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Road markings are the 'rails' for the self-steering car.

27 November 2013

www.rsma.co.uk/At least half the travel on Europe’s roads by 2025 will be in vehicles which can read the road ahead including markings and signs. But vehicles, like drivers, cannot function well if basic road markings and signs are non-existent, non-compliant, worn out, obscured, inconsistent or confusing. This means putting an end to the differences in even the most basic, internationally agreed safety signs and standardising the width of white lines and the amount of light they reflect – and ensuring the edges of major roads are marked.

“Roads that cars can read”, a report to be published today by EuroRAP and Euro NCAP, makes important reading for those who maintain Europe’s roads of economic importance.  It says that the majority of travel – and road deaths – occur on these roads which comprise just 10 per cent of the network.  Inadequate maintenance and differences in road markings and traffic signs are now a major obstacle to the effective use of technology in vehicles, such as lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.

George Lee, national director of the UK’s Road Safety Markings Association and chair of the European Road Federation, led the consultation on standardising road markings on all major roads across Europe.

“Our recommendation – based on an overview of existing national practices and research and discussions is that the EU adopts the simple and memorable: ‘150 x 150’ standard already commonly in use. Lane and edge markings should be a consistent 150 millimetres wide, and markings in the dry should reflect light at 150 millicandela,” says Lee.

The report describes lane markings as the ‘rails’ for self-steering vehicles, and calls for the safety standards of the rail and aviation industry to be applied to major roads, where the quality of road markings and signs are assured to work with modern vehicles.

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