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The Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) has appointed Reflective Measurement Systems Ltd to independently survey over 2,000 km of road in England to examine its retroreflectivity.

Retroreflection of road markings (when light, such as from a vehicle’s headlights, reflects off the road surface) is essential because it ensures that enough light is reflected in the dark, making signposts easier to read at night.

The RSMA’s investigation will establish the current levels of retroreflectivity on the country’s roads to ensure they meet suitable standards. Understanding the condition of these markings will also play a key part in the future successful deployment of self-driving cars.

It’s estimated that by 2025 at least half of the vehicles on Europe’s roads will have some ability to “read” the road ahead. Retroreflective markings will play an important role in communicating with the sensors of autonomous vehicles.

Stu McInroy, chief executive of the RSMA, said: “I believe, when completed, these work streams shall inform discussions about the current condition of the road markings in England and their ability to not only support the requirements of human drivers well into the future but also the transition to vehicles with increased levels of automation, such as lane keeping assist.

“The data generated by this survey shall provide a real-world analysis of the here, the now, and the tomorrow. We must understand the present to plan for the future.”


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