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3.0 Signing, Markings and Channelization

3.7 Pavement Markings/Channelization/Impact Attenuators

Several types of pavement markings can be found at toll plazas. Pavement markings such as lane lines, gore striping, and transverse and diagonal lines are used by most agencies within their conventional plazas. Specific applications vary, but are generally used for plaza zone definition, channelization and virtual plaza island extensions. Pavement markings have also be used for lane guidance, indicating a particular primary collection mode (e.g., exact change, full service, attended, E-ZPass Only) within a lane channelized by pavement markings extending to an impact attenuator or chevron pavement markings immediately in front of the toll island.

Lane channelization is used to direct vehicles in a particular direction. It occurs before and after conventional plaza toll lanes, in both the queue and recovery zones, respectively. Express and ETC dedicated lanes require special lane striping and channelization techniques to minimize lane changes through the plaza.

Pavement markings extending upstream from the front of a toll island require a quicker response by the user in selecting a lane to complete their transaction, but reduce the space available for unsafe maneuvering within the queue zone. Pavement markings extending downstream from the rear of the toll island allow users more time to accelerate before merging with other customers prior to entering the mainline lanes.

LED-illuminated in-pavement markers can provide direction and information to the driver directly from the road surface. A vendor supplied controller for these LED in-pavement markers can be integrated with a lane controller similar to lane status signals to provide lane guidance to approaching and departing traffic resulting in a more efficient and safe operation.

Channelizing devices (i.e., delineators) extending a limited distance upstream from the front edge of the toll island or impact attenuator are used to separate plaza approach lanes. Delineators provide the same channelization function as pavement markings described above. Polycarbonate delineators are most commonly used, although traffic cones have also been used to delineate plaza approach lanes. Traffic cones are predominately used to indicate a closed lane, particularly when the lane does not include a lane closure gate at the approach end of the toll island.

Impact attenuators are installed in front of toll islands and the approach end of concrete barrier to absorb the energy of a colliding vehicle by collapsing upon its framework. Although various vendor designs are available, results of performance tests on their products reduces the number of potential selections. A recommended list of approved vendors is often available from the state department of transportation. References should also be checked to assess the experience of existing installations and to compare actual performance to claimed performance.

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