The Need – Increase Retroreflectivity of Road Markings to Reduce Accident Rates

Worldwide studies and reports by recognized authorities have indicated that improvements in the retroreflectivity of road markings and signs has led to significant reduction in vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities.

Reports indicate that although only 25% of road journeys are at night, over 50% of fatalities are at night.  Poor road infrastructure (visible road markings and signs) are consistently listed as a possible cause for the accidents.

In 2013 over 26,000 people died on the EU roads. The (2005-2009) EU White Roads project analyzed data on 250,000 accidents across the EU and concluded that increasing the retro-reflectivity (RL) of road markings was a key factor in reducing accident rates on European roads.

The RL of road markings degrades over time (due to wear and tear), thus reducing the visibility of the lines, and their impact on road safety. The condition of these road assets needs to be regularly audited to ensure that they meet EU and US Minimum RL safety standards. Road Authorities use the audit information to ensure that the road maintenance companies/contractors are maintaining the road networks to the required minimum RL standards. Current single line systems are too slow and too expensive to be used as frequently and comprehensively as they should be for best practice.

reflective-road-assets-can-be-meaured-retrotek-dark

The Solution – DuaLine

RetroTek Technology has developed machine vision system (RetroTek-M) to enable the measurement of the retroreflective ( RL) levels of road markings at twice the efficiency of current single-sides side-mounted mobile methods.
RetroTek-M retroreflectometer - front senser attached to the front of a vehicle

The DuaLine project will enable:

  • the cost effective enforcement of key EU and US safety standards
  • provide stakeholders with breakthrough levels of productivity to monitor and manage road safety assets (Markings and Markers) using EU structural funds.

Objectives of the DuaLine Project:

  • Aims to optimize this system for international markets, moving it from TRL7 toTRL9

  • To rapidly pilot the system with key European stakeholders

Horizon 2020 Call – DuaLine

The DuaLine proposal was submitted under call H2020-IT-1-2015, “Small Business Innovation for Transport”, it fits well with many of the aims of the Council as detailed in the overarching Framework Programme for Research & Innovation (2014-2020) relating to Smart Green and Integrated Transport (ref: 2011/0402(CNS)), which discusses:

  • efficient maintenance and inspections systems (4.1.2);
  • efficient use and management of surface transport infrastructures (4.1.2);
  • the move towards the target of zero fatalities in road transport by 2050 (4.2)
  • Europe’s aim of becoming the world leader in efficiency and safety in all modes of transport.(4.3)

The Transport Specific Programme (H2020 Specific Programme: Part III – 4. Smart, green and integrated transport) details the various calls relating to this policy. Whilst the DuaLine project touches on a number of challenges detailed throughout this Programme it is probably best aligned with those laid out in MG8.1-2014 as the RetroTek-M technology will “reduce drastically traffic disruptions of transport flows from inspection and maintenance activities”, by specifically:

Bringing closer to market a new, advanced and flexible, non-intrusive inspection and testing method to measure retro reflectance (RL) of road markings on both sides of the road lane simultaneously (the current industry standard is a single line system).

Further developing a technology that can be deployed quickly and safely leading to fewer, faster, more sustainable and better planned interventions with maximum safety for the workers and other traffic participants – the technology works at normal traffic speeds and does not require lane closures.

Demonstrating & piloting a flexible technology that is designed to be fitted onto any vehicle (eliminating the need for a dedicated vehicle), and easily removed for maintenance. This flexibility and ease of use enables multiple runs which provide “wear” data from which predictive modelling can determine when road markings will need to be reapplied.

Autonomous Vehicles – DuaLine

It should also be noted that this technology may be of significant importance to automated and progressively autonomous driving applications in road transport (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems – ADAS) as standardized and conformal road markings form a critical component of how the vehicle can safely interpret its position on the road. The DUALINE project is therefore also of relevance to call reference MG.3.6-2015. Safe and connected automation in road transport.

RetroTek Dynamic Retroreflectometers keep the road safe for Autonomous vehicles

This project is coordinated by RetroTek Technology and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 684477.

RetroTek Technology
Horizon 2020.
Project: DuaLine
Call: H2020-IT-1-2015, “Small Business Innovation for Transport”,

Reflective Measurement Systems awarded Horizon 2020 funding for their Dualine system