Traffic Sign 

Retroreflectivity 
Workshop 
 
 
 
 
 
July 12, 2011 
 
 
 
Traffic Sign Retroreflectivity g y
B i f Si Basics of Sign
Retroreflectivity Retroreflectivity
&
New Sign
Maintenance Maintenance
Requirements q
1
Today’s Speaker y p
z Paul J Carlson PhD PE z Paul J Carlson, PhD, PE
z Texas Transportation Institute,
Texas A&M University Texas A&M University
z Research Engineer
z Head – Operations & Roadway p y
Safety Division
z Member of FHWA
Retroreflectivity Team
z Member:
z ASTM, TRB, NCUTCD, ITE
2
Today’s Schedule y
Start
i
Stop
i
Description
Time Time
Description
9:30 10:00 Check in / Registration
10:00 10:15 Welcome / Participant Introductions
10:15 10:45 Basic Retroreflectivity / Nightime Visibility Concepts 10:15 10:45 Basic Retroreflectivity / Nightime Visibility Concepts
10:45 11:05 Texas MUTCD Requirements and compliance dates
11:05 11:45 Sign Retro Maintenance Methods
11:45 12:15 LUNCH 11:45 12:15 LUNCH
12:15 12:45 Retroreflectometer Demo / Discussions
Open Floor Discussions:
Ͳ Practical Implementation of new requirements
12:45 2:00
p q
Ͳ Life Cycle Costs and cost reduction
Ͳ Around the room, what have you already
implemented, what are you still planning, how well is it
working, and what does it cost?
Ͳ Other items?
3
Welcome
•• Retroreflectivity is important! Retroreflectivity is important!
z Importance has increased
N t t f d ti l
Retroreflectivity is important! Retroreflectivity is important!
z Not a part of any educational
curriculum
z “OTJ” training
z Your agency is now
responsible to maintain sign
retroreflectivity
4
Texas MUTCDs
http://www.txdot.gov/ Current TX MUTCD p g
5
Background Information
6
Why Do We Install Signs? y g
Required by MUTCD? equ ed by U C
NO
Engineering Decision?
YES!
Why?
To help drivers
(including older) (including older)
7
Key Issue: Older Drivers y
z 10.7 million drivers age 70+ in 1990 g
z 20 6 million drivers age 70+ in 2006 z 20.6 million drivers age 70+ in 2006
z 48% increase from 1990 to 2006
z 1990 —8% of drivers were 70+
z 2006 —10.2% of drivers were 70+
z “Older” driver population will continue
to grow as baby-boomers age
8
TMUTCD – Existing Reqs. g q
T M l U if T ffi C t l z Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control
Devices
z Section 2A.06 – Design of Signs g g
z The basic requirements of a highway sign are that it
be legible to those for whom it is intended and that
it be understandable in time to permit a proper p p p
response. Desirable attributes include:
z High visibility by day and night; and
z High legibility (adequately sized letters or symbols, and a
h t l d f i k h i b d short legend for quick comprehension by a road user
approaching a sign).
9
TMUTCD Sign Maintenance g
TMUTCD Section 2A.22 Maintenance
Maintenance activities should consider proper
position, cleanliness, legibility, and daytime and
nighttime visibility (see Section 2A.09). Damaged g y ( ) g
or deteriorated signs should be replaced.
To assure adequate maintenance, a schedule for
inspecting (both day and night) cleaning and inspecting (both day and night), cleaning, and
replacing signs should be established.
Steps should be taken to see that weeds, trees, p , ,
shrubbery, and construction, maintenance, and
utility materials and equipment do not obscure the
face of any sign.
10
Night Travel and Crashes g
11
Nighttime Driving g g
Daytime Daytime Nighttime Nighttime Daytime Daytime
Many cues available Many cues available
Driver task relatively easy Driver task relatively easy
Nighttime Nighttime
Few cues remain Few cues remain
Task more difficult Task more difficult y y y y
Retroreflectivity Retroreflectivity provides nighttime guidance provides nighttime guidance
12
Why Create Minimums? y
Daytime
Nighttime
13
Typical Outdoor Durability Testing
Type III
45 degree south facing
Type III
l
e
c
t
i
v
i
t
y
R
e
t
r
o
r
e
f
l
Type II
Type I
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Age (months)
14
Retroreflectivity
Concepts
15
RETROreflection
16
Retroreflection
Informal Definition Informal Definition
z A ratio of the amount z A ratio of the amount
of light returned from
a sign versus the
amount hitting the
sign
A way to measure the z A way to measure the
efficiency of a material
Light OUT of sign
Light INTO sign
= Retroreflectivity
17
Retroreflective Elements
zGlass spheres and microsized prisms are zGlass spheres and microsized prisms are
the current technologies used to make sign
materials retroreflective
zThe light is returned to the source in a cone
shaped pattern p p
18
Sign Sheeting Materials g g
Engineering Grade
Hi-Intensity
Beaded
Microprismatic
19
Sheeting Types g yp
(Type III – e.g. High Intensity)
20
Technical Terms
Retroreflective Sign
ec ca e s
Retroreflective Sign
(R
A
cd/lx/m
2
)
Luminance
(cd/m
2
)
Illuminance (lx)
21
Basic Angles of Retroreflectivity
z Observation Angle – Where in the cone z Observation Angle Where in the cone
is the measurement made (from the light
source). )
z Entrance Angle – What is the orientation z Entrance Angle What is the orientation
of the sign or pavement marking (is from
the light source) g )
22
Key Geometry Angles
Observation angle ( Observation angle (DD))
y y g
g ( g ( ))
Between source and receptor Between source and receptor
(red and blue lines) (red and blue lines)
DD
Perpendicular Perpendicular
t i t i
DD
EE
to sign to sign
EE
Entrance angle ( Entrance angle (EE))
Between source and Between source and
target axis target axis
(blue and green lines) (blue and green lines)
23
Sheeting Specification Geometry
z Example: ASTM D4956 z Example: ASTM D4956
24
Rotational Sensitivityy
25
Rotation Marks
z Microprismatic sheeting
z Retroreflectivity can vary with Retroreflectivity can vary with
rotation
z Some prismatic sheeting has z Some prismatic sheeting has
orientation arrows
z Arrows used for measuring z Arrows used for measuring,
cutting, and fabricating signs
26
Rotational Sensitivity Rotational Sensitivity
t
y
o
r
e
f
l
e
c
t
i
v
i
t
R
e
t
r
o
Minimum
Retro
0 degrees 45 degrees 90 degrees
27
Sheeting Orientation Sheeting Orientation
28
Questions
29
MUTCD Sign Retroreflectivity
Maintenance Requirements
New Requirements
30
Congressional Legislation g g
1993 DOT Appropriations Act 1993 DOT Appropriations Act
“The Secretary of
Transportation shall
1993 DOT Appropriations Act 1993 DOT Appropriations Act
Transportation shall
revise the MUTCD to
include a standard for a
retroreflectivity that must be
include a standard for a
minimum level of
retroreflectivity that must be
maintained for traffic signs and
pavement markings which apply to all pavement markings which apply to all
roads open to public travel.”
31
Final Rule
z Published on Dec 21, 2007
z Vol 72 No 245 z Vol 72, No. 245
z Revision #2 of the 2003 z Revision #2 of the 2003
Edition of the MUTCD
z Effective Jan 22, 2008
32
New MUTCD Language
Section 2A 09 Maintaining Minimum Retroreflectivity Section 2A.09 Maintaining Minimum Retroreflectivity
z“St d d z“Standard:
Public agencies or officials having jurisdiction
shall use an assessment or management shall use an assessment or management
method that is designed to maintain sign
retroreflectivity at or above the minimum retroreflectivity at or above the minimum
levels in Table 2A-3”
33
New MUTCD Language
Section 2A 09 Maintaining Minimum Retroreflectivity Section 2A.09 Maintaining Minimum Retroreflectivity
z“Support: z Support:
Compliance… is achieved by having a method
in place and using the method to maintain the p g
minimum levels established in Table 2A-3.
Provided that… a method is being used, an
agency would be in compliance… even if there
are some individual signs that do not meet the…
levels at a particular point in time levels at a particular point in time.
34
New MUTCD Language g g
“…One or more of the following assessment
or management methods should be used…”
zVisual Nighttime
zExpected Sign Life
zVisual Nighttime
Inspection
zCalibration Signs
p g
zBlanket Replacement
zControl Signs
Calibration Signs
zComparison Panels
zConsistent
g
zFuture Method Based
On Engr. Study
zConsistent
Parameters
zMeasured Sign Retro
zCombination Of Any
Measured Sign Retro
35
New MUTCD Table 2A.3
Minimum Maintained Retroreflectivity Levels
Sign Color
Sheeting Type (ASTM D4956-04) c
Additional
Criteria
Beaded Sheeting Prismatic Sheeting
l ll lll lll, lV, Vl, Vll, Vlll, lX, X
White on
Green
W*
G < 7
W*
G < 15
W*
G < 25
W < 250; G < 25 Overhead
W*
G < 7
W < 120; G < 15
Ground-
mounted G < 7 mounted
Black on
Yellow or
Black on
Y*; O* Y < 50; O < 50 d
Y*; O* Y < 75; O < 75 e
Orange
Y ; O Y 75; O 75 e
White on Red W < 35; R < 7 f
Black on White W < 50 
c The minimum maintained retroreflectivity levels shown in this table are in units of cd/lx/m
2
measured at an observation angle of 0.2q and an entrance angle of -4.0q.
dFor text and fine symbol signs measuring at least 1200 mm (48 in) and for all sizes of bold
symbol signs y g
eFor text and fine symbol signs measuring less than 1200 mm (48 in)
fMinimum Sign Contrast Ratio < 3:1 (white retroreflectivity ÷ red retroreflectivity)
* This sheeting type should not be used for this color for this application.
36
What do the numbers look like?
Pi t d t t t fl ti it ll Pictures do not represent retroreflectivity well
37
Exempt Signs p g
z Parking/Standing/Stopping g g pp g
z Walking/Hitchhiking
z Adopt-A-Highway
Bl B z Blue or Brown
Backgrounds
z Exclusive Use of Bikes z Exclusive Use of Bikes
or Peds
Note: Must still meet other
requirements in MUTCD
(inspections,
retroreflective retroreflective,
etc,)
38
Clarification
z Fluorescent colors z Fluorescent colors
z fluorescent yellow -- > yellow
z fluorescent yellow green > yellow z fluorescent yellow-green -- > yellow
z fluorescent orange -- > orange
39
Compliance Dates p
E t bli h d i l t th d( ) z Establish and implement method(s)
z January, 2012
z Replace identified regulatory, warning, ground-
mounted guide signs (except street-name)
J 2015 z January, 2015
z Replace identified street name & overhead guide p g
signs
z January, 2018
40
Summary of New Language
z Public agencies or officials having jurisdiction shall use
y g g
g g j
an assessment or management method that is
designed to maintain sign retroreflectivity at or above
the minimum levels in Table 2A-3”
z Compliance… is achieved by having a method in place
and using the method to maintain the minimum levels and using the method to maintain the minimum levels
established in Table 2A-3. Provided that… a method is
being used, an agency would be in compliance… even
if there are some individual signs that do not meet if there are some individual signs that do not meet
the… levels at a particular point in time.
41
Can you see the sign? y g
42
Questions
43
MUTCD Sign Maintenance g
Methods
44
Can we decide to replace signs based on
daytime inspections? daytime inspections?
45
FHWA-HRT-08-026 FHWA-SA-07-020 FHWA HRT 08 026 FHWA SA 07 020
46
MUTCD Methods
z Visual assessment z Visual assessment
z Measured retroreflectivity
E t d i lif z Expected sign life
z Blanket replacement
z Control signs
z Future methods z Future methods
z Combination of methods
www.fhwa.dot.gov/retro
47
Method: Visual Assessment
z Comparison panels procedure, or
3 Techniques:
Comparison panels procedure, or
z Calibration signs procedure, or
Consistent parameter procedure z Consistent parameter procedure
48
Method: Visual Assessment
z Tie to minimum values with comparison z Tie to minimum values with comparison
panels
z Panels are near desired retro z Panels are near desired retro
z Clipped to sign - viewed from distance
z Evaluate signs compared to panels z Evaluate signs compared to panels
49
Comparison Panels p
z Comparison panels must z Comparison panels must
have a retroreflectivity level
at least that designated in at least that designated in
the MUTCD
z The procedure must be z The procedure must be
done at night
These panels have retroreflectivity
levels at the levels in the MUTCD
minimum retroreflectivity table
Comparison Panel Procedure
50
Source of Comparison Panels p
z With a retroreflectometer an agency can z With a retroreflectometer, an agency can
find in-service signs near the minimum
levels These signs can be removed levels. These signs can be removed
from service and cut into smaller pieces.
z An agency can also look through their z An agency can also look through their
scrap yard.
A D i j t d z Avery Dennison just announced
availability comparison panels.
Comparison Panel Procedure
51
Field Procedure
Comparison Panel Procedure
52
Method: Visual Assessment
z “Calibrate” eyes with calibration signs
z Calibration
signs are near signs are near
minimum retro
E l t i z Evaluate signs
compared to
lib ti i calibration signs
53
Calibration Signs g
z Calibration signs must z Calibration signs must
have a retroreflectivity
level at least that level at least that
designated in the
MUTCD MUTCD
z The inspection has to be
done at night done at night
Calibrated Signs Procedure
54
Source of Calibration Signs g
z With a retroreflectometer, an agency can z With a retroreflectometer, an agency can
find in-service signs near the minimum
levels. These signs can be removed g
from service and stored until nighttime
sign inspections commence.
z An agency can also look through their
scrap yard for representative signs.
z Avery Dennison just announced
availability comparison panels. y p p
Calibrated Signs Procedure
55
Field Procedure
These signs have retroreflectivity
levels at the levels in the MUTCD
i i t fl ti it t bl minimum retroreflectivity table
Calibrated Signs Procedure
56
Visual Inspection Method:
Consistent Parameter Procedure Consistent Parameter Procedure
57
Overview
z With this method, a SUV or truck has to be used z With this method, a SUV or truck has to be used
with specific headlamps (described later) and
the inspector needs to be at least 60 years old.
z The inspection occurs at highway speeds.
z No calibration signs or comparison panels are g p p
needed.
z This method simulates the conditions of the
research which FHWA used as a foundation for
the minimum retroreflectivity levels.
Consistent Parameter Procedure
58
Field Technique q
z Preferable to use a two person crew. p
z Must have a SUV, pick-up, or similar vehicle
with VOA style headlamps.
z Driver can be any age but inspector needs to
be at least 60 years old.
I ti t hi h d z Inspection occurs at highway speeds.
z Inspector concentrates on judging sign
retroreflectivity retroreflectivity.
z Example: adequate, marginal, poor (replace)
z Driver concentrates on driving safely. g y
Consistent Parameter Procedure
59
Method: Measure Sign Retro g
z Use a portable instrument
z Receive proper training
z Have a protocol for consistency z Have a protocol for consistency
z Compare readings to minimum values
60
Overview
z This method includes sign z This method includes sign
retroreflectivity measurements of in-
service signs g
z The measurements are made with
devices similar to cordless drills
z The measurement devices must be in
contact with the sign face g
z The measurements need to be
periodically repeated (e.g., annually or p y p ( g y
every other year)
61
Examples of Sign Retroreflectometers
C t t Contact
Devices:
Model GR3
(Delta)
Model 922
(Gamma Scientific)
Non-Contact
Experimental concept,
but NOT yet available. Non Contact
Devices:
but NOT yet available.
SMARTS Van
62
Field Procedure
z Make note of the type of sheeting z Make note of the type of sheeting
z Measure each color that is retroreflective
M lti l t h ld b d z Multiple measurements should be made
to compute an average
z A measurement protocol should be
developed
z An extension pole or ladder will be
needed
63
64
64
Measurement Protocol
Example Example
z For Stop signs an agency z For Stop signs, an agency
may require a minimum of
4 measurements per color 4 measurements per color
as shown to the left
z The average of the 4 z The average of the 4
measurements would be
used to assess the used to assess the
condition of the sign
retroreflectivity retroreflectivity
65
Taking Measurements g
66
66
Method: Expected Sign Life p g
z Find the life of the sheeting type in your area
z Replacement based on expected life for z Replacement based on expected life for
individual signs
67
Indicating Sign Age g g g
z Stickers on front or back of sign to show z Stickers on front or back of sign to show
when fabricated or installed
68
Determining Sign Life g g
• Build and use a weathering rack
like the one shown
• Use AASHTO-NTPEP data Use AASHTO NTPEP data
• Use warranty information from
sheeting company
S if i lif • Specify sign life
• Measure existing signs with
known install date and compare to
min level
• Use weathering data or nearby
jurisdiction’s weathering data jurisdiction s weathering data
69
Using Warranty Information g y
z Predicted sign age could be provided in a z Predicted sign age could be provided in a
warranty by sheeting manufacturers.
z Typical warranties not typically based on yp yp y
minimum retroreflectivity levels
z Agencies could develop specifications with g p p
warranties based on minimum retroreflectivity
levels
z Example: Warranty Type III sheeting for 15 years in
accordance to Table 2A-3 of the MUTCD
70
Weathering Racks at TTI g
71
Method: Blanket Replacement p
z All signs in an area/corridor are replaced at the
same time at specified intervals
z Specified intervals could be set based on
expected sign life
z Some existing blanket sign replacement policies
exist using 10-12 years for Beaded High-
Intensity sheeting signs Intensity sheeting signs
72
Blanket Replacement
z Divide agency into Example z Divide agency into
areas/corridors or zones
z Relate number of areas to
Replace Replace
all signs in all signs in
7th 7th
year year
Example
replacement cycle
z Replace all signs in an
all signs in all signs in
this area this area
during 1st during 1st
year year
5th 5th
p g
area/ corridor each
replacement cycle
yy
3rd 3rd
year year
5th 5th
year year
z 10 yr life, Î10 areas
z Annual replacement in each
area area
City of Tempe AZ Maintenance Zones
73
Method: Control Signs g
z Sign life is estimated using a subset of signs
representing an agency’s inventory.
z Subset of signs is the “control signs”
z Control signs can be in-service signs or signs in a z Control signs can be in-service signs or signs in a
maintenance yard.
z Agency monitors control
Example of Control Signs
signs to estimate condition
of all their signs.
p g
z Periodically measure
retroreflectivity of control
signs signs.
74
MUTCD Methods
z Visual assessment z Visual assessment
z Measured retroreflectivity
E t d i lif z Expected sign life
z Blanket replacement
z Control signs
z Future methods z Future methods
z Combination of methods
www.fhwa.dot.gov/retro
75
Method: Other Options p
z Flexibility is provided for
future advancements in
technology and methods
that have not been fully
developed
z Must be based on an
engineering study
76
Future Technologies g
z Mobile sign retroreflective
measurement technology
b i d l d b t being developed by at
least 3 different companies
z Similar to existing process z Similar to existing process
that measures pavement
marking retroreflectivity at marking retroreflectivity at
highway speeds
77
MUTCD Methods
z Visual assessment z Visual assessment
z Measured retroreflectivity
E t d i lif z Expected sign life
z Blanket replacement
z Control signs
z Future methods z Future methods
z Combination of methods
www.fhwa.dot.gov/retro
78
NCHRP Survey Participants y p
Survey conducted May 2011
Included 9 cities, 15 counties, 16 DOTs, and 9 others
79
Agency Method Selection g y
MUTCD Methods
Primary Sign
Replacement Method
Secondary or
Support Method
Nighttime Inspection 13 2 Nighttime Inspection 13 2
Measured Retro. 2 0
Expected Sign Life 17 16 p g
Blanket Replacement 7 4
Control Signs 2 10
Note: Table only includes agencies that operate and maintain
roadways that are open to the public
80
Summary: Methods Allowed y
z Visual Nighttime Inspection g p
z Calibration Signs
z Comparison Panels
z Consistent Parameters
z Measured Sign Retro
Expected Sign Life z Expected Sign Life
z Blanket Replacement
z Control Signs z Control Signs
z Future Method Based On Engr. Study
z Combination Of Any z Combination Of Any
81
Additi l I f ti Additional Information
82
More Information
z ATSSA www.retroreflectivity.net
z Primer on retroreflectivity
z Common questions
z FHWA fhwa.dot.gov/retro
z Summary Brochure z Summary Brochure
z Final Rule
z Power Point Presentations z Power Point Presentations
z Newsletter Articles
z Frequently Asked Questions z Frequently Asked Questions
83
FHWA Supporting Material pp g
z FHWA Retro Web Site z FHWA Retro Web Site
z 4 page summary
www.fhwa.dot.gov/retro www.fhwa.dot.gov/retro
z 4-page summary
FAQ z FAQs
z Research Reports
84
85
Thank You
Paul J Carlson Paul J. Carlson
paul-carlson@tamu.edu
979 847 9272 979-847-9272
86

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