Evaluation of Retroreflective Material on Stop Sign Posts in Virginia

The 2003 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) provides state departments of transportation (DOTs) the option of using retroreflective material on sign posts when the DOTs determine that there is a need to draw attention to the sign, especially at night. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of retroreflective material on stop sign posts in Virginia with respect to visibility and driver compliance at the stop sign. The investigation included a review of the feasibility, costs, and benefits of this application. In addition, a review of practices by other localities and DOTs was performed and field studies were conducted to examine visibility and driver compliance. The findings of the research revealed that (1) very few state DOTs apply retroreflective panels on stop signs; (2) stop sign posts without the retroreflective panels are detected earlier and seen more clearly during the day than posts with the panels, and conversely, stop sign posts with the retroreflective panels are detected earlier and seen more clearly at night than stop sign posts without the panels; (3) there is no difference in driver compliance for a stop sign with or without a retroreflective panel during the day or night; (4) retroreflective panels have only a minor impact on mean vehicle speeds as vehicles approach stop signs; and (5) the cost of installing and maintaining retroreflective panels on all stop signs maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation is estimated at $1.186 million annually.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01152467
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-0719
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:20AM