, and the construction method is mainly screeding. The main functions of the base layer respectively are to provide the color required for road markings, to form a retro-reflective surface, and to bond glass beads. The selection of base materials determines the durability of the road marking system, which could significantly improve the quality of the road markings if the materials selected possessed better weather resistance.

Retro-Reflective Layer—Glass Beads

Glass beads are an indispensable part of the road marking system, providing retro-reflection and protecting the base layer from the abrasion caused by wheels to a certain extent. The refractive index (RI) is an essential characteristic of glass beads for road markings. Usually the standard glass beads have a refractive index of 1.5, while more advanced glass beads can have a refractive index of 1.7. In some special applications, the refractive index of glass beads can reach 1.9. High quality glass beads have better roundness and reflectivity, as well as stronger anti-corrosion.

II. Road Markings Are Crucial

Driving is a highly visual task, and road markings can provide simple, continuous, and clear reference to location. Road marking helps vehicles stay centered in the lane, especially around curves.

Road markings are especially crucial when driving on roads lacking lighting at night. Studies have shown that darkness greatly impairs drivers' visual abilities, so although the traffic load is lower at night than during the day, the accident rate and severity are significantly higher.

Road markings must be reflective so that they are clearly visible under headlights. That's what glass beads do. The degree of reflection of the road markings depends on the type, quality and settlement of glass beads. During the use of road markings, the surface wear of glass beads will cause the attenuation of the retro-reflection.

In the Journal of the Transportation Research Board in 2013, Texas A&M University confirmed the correlation between the retro-reflection coefficient and traffic safety. The study found that for every 100mcd/m²/lx increase in the retro-reflection coefficient of road markings, the number of intersections associated with accidents decreased by 23%.

III. The Role of Reflective Marking in Automatic Driving

Currently, about 90% of accidents are caused by human error. Therefore, it is widely believed that adding more sensors or replacing human drivers with precision computers can reduce the occurrence of accidents. However, without properly maintained road markings, automatic driving systems cannot function properly. That's because the automatic driving system still relies on road markings to determine where the vehicle is in the lane.

The increase in the retro-reflection coefficient of road markings will enable the lane departure warning system to operate more effectively. Almost all machine vision-based automation systems require road markings to be reflective in order to enable effective recognition at night.

For the foreseeable future, road markings will not only guide human-driven vehicles, but also computer-controlled cars. Until full automation becomes a reality, it is absolutely essential that road signage and road markings should be properly maintained at a high level.

With its excellent characteristics, two-component paints are gradually replacing thermoplastic paints to become the mainstream of road markings. Especially considering its visibility, durability, environmental protection and long-term cost, more and more high-grade highways are using it as the preferred solution for road marking.

Tory for Your Traffic Safety Needs

MMA two-component road paint is recommended for achieving a high quality, durable and long-lasting road markings. Besides, MMA traffic paint can be firmly bonded to a variety of substrates. The safety and visibility of road markings can be improved by mix MMA with glass beads to form a high-reflective road surface.

As a leading manufacturer of traffic safety materials with more than 30 years’ experience, Tory is committed to ongoing product development and excellent customer services that makes us the perfect partner for your road marking paint supply needs. For more information, or to get started on your traffic safety solution: https://www.cntory.com/

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Email: Echo@cntory.com

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