Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cycle lane life-cycle cost

I was walking through the city and noticed this advanced stop line for cyclists. Although it is great to see the facility, the standard of maintenance is rather poor. It got me thinking about the longevity of the pavement markings used for cycle lanes. A cycle lane treatment recently installed close to my home didn't last much more than a month before the buses turning over it ripped off massive chunks of the green painted lane. As can be seen in the picture above, the wear from traffic has inflicted far more damage to the green cycle lane than to the white edge lines. 

Austroads undertook a study of Australian practice in cycle lane marking which is rather inconclusive about the longevity and lifecycle cost of cycle lane treatments. From what I have noticed the Gold Coasts thermoplastic cycle lane treatment (see the picture below) which is heated and melted into the asphalt. This is best done when the road is resurfaced. Painted cycle lanes have lifespans up to two years (less in high abrasion areas) while thermoplastic treatments last around 5 or more years.

Does anyone know of any conclusive research on the life-cycle cost of different cycle lane treatments? I suspect that there may be sensitivity in publishing research of specific products, however it would be useful for practitioners to know what type of treatments (especially paint vs thermoplastic) yield the lowest life-cycle cost.

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