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#1 12-02-09 10:47:37

tony adi
Verified Member
From: Selby
Registered: 12-05-08
Posts: 1,233
Website

A rough guide to the development of road markings

Painting lines on the road first started in this country in 1921 in an attempt to curb reckless driving (boy racers are not a new phenomenon  big_smile)

The idea quickly spread as a cheap and effective means of traffic control and improving road safety. Over the years legislation was introduced as to what road markings could be used and to define their meaning.

In their simplest form there are only 2 types of white line, a broken white line and a continuous (or solid) white line. They gradually began to be used in different ways, and to take on different meanings. As the road networks grew and traffic volume increased, the highways agency was introduced and more legislation came in about road markings. However they still had only the 2 basic types of white line to work with.

A broken line with long spacing is used as a centre line on a single carriageway, or as a lane divider where there are more than 2 lanes. The smaller the gap between the lines the bigger the risk in crossing it. This then became a hazard warning line. There then came the idea of combining two hazard warning lines with hatch markings in between to seperate traffic more and to give protected areas to traffic turning right off busy roads.

Then we have solid white lines. These were first used to show the edge of the road (or carriageway). To this day the legal meaning of a solid white line is an edge line (edge of the road or carriageway). The idea of using two of these lines to seperate two opposing flows of traffic and prevent overtaking gave rise to the double white line system we are familiar with today. This use effectively creates two seperate roads (a road within a road) in opposite directions, legislation came in to make it illegal (with a few exceptions) to cross the double white lines. Where there is a solid line and a hazard line in combination, the hazard line can be crossed the edge line cannot (again with exceptions). There then came the idea of combining edge lines with hatch markings, to again keep traffic seperate, and this lead to the use of edge lines and chevrons and more legislation to make it illegal to cross the chevrons.

As traffic continues to grow more control is needed. But the highways agency and those responsible for designing and building roads still only have the 2 basic road markings to use. Added to this when planning road systems there are huge amounts of legislation to follow about safety and risk management. At the same time they have to use the safest yet most cost effective (cheapest) methods.
There then comes the idea of collecting and distributing traffic in easily manageable ways (but again at the least expense) As the motorway networks began and grew, there came the idea of collecting traffic for re-distribution onto another motorway or off the motorway by creating a road within a road. This has developed and we now see edge lines on motorways, to get traffic collected into one or two lanes ready to be taken off one road onto another. The same system is sometimes used at roundabouts. Some larger roundabouts, as one approaches them, have edge lines instead of hazard lines. This is to collect the traffic on approach for re- distribution off the roundabout. The idea is to prevent traffic weaving in and out of lanes on the roundabout, by creating a road within a road on approach, traffic is more easily managed and, in theory, safety improved. The edge lines can also be extended onto and off the roundabout (creating what is commonly referred to as a dedicated lane).
As traffic volume increases this idea of a road within a road is extended further. At busy motorway junctions, traffic is collected on approach by using edge lines, this reduces the amount of weaving traffic, creating more opportunity for joining traffic to merge safely. Once clear of the junction the edge lines end and traffic is allowed to re-distribute.

The use and combination of white lines is increasing and complex, as is the legislation governing them. As we see them everyday we forget sometimes why they are there. We attach meanings to them that aren't really there. They are there to improve safety and try to control traffic and improve traffic flow. Just about any line can be crossed, the question we should always ask is should it be crossed.


www.selbydriving.co.uk

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“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same
function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy
state of things.”
~ Winston Churchill

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12-02-09 10:47:37

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Re: A rough guide to the development of road markings



#2 12-02-09 18:41:53

The Saint
Verified Member
From: Languedoc
Registered: 09-07-07
Posts: 370

Re: A rough guide to the development of road markings

Thanks Tony

I think you've used up the DTT's monthly bandwidth allowance in one post there. big_smile big_smile big_smile




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