Transforming road markings

The challenge

We’re always looking to improve how we operate and maintain our roads.

When road markings need to be altered or removed, for example when lane layouts change, faint traces of the original markings can remain.

These 'ghost lines' can confuse motorists, particularly in very bright or wet conditions.

The competition

In partnership with Roadcare and Kier, We launched a global search for effective roadmarkings that:

  • can be completely removed without damaging the road surface
  • don’t leave ‘ghost lines’.

We used our Innovation Designated Fund to help finance the competition.

We received thirty-six entries from around the world. We chose seven winners and tested their materials including:

  • lab trials in Madrid, where products were subjected to two million 'wheel overs'
  • real-world all-weather testing on the M5 motorway in South West England.

The results

After laboratory testing, we installed the winning solutions on the M5 in April 2019. We tested their performance periodically and assessed the results against data from the laboratory turntable testing. We also tested five removal systems on each of the markings.

After two years of testing in all weathers on a stretch of road that saw 31 million vehicles pass through in that time, we have produced a full report of our findings.

The findings are to be considered as part of a road markings action plan within National Highways.

sample materials
Assessing samples of the road marking materials
testing road markins
Wheel over testing - two million times

Innovation theme

Design, construction and maintenance