Austroads Research Report on the drive towards harmonisation of pavement markings

Austroads is the organisation representing Australasian road transport and traffic agencies. In 2018 they published a very interesting report (AP-R578-18) on the harmonisation of road pavement markings across the territories. The report was critical of the variation in pavement marking types and widths across the multiple Road Agencies and highlighted that many did not comply with the Australian Standard AS1742.2:2009. This report was the outcome from a project undertaken to achieve national harmonisation through a national performance specification/criteria for pavement markings. The key focus for the project was the harmonisation of the widths and specifications of stop lines, give-way lines, turns, pedestrian cross walk lines, dividing lines for multi-lane roads, tram lines, pavement arrows, pavement letters, audio-tactile line markings and wide centreline treatments.

One of the key drivers for harmonisation of pavement marking was the anticipated rollout of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV), which require clear and consistent road markings.

There were some remarkable safety statistics quoted in the report. It was fascinating to read that the authorities recorded a 23% reduction in casualties where roads have tactile edge lines and a 15% casualty reduction for centrelines, while the addition of raised reflective pavement markers reduce night time casualties by 8%. Edge lines represent a real challenge for road authorities as improving edge line markings can potentially impact on road seal and require road widening. The report noted that road widening is 100 times the cost of road marking.

The recommendations emerging from this report included:

  • Specify only APAS-approved B-HR, C-HR and D-HR type beads and no longer specify B, C and D type beads as the cost increase is minimal and retroreflectivity is significantly higher
  • Retroreflectivity performance measurement should be conducted in both wet and dry conditions.
  • The development of a draft standard for Longitudinal road markings. This was an Appendix to the report.

At Reflective Measurement Systems, we welcome the increased focus on the importance of pavement markings and establishing performance criteria for the quality of these markings. We are delighted that our RetroTek-D system is already playing a key role in measuring the retroreflectivity of Australian road markings. This is a perfect example of where the new technologies that we have deployed in our mobile retroreflectometers is enabling road authorities to assess road marking quality more efficiently, while making road surveys safer for survey operators and road users. But equally we recognise the need to scale up the volume of road surveys to pinpoint and prioritise the remarking. Having good quality road survey data is key to delivering a safer driving environment for all road users and we look forward to working with the road authorities to achieve this.


RetroTek-D mobile retroreflectometer surveys a full lane width

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