Effect of Glass Bead Refractive Index on Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Considering Passenger Vehicle and Airplane Geometries

Pavement marking retroreflectivity depends on several factors including but not limited to the type of retroreflective optics, binder, installation quality, marking condition, and measurement type/geometry. Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) evaluated the retroreflectivity of 19 pavement marking panels, prepared with different types of glass bead at standard 30-m and non-standard measurement geometries. The non-standard geometries represented typical commercial airplane configurations. The primary purpose of the research was to evaluate the effects of the glass bead refractive index (RI) (1.5 versus 1.9) and the measurement geometry on pavement marking retroreflectivity. Results showed a decrease in retroreflectivity with an increase in observation and entrance angles for both 1.5 and 1.9 RI. The study showed higher retroreflectivity levels for high RI beads at all the geometries evaluated. The result showed that 1.9 RI beads exhibit an average of 171% (862?mcd/m2/lx) higher retroreflectivity at standard 30-m car geometry as well as 102% (193?mcd/m2/lx) higher retroreflectivity at airplane geometry compared with 1.5 RI beads. The study found that an increase in bead RI had a larger effect on retroreflectivity than did an increase in bead size. The effect of the measurement geometry on the retroreflectivity level of the markings highlights a limitation of using the 30-m car geometry to represent the visibility of markings from a pilot’s perspective. Additional work should be conducted to better assess the visibility of markings from various vehicle platforms and how to best represent the visibility through retroreflectivity measurement.


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  • Accession Number: 01748566
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 19 2020 3:04PM