ROAD SAFETY AND HIGH QUALITY ROADMARKING
The Roadmarking Industry Association of Australia, in direct response to increased performance expectations, and with the total support of industry and every road authority throughout Australia and New Zealand, has (in a world first) developed traceable (AccuBrite™) Secondary Standards for this very purpose.
The use of these traceable Secondary Standards provides vital protection for contractors and road owners alike in eliminating any dispute as to the real standard of any works performed, whilst at the same time serving to maximise safe driving conditions for all of us as road users. If accuracy of readings is important to you, it is imperative that you clearly specify that any retroreflectivity testing services that are performed by you or on your behalf must be undertaken using an instrument that has been calibrated using this critically important technology.
Also, beware of the dangers inherent in the reliance on day-time visual assessments of pavement markings as a tool for assessing the quality of your markings.
Remember: for a marking to be visible 24 hours a day, in both dry and wet conditions, it must have sufficient glass beads in-situ to deliver this most important of safety features - retroreflectivity. It is simply not possible to determine from within a car, travelling at speed, during the day, whether this is the case.
If you must perform a visual assessment then this should at least be performed at a time when retroreflectivity is both important and apparent – at night (and maybe even a wet one at that).
(Note: Standards Australia is close to releasing another new standard: AS 4049.5 Guidelines for the performance assessment of pavement markings. This new Standard will: standardise field performance assessment procedures; and provide guidance on the use of assessment data and on the development of a performance-based management system). Other road safety strategies Centreline Audio Tactile Markings: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the USA recently published a report on the findings of trials in that country utilising what we call audio tactile markings (known as rumble strips in America).
The report was entitled: Crash Reduction Following Installation of Centreline Rumble Strips on Rural Two-Lane Roads (Persaud, Retting & Lyon September 2003).
The results of this research demonstrate that centerline rumble strips are an effective countermeasure on rural two-lane roads. As expected, they had larger effects on frontal and opposing direction sideswipe crashes, a 25 per cent reduction in injury crashes, but the effects on other more numerous crash types also was large.
The overall reduction in rural two-lane crashes attributable to centerline rumble strips was 14 per cent. Consideration should be given to wider application of centerline rumble strips on rural two-lane roads.
Whilst on the subject of centreline audio tactile markings, you should be aware that the Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales (RTA) is currently trialling the use of this marking system in that state. The RTA is also trialling the use of PMMA (poly methyl methacrylate) materials as a possible addition to the thermoplastic markings that have predominately been used for audio tactile markings in Australia. These trials are also seeking to significantly enhance the retroreflectivity of audio tactile markings by utilising larger glass beads of around 1 mm (AS/NZS 2009:2002 Type D) to enhance wet-night visibility. The RTA is to be applauded for taking this proactive stance in the field trialling of alternative marking systems with a view to enhancing road safety. Wider markings In its report entitled The Use of Wider Longitudinal Pavement Markings -Research Report 0024-1, the Texas Transportation Institute reported strong evidence that wider markings provide the following benefits to drivers, suggesting improved roadway safety: • improved long-range detection under night-time driving conditions (older drivers benefit the most); • improved stimulation of the peripheral vision; • improved lane positioning and other driver performance measures; and • improved driver comfort.