ROMA: State assessment of road markings in Denmark, Norway and Sweden - Results from 2017

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Sven-Olof Lundkvist
Berne Nielsen
Trond Cato Johansen
Christian Nilsson

Assessment of the performance of road markings are carried out regularly to various degrees in the Nordic countries. During the coming years, the Nordic certification system for road marking materials will come into force, which means that a documented product approval (i.e. certification) will be required for use of the material on roads managed by the national road authorities. The requirements are introduced successively as the existing contracts expire. The aim of this project is to monitor and follow up how road marking quality is influenced by the introduction of the certification system in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. If the performance does not develop as expected, continuous assessments give the opportunity to react and adjust the requirements in the future. Furthermore, the aim is to show possible differences in road marking performance between the three countries, similar regions in the three countries and TEN-T-roads.

The study is based on mobile road assessment measurements carried out in Denmark, Norway and Sweden by Ramböll AB. In total 71 road objects were measured in Denmark, 101 in Norway and 436 in Sweden. The following variables were studied: retroreflectivity of dry and wet road markings, relative visibility of dry and wet road markings, relative pre-view-time (pvt) of dry and wet road markings and cover index.

The results show that the retroreflectivity requirement of dry road markings is roughly fulfilled in 50 % of the measured objects. The retroreflectivity is a little bit higher for lane and centre lines. Some retroreflectivity values are low, e.g. on motor-way edge lines in Denmark. However, this is compensated for by a large area, which nevertheless means good visibility. The opposite: edge lines on Swedish two-lane roads have high retroreflectivity, which would imply good visibility. However, the road marking area is small, thus reducing the visibility in comparison with both Danish and Norwegian edge lines. Regarding wet road markings, road markings in Norway has have higher retroreflectivity than in Denmark and Sweden for every road class. The cover index is significantly lower in Denmark than in Norway and Sweden. This fact may be explained the use of studded tyres in the two last mentioned countries, which might lead reconditioning of the road markings more often.

A comparison between the performance on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and other roads showed that there are only minor differences between the TEN-T and other roads in Denmark and Norway, while in Sweden the retroreflectivity has somewhat higher levels for the TEN-T network (175 mcd/m2/lx compared to 162 mcd/m2/lx). The results for visibility show larger differences between TEN-T or non-TEN-T and for all countries the visibility is higher for the TEN-T net- work. The pre-view-time in Denmark and Norway is lower on the measured TEN-T roads while in Sweden there is no significant difference between the road types. For all countries, the mean speed limit is higher on the TEN-T roads than on other roads, which leads to shorter pre-view-time.

In the first year of the project, it is not possible to study any effect of the Nordic certification system for road markings. However, in the coming years, some effects, hopefully positive, would be possible to register.

In conclusion, there is no large difference in road marking performance in the three countries. The only significant difference is the poor visibility of edge lines on two-lane roads in Sweden and the good performance of wet road markings in Norway.

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