Traffic paints, which are also known by other names such as striping, zone and line marking paints are a group of specialty paints and coatings that are used on both concrete and asphalt pavements, serving the basic purpose of delineating pavements for safety in visibility, traffic control, regulation compliance and warnings. Traffic marking paints and coatings are represented by a comprehensive range of products: specialty paints (both solvent- and water-based), thermoplastic, epoxy, pre-formed tapes, etc.
Although all traffic markings essentially serve the same purpose, they differ significantly in their composition, properties, longevity, and cost. Their selection and use is dictated by their longevity under various traffic conditions. For example, conventional paints are used for low traffic pavements where as Thermoplastic or other more durable paints may be used for higher traffic areas. In addition, on traffic bearing roads, glass beads are used with traffic paints for retro-refractivity, which is a must for nighttime visibility.
Over the years, several specifications have been developed and enforced which the project engineer or the end user commonly uses in order to ensure compositional and performance properties. It is imperative that we in the pavement maintenance industry be abreast of the applicable specifications. Although the majority of the specifications were developed by various agencies of the U.S. government for use on federal projects, their use has expanded into the private sector as well. These specifications are summarized as follows.