Pavement markings serve an important role on the highway and must be visible in day, night, and wet conditions. Pavement markings placed in grooved pavement are receiving considerable interest due to their potential for greater durability by providing protection from plow blades used during winter maintenance. Raised pavement markers (RPMs) are also used for roadway delineation, and the failure rate of RPMs in and in between rumble depressions is also of interest. This study evaluated white edge lines and yellow edge lines on roads in Indiana and other northern states, as well as RPMs in and in between rumble depressions. Data for pavement markings was collected by use of a hand-operated retroreflectometer as well as a mobile retroreflectometer, while RPM data collection consisted of documenting the total number of RPMs, number of missing reflectors, and castings. Results showed that for both white and yellow edge lines, grooved preformed tape has the highest durability for greater than ten winter seasons, and grooved thermoplastic could last five winter seasons. Grooved multi-component may last three or four winter seasons while non-grooved paint will last one or perhaps two winter seasons. RPMs in rumble stripes have a higher failure rate than RPMs installed between rumble stripes. Based upon data collected during this project, grooved thermoplastic and multi-component have the lowest lifetime costs for durable markings, and additional performance data should be collected to determine if either has a distinct economic advantage. It is also recommended that RPM installation in rumble depressions be further evaluated.

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pavement markings, retroreflectivity, grooved installations, durability, RPMs, paint, preformed tape, multi-component, thermoplastic, life expectancy

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

Date of this Version