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New ASTM Standard Assesses Retroreflected Luminance of Roadway Pavement Markings

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An effort currently under way by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration to set national standards for minimum maintained retroreflectivity levels for pavement markings has illustrated the need for a practical protocol to measure such levels. In response to this need, ASTM International Committee D04 on Road and Paving has developed ASTM D7585/D7585M, Practice for Evaluating Retroreflective Pavement Markings Using Portable Hand-Operated Instruments. The new standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D04.38 on Highway Traffic Control Materials.

ASTM D7585/D7585M serves as a successor to a previous ASTM standard, ASTM D6359, Specification for Minimum Retroreflectance of Newly Applied Pavement Marking Using Portable Hand-Operated Instruments, which was withdrawn in 2006.

According to Paul Carlson, a research engineer at the Texas Transportation Institute of Texas A&M University and a D04.38 member, ASTM D7585 describes three techniques that can be used to assess the retroreflected luminance of pavement markings.

“Roadway agencies specify different levels of retroreflectivity for different reasons.  Some specify retroreflective levels for newly applied markings while others specify retroreflective levels for in-service markings or end-of-service warranty periods,” says Carlson. “Contractors or third party service providers will use the standard to measure the retroreflectivity using a standard technique.”

All interested parties, particularly users, are encouraged to participate in the standards developing activities of D04.38.

To purchase ASTM standards, visit and search by the standard designation number, or contact ASTM Customer Relations (phone: 610-832-9585;  ASTM International welcomes and encourages participation in the development of its standards. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit

ASTM Committee D04 Next Meeting: Dec. 7-9, December Committee Week, New Orleans, La.
Technical Contact: Paul Carlson, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, Phone: 979-845-1728;
ASTM Staff Contact: Daniel Smith, Phone: 610-832-9727;
ASTM PR Contact: Barbara Schindler, Phone: 610-832-9603;

Release #8681/Sept2010