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03 of August, 2022
Comparing LED Traffic Arrows To Reflective Signs
Comparing LED Traffic Arrows To Reflective Signs

Traffic arrows, traffic directors and message boards are common sights on the roads. With an increase in the number of automobiles and increased speed limits on the roads with high performance vehicles, the need for safety of the utility personnel maintaining the roadways and the drivers themselves is imperative.


In a bid to better manage and control motorists providing them with sufficient time for them to react and respond to a redirection due to a lane closure for maintenance or otherwise, the signage based on LED Technology plays a prominent role. It provides bright, clear and legible instruction which can be viewed over a  larger distance by the motorist, helping them to take necessary measures from a safe distance as opposed to traditional reflective signs. However, in many places, reflective arrows and signs are still prevalent. Furthermore, with a brief comparison of traditional reflective signs with LED signs, the need for switching to the modern alternative becomes evident. 


LED traffic signs versus reflective markers.



Ontario Traffic Manual Book 7 specifies that each display pixel should be capable of achieving a luminance of 40 candelas at the brightest level. Also, the luminance of a pixel should not decrease by more than 50% when viewed at a minimum angle of 15 degrees centered about the optical axis and perpendicular to the surface of the display (half angle of 7.5 degrees). It also states that the pixels should be able to dim depending on light conditions, meaning it should get dimmer by night so that the light does not overwhelm the drivers at night. Contrast ratios, technology details, line and character spacing should also be as specified in Ontario Traffic Manual Book 10. All these regulations enable a clear and legible sign apart from the fact variable fixed messages can be played in message boards at a push of a button.

Reflective lights, on the other hand, are affected by the physics of retro reflectivity. The signs appear brightest to the observer nearest to the light source. The sign's brightness depends on the intensity of the light striking the object and the materials the object is made of. Retroreflective technologies like 3M DG3 are noticeably brighter followed by High Intensity Prismatic material and finally the engineer grade beaded technology. Apart from that the view is also affected by vehicle size and observation angle.



The LED lights themselves have a long lifespan also due to its electrical / electronic inheritance there is a considerable amount of precaution taken to make the signs robust and weather proof, to face inclement weather conditions such as rains, snow, strong winds and more. As per Ontario Traffic Manual Book 7, aluminum with thickness of 2.0 mm or galvanised steel with a thickness of 1.6 mm is the typical materials for such signs.

A retro reflective sign, on the other hand, as per study done by North Carolina State University, reveals that approximately 4.7 % are replaced each year, of which, 1.3% are damaged by humans and 2.4 % are replaced due to vandalism, apart from weather damage. Also as per Ontario Traffic Manual, if there is 20% damage to the reflective material, the sign needs to be replaced. Hence, traffic arrow boards are the more durable option. 


Return On Investment

A reputed LED signage backed with a stable warranty provides the user with a positive return on investment for a long period in time as opposed to reflective signage. Secondly, with current innovative LED technology, the same sign can be used for multiple functions. It can show the motorist speed and direction with arrows and messages.   


To know more about traffic arrow boards, message boards, LED beacons and perimeter lighting, contact us at D&R Electronics Co. Ltd. A pioneer in constant technological innovation, the company has over 40+ years of enriched experience and knowledge with the police and public sector departments around the globe.

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