One of the most important aspects of a safe and efficient roadway is the uniform application of pavement markings to delineate the roadway path and specific traffic lanes. Pavement markings can communicate information to road users like no other traffic control device. They provide continuous information to road users related to the roadway alignment, vehicle positioning, and other important driving-related tasks. It is estimated that in the United States alone, approximately $2 billion is spent annually on pavement markings. Despite these annual expenditures, there is a general void in terms of a consolidated effort that attempts to quantify proven benefits of pavement markings.
Over the years, many research projects have focused on specific elements of pavement markings. This paper was developed to bring together many of the recent and ongoing research efforts to demonstrate a renewed perspective regarding the benefits of pavement markings and, where information is available, describe the benefits of various aspects of pavement markings. This paper presents areas where conclusive findings are available, and describes areas where findings are available but show inconsistent and sometimes conflicting results.