All posts by Steven Cole

Steven Cole (Economics, MBA - University of West Florida , Business & Innovation - Stanford University) 22 years of experience in the reflective safety business.  Specializing in vehicle accident and rear end collision reduction through increased visibility.

Flexible High Intensity Reflective Tape – SOLAS Alternative

Flexible high intensity reflective tape is a glass bead product that utilizes a polyester topcoat to allow the tape to stretch and conform to flexible surfaces. Some examples of these surfaces would be a traffic cone, a road barrel or a kayak. Also, rain suits and zodiacs.

The flexible high intensity tape is a type 3 or otherwise know as an ASTM 4956 -03 tape.  It uses high index beads that are encapsulated in a honey comb pattern.  This renders the tape about 3 times more reflective than standard engineer grade or type 1.

The best feature of the flexible high intensity type 3 tape is its ability to stretch.  If a traffic cone or road barrel is hit by a car the tape will rebound with the object it is on.  Thence its other name “reboundable reflective tape”.  There are a variety of application where this ability to stretch comes is desirable.  Curves surfaces such as a helmet can be striped with this material since it will stretch and lay down.  Other stiff tapes will not work on complex curves.

We call this a SOLAS alternative because there are some manufacturers who use this type of tape as SOLAS tape.   It is very bright for a glass bead tape and will flex in marine applications.   It would be just like a SOLAS glass bead tape but without the SOLAS logo on it.

We have more information on this tape – Solas Alternative Reflective Tape .

FHWA Regulations for Reflective Tape at Railroad Crossings (crossbucks)

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations require that all crossbucks at rail-highway crossings will need to be affixed with reflective strips by January 17, 2011.

By January 17, 2011 a two inch strip of white retro-reflective material must be placed on the back of each crossbuck blade for the full length of the blade at all grade crossings where crossbuck signs have been installed, except where crossbuck signs have been installed back to back.  In addition, a two inch strip of white retro-reflective material must be placed on both the front and the back of the crossbuck post at all passive grade crossings where crossbuck signs have been installed for the full length of the post from the crossbuck sign or number of tracks plaque to within two feet of the ground., except for the back side of the post on one way streets and the front side of the post where a Yield or STOP sign is placed on the same post as the crossbuck sign.

FMVSS 131 & FMVSS 217 School Bus Reflective Tape Marking Requirements Regulations

FMVSS 131 & FMVSS 217

School Bus Reflective Tape Regulations:

Virtually every state has regulations regarding the marking of school buses.  The main goal of these regulations is to clearly mark with reflective tape the emergency exits of the bus.  This way, if a bus is in an accident, emergency workers can easily identify the exits.

Although each state differs the general regulation is as follows.

Each opening for a required emergency exit shall be outlined around its outside perimeter with a retroreflective tape with a minimum width of 2.5 centimeters and either red, white, or yellow in color, that when tested under the conditions specified in S6.1 of Standard No. 131 (49 CFR 571.131), meets the criteria specified.

  • 1″ strip used to mark side emergency exit windows
  • 1″ strip used to mark back emergency exit windows

These are minimum tape width requirements.

Here is an excerpt from the Connecticut regulations.

Any school bus may have reflectorized tape, otherwise known as retroreflective
sheeting, applied to the sides and rear, if such tape complies with and is
installed in accordance with the following requirements:
1. Approved reflective tape or sheeting shall reflect a yellow color with a reflectivity
meeting the requirements of 49 CFR 571.131 Table 1 and shall have a daytime
color of National School Bus Yellow. Approved reflective tape shall be no less
than three quarters (3/4) inch nor more than two (2) inches in width.
2. The rear of the bus body may have the perimeter outlined with strips of approved
reflective tape. The perimeter shall be considered as strips applied horizontally above
the rear windows and above the rear bumper, extending from the rear emergency
exit perimeter marking (if present), outward to the left and right rear corners of the
bus; and vertical strips applied at the corners connecting the horizontal strips.
3. All emergency exits should be marked and outlined with reflective tape as
prescribed per FMVSS 217.
4. The sides of the bus body may be marked with approved reflective tape
extending horizontally the length of the bus body and located vertically between the floor-line and the belt-line.

(Adopted effective May 2, 2007)

More information as well as pricing can be found at www.colebrothers.com .

US Coast Guard Retro Reflective Regulations for SOLAS Tape USCG 46 CFR, section 164.018

Where to place Retro-Reflective Material on Life-Saving Appliances

USCG 46 CFR, section 164.018

The United States Coast Guard has established regulations for the placement of retro reflective tape on all lifesaving devices on commercial vessels. The approved tapes are generally referred to as SOLAS (safety of life at sea). The chart below shows the required placement.

From International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution A.658(16) – Annex 1

1. LIFEBOATS AND RESCUE BOATSRetro-reflective materials should be fitted on top of the gunwale as well as on the outside of the boat as near the gunwale as possible. The materials should be sufficiently wide and long to give a minimum area of 150 cm2 and should be spaced at suitable intervals (approximately 80 cm from centre to centre). If a canopy is fitted, it should not be allowed to obscure the materials fitted on the outside of the boat, and the top of the canopy should be fitted with retro-reflective materials similar to those mentioned above and spaced at suitable intervals (approximately 80 cm centre to centre). In the case of partially enclosed or totally enclosed lifeboats, such materials should be placed as follows:

.1 for detection by horizontal light beams – at suitable intervals at half the height between the gunwale and the top of the fixed cover; and.2 for detection by vertical light beams (e.g. from helicopters) – at suitable intervals around the outer portion of the horizontal (or comparable) part of the top of the fixed cover;

.3 retro-reflective materials should also be fitted on the bottom of lifeboats and rescue boats which are not self-righting.

retroreflective markings on lifeboats 1retroreflectove markings on lifeboats 2

retroreflectove markings on lifeboats 3

2. LIFERAFTSRetro-reflective materials should be fitted around the canopy of the liferaft. The material should be sufficiently wide and long to give a minimum area of 150 cm2 and should be spaced at suitable intervals (approximately 80 cm from centre to centre) at a suitable height above the waterline, doorways included, if suitable. On inflatable liferafts, retro-reflective materials should also be fitted to the underside of the floor, cross-shaped in the centre. The dimension of the cross should be half the diameter of the liferaft, and a similar cross should be applied to the top of the canopy.
On liferafts which are not equipped with canopies, materials which should be sufficiently wide and long (to give a minimum area of 150 cm2) should be attached to the buoyancy chamber at suitable intervals (approximately 80 cm from centre to centre) in such a manner that they are visible both from the air and from a ship.
retrorefelctive material on liferafts
3. LIFEBUOYSRetro-reflective materials of a sufficient width (approximately 5 cm) should be applied around or on both sides of the body of the lifebuoy at four evenly-spaced points. retroreflective material on life rings
4. BUOYANT APPARATUSBuoyant apparatus should be fitted with retro-reflective materials in the same manner as liferafts without canopies, always depending on the size and shape of the object. Such materials should be visible both from the air and from a ship. (No illustration in IMO Resolution A.658(16))Note that the arrangement described applies to inflatable buoyant apparatus. It is different than illustrated in 46 CFR 160.010 (Figure 160.010-3(p)) for rigid buoyant apparatus and life floats. It is not required to change the retroreflective material arrangement on rigid buoyant apparatus and life floats unless the vessel is certificated under SOLAS for international voyages.
5. LIFEJACKETSLifejackets should be fitted with patches of retro-reflective materials with a total area of at least 400 cm2 distributed so as to be useful for search from air and surface craft from all directions. In the case of a reversible lifejacket, the arrangement should be complied with no matter which way the lifejacket is put on. Such material should be placed as high up on the lifejacket as possible.
retrorefelective material on lifejackets

Retroreflective material arrangements applied by the manufacturer on approved lifejackets have been reviewed and approved and should not be changed, even if the arrangement does not appear to be exactly the same as this illustration.

6. IMMERSION SUITSImmersion suits should be fitted with patches of retro-reflective material with a total area of at least 400 cm2 distributed so as to be useful for search from air and surface craft from all directions.
For an immersion suit that does not automatically turn the wearer face up, the back of the suit should be fitted with retro-reflective material with a total area of at least 100 cm2.
Retroreflective material arrangements applied by the manufacturer on approved immersion suits have been reviewed and approved and should not be changed, even if the arrangement does not appear to be exactly the same as this illustration.
7. GENERAL REMARKS 1. Retro-reflective materials should be such as will meet the minimum technical specification given in Annex 2.2. The illustrations reproduced in this Annex are intended to provide examples from which guidance may be taken when fitting retro-reflective materials in accordance with these guidelines.

MUTCD Minimum Reflectivity Standards for Retro Reflective Sheeting / Signs

The chart below shows the minimum requirements for retro reflective sheeting and tape for signs and applications that are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The chart can also be used as a guideline for exempt applications. The deadlines for compliance are as follows:

  • Assess the signs on their roads and develop a replacement plan within four years of the final ruling. (January 22, 2012)
  • Replace non-compliant warning and regulatory signs within seven years of the final ruling. (January 22, 2015)
  • Replace guidance and street name signs within ten years of the final ruling. (January 22, 2018)

The summary after the chart will explain what the chart means for different types of signs.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

On the left hand side of the chart you will find the colors used for different signs.  At the top you find the type of reflective tape required and to the right are the overhead and ground mounted categories (additional criteria).   To use the chart first determine whether your sign is an overhead or a ground mounted sign.  Most are ground mounted.   Then determine the colors that will be used on the left.  Then go to the right until you find the sheeting that meets the minimum.  As you can see, for yellow and orange background signs a type 2 sheeting is required.  For red and white background signs a type 1 is all that is needed. Also, when the chart says black it means a “non reflective” black.  When there is an asterisk * after a color/type that means it cannot be used for that type of sign.

When a color/type has a > and then a number next to it that means that the sheeting must exceed the number in reflectivity measured in cd/lx/m2. (candelas)  Many people call this the candlepower of the sheeting or tape. To see charts on the reflectivity of the different types of reflective sheeting click here.

The minimum contrast ratio is also important.  This simply means that the candlepower or reflectivity of one color must exceed the other by a certain factor.  For example, the white stop on a stop sign must be 3 times brighter than the red.  If you used the same type of material for both color this contrast is usually achieved automatically.  If you used a prismatic red background and an engineer grade white then you may have some problems with this ratio.

Basically, for ground mounted signs (on a pole), you are always safe using a type 2 material or better. For black on white or white on red signs (speed limit or stop sign) a type 1 engineer grade film is acceptable.  (white engineer grade is about 75 candlepower) For overhead signs like what you would see over an interstate you are required to use a type 3 or better prismatic sheeting.

As you can see, since ground/pole mounted signs make up the bulk of all signs, type 1 and 2 sheeting are the most needed.  This is not expected to change for quite a while.  The type 1 and 2 films are very affordable.  The prismatic films are much more expensive.   Since prismatic films are only required on overhead signs the new regulations do not have to substantially increase your sign budget.  The main thrust of the new law is to require cities, counties and states to have a plan for maintaining signs to the minimum level of reflectivity.

The following is a quote from the MUTCD manual showing the options for managing sign reflectivity.

Section 2A.08 Maintaining Minimum Retroreflectivity
Support:
01 Retroreflectivity is one of several factors associated with maintaining nighttime sign visibility (see Section 2A.22).
Standard:
02 Public agencies or officials having jurisdiction shall use an assessment or management method that is designed to maintain sign retroreflectivity at or above the minimum levels in Table 2A-3.
Support:
03 Compliance with the Standard in Paragraph 2 is achieved by having a method in place and using the method to maintain the minimum levels established in Table 2A-3. Provided that an assessment or management method is being used, an agency or official having jurisdiction would be in compliance with the Standard in Paragraph 2 even if there are some individual signs that do not meet the minimum retroreflectivity levels at a particular point in time.
Guidance:
04 Except for those signs specifically identified in Paragraph 6, one or more of the following assessment or management methods should be used to maintain sign retroreflectivity:
A. Visual Nighttime Inspection—The retroreflectivity of an existing sign is assessed by a trained sign inspector conducting a visual inspection from a moving vehicle during nighttime conditions. Signs that are visually identified by the inspector to have retroreflectivity below the minimum levels should be replaced.
B. Measured Sign Retroreflectivity—Sign retroreflectivity is measured using a retroreflectometer. Signs with retroreflectivity below the minimum levels should be replaced.
C. Expected Sign Life—When signs are installed, the installation date is labeled or recorded so that the age of a sign is known. The age of the sign is compared to the expected sign life. The expected sign life is based on the experience of sign retroreflectivity degradation in a geographic area compared to the minimum levels. Signs older than the expected life should be replaced.
D. Blanket Replacement—All signs in an area/corridor, or of a given type, should be replaced at specifiedintervals. This eliminates the need to assess retroreflectivity or track the life of individual signs. The replacement interval is based on the expected sign life, compared to the minimum levels, for the shortest-life material used on the affected signs.

MUTCD Regulations for Traffic Cones – Reflective Collar Requirements

Reflective Requirements for Traffic Cones


Our Summary

Traffic Cones need to be orange in color.   For daytime and low speed applications cones need to be 18 inches or taller and do not need reflective bands.  It must be daytime AND traffic must be limited to 40 miles per hour or less.

For areas where traffic is going faster than 45 mph you must use a 28 inch – 36 inch orange cone.  The cone must have two reflective bands.  The top band must be 6″ tall and the bottom band must be 4″ tall.  The space between the two bands needs to be 2″.

Cone Collars can be purchased at www.colebrothers.com/conecollars .

End of our Summary


Section 6F.64 Cones
Standard:
01 Cones (see Figure 6F-7) shall be predominantly orange and shall be made of a material that can be struck without causing damage to the impacting vehicle. For daytime and low-speed roadways, cones shall
be not less than 18 inches in height. When cones are used on freeways and other high-speed highways or at night on all highways, or when more conspicuous guidance is needed, cones shall be a minimum of 28 inches
in height.
02 For nighttime use, cones shall be retroreflectorized or equipped with lighting devices for maximum visibility. Retroreflectorization of cones that are 28 to 36 inches in height shall be provided by a 6-inch wide
white band located 3 to 4 inches from the top of the cone and an additional 4-inch wide white band located approximately 2 inches below the 6-inch band.
03 Retroreflectorization of cones that are more than 36 inches in height shall be provided by horizontal, circumferential, alternating orange and white retroreflective stripes that are 4 to 6 inches wide. Each cone shall have a minimum of two orange and two white stripes with the top stripe being orange. Any non-retroreflective spaces between the orange and white stripes shall not exceed 3 inches in width.
Option:
04 Traffic cones may be used to channelize road users, divide opposing vehicular traffic lanes, divide lanes when two or more lanes are kept open in the same direction, and delineate short duration maintenance and utility work.
Guidance:
05 Steps should be taken to minimize the possibility of cones being blown over or displaced by wind or moving vehicular traffic.
Option:
06 Cones may be doubled up to increase their weight.
Support:
07 Some cones are constructed with bases that can be filled with ballast. Others have specially weighted bases, or weight such as sandbag rings that can be dropped over the cones and onto the base to provide added stability.
Guidance:
08 Ballast should be kept to the minimum amount needed.

Retro Reflective Tape / Sheeting Brightness or Reflectivity Comparison Chart

There are several types of reflective tape with each varying in brightness, flexibility and conform ability. Some have a type rating like “Type 1 or 3” and some do not.  Generally, tapes that are used as sign sheeting on DOT roads are known by a Type 1, 2, 3, 5 or 8 designation.  Tapes used in other applications are not rated by type.  SOLAS marine tape is an example of this.  The different reflective tapes vary in brightness but also have some other characteristics that should be considered.  The tape you choose will depend on your application, the surface, and how far away the tape needs to be seen.

The chart below lists the major types of reflective tape along with each tapes brightness and any special characteristics.

  • The reflectivity factors below are in candelas and are measured at a -4 degree entrance angle.  The factors are approximate and meant to be used as a comparison.  The factors below are for white tape.
  • To be CAD cut means that the material can or cannot be cut with a computer controlled vinyl cutter for the creation of letter, numbers, symbols, etc.
  • Flexible means that the tape bends easily.  Thin, flexible tape will bend around a radius easier.
  • Stretchable means it will stretch to conform around complex curves. Only the flexible engineer grade and flexible high intensity will do this.
Reflective Tape Type and Name Brightness (white) Special Characteristics
Engineer Grade Type I 80-100 Candelas Flexible but only stretches a little. Can be CAD cut.
Flexible Engineer Grade Type I 80-100 Candelas Flexible and will stretch. Especially when warmed.  Can be easily CAD cut.
Super Engineer Grade Type II 185 Candelas Flexible and will stretch a little. Can be CAD cut.
High Intensity Grade Type III 250 Candelas Flexible and does not stretch. Difficult to CAD cut.
Flexible High Intensity Type III 250 Candelas Flexible and will stretch. Can be CAD cut.
V92 Reflexite Prismatic 460 Candelas Flexible and will not stretch. Can be CAD cut.
V98 Reflexite Prismatic similar to v92 Flexible and will stretch slightly. Can be CAD cut.
Oralite 5900 High Intensity Prismatic Type IV 500 Candelas Flexible and will not stretch. Difficult to CAD cut.
V82 Reflexite Prismatic Type 5 700 Candelas Flexible and will not stretch. Can be CAD cut.
CRG Nikkalite Prismatic Type VIII 700+ Candelas Stiffer, Thicker Film. Will not stretch. Cannot be CAD cut. Very similar to a diamond grade tape.
Reflexite SOLAS Prismatic Tape 1000+ Candelas Thin and Flexible. Will not stretch. Extra aggressive adhesive. Also available in a sew on material.

Specialty Reflective Tapes-
V97 Reflexite Fluorescent Yellow Tape – thicker than a V92 tape but still CAD cuttable. Reflects at about 325 candelas which is excellent for a yellow colored film.  Used for the backs of fire trucks as Chevron Striping.
R99 Railcar Tape – Schoolbus yellow color (golden yellow) or White. White reflects at 600 candelas and the yellow reflects at 400. Flexible but will not stretch. Used to mark rail cars.  Also known as FRA tape.

Reflective Tape For Snow Poles and Snowy Winter Conditions

Each year, as the weather turns colder, people in Northern States and Canada begin to gear up for snowy conditions.  Snow plow companies begin making snow poles to mark roads and driveways and snow mobile enthusiasts begin to prepare their trails and snowmobiles.  There are also a variety of other types of vehicles and objects that need to be seen at night and in the daytime in snowy conditions.  (i.e. dumpsters, roll off containers, fire hydrants, utility boxes, gates, fences, etc..)

Creating visibility in the snow is always a matter of CONTRAST.  The words in this article are only visible because they are black and the background is off white.  In northern states contrast in the summer time is going to be different than contrast in the snow for obvious reasons.  Also, you have to consider visibility in the daytime and at night.  You can see how this can be a bit of a challenge.

To keep this article simple I am going to list the different colors of prismatic tape along with their pros and cons for snow visibility.  Prismatic tapes are the brightest class of tape and are excellent for snow conditions.  I have a picture of the different tapes above.

White -This is the brightest tape by far.  White prismatic reflects any where from 500 for DOT white to  1000 candelas for SOLAS.  Against a dark background this is great but against a white background visibility drops.  In the daytime white is not very noticeable.

Fluorescent Lime Yellow – This tape is visible day and night.  It is also very bright although not as bright as white.  Roughly 325 candelas which is excellent.  It can be seen against almost any background.  The advantage to this film over white is that it reflects a color which is important when white is your background.

School Bus Yellow – This film reflects at about 310 candelas which is very good.  It is about as bright as the fluorescent yellow.  At night they look similar but in the daytime the fluorescent yellow is more visible. This tape reflects yellow making it visible against other colors.

Orange – This film reflects at 185 candelas.  This is actually very good for an orange tape.  Orange against other colors really stands out.  It normally designates a work zone so it is a good color for snow poles.  The darker shade stands out against white quite well.

Red – This film reflects at 75 candelas.  Don’t let the low number fool you.  Keep in mind you are sending out 75 candelas of a red color which really gets peoples attention and stands out against snow very well.  It is also very visible in the daytime.  Good film for snow poles.

Green – This reflects at the same rate as red.  Good color to mark areas that are ok to go into.  Green is a universal “GO” color.  Stands out well.  Use it where green is needed.

Blue –  This tape reflects at 35 candelas.  For blue that is very good.  Goes well mixed with other colors.  Good against light colored backgrounds.  35 candelas is plenty of light to see the film from several hundred feet away.

Keep in mind that you can mix colors to create any effect you wish.  You could do two stripes of red with white in between to get a good contrast.  You can use green to mark areas that are ok to enter and red to mark do not enter zones.  Blue is commonly used for fire hydrants.  Yellow is a work zone color and signifies caution.   As I stated before, I recommend the prismatic tapes over other types of reflective tapes because of the higher reflectivity.

I hope this helps.  We have these films available at www.colebrothers.com and www.reflects-light.com

Reflective Tape for Automatic and Manual Gates and Fences

Note – This article addresses ways to mark gates that are located on private property and do not open onto a DOT regulated road.  For gates that open onto a road see our other articles on this site about MUTCD or Army Corp of Engineer gate marking requirements.

Gates and fences are designed to block or limit access to certain areas.  Standard gates are expensive and automatic gates are very expensive.  Needless to say, no one wants their gate to be struck by a vehicle.  This is where reflective tape can help.  When marking your gate or fence you have several choices of reflective tape in varying intensities and colors.  You are going to want to make sure your gate is visible in the day, at night, close up and far away.

In the daytime color is the key.  You need a bright color that will get peoples attention.  Barricade tapes that are striped at angles are excellent in getting the attention of a driver.  These tapes are available in an engineer grade as well as a high intensity grade.  Also, they can be purchased in a red/white or orange/white combination. DOT tapes are also great for daytime visibility.  They alternate white and red.  You see these tapes used extensively on over the road trucks.  We also have a gate arm tape that looks similar but has 16″ alternating colors.  These striped tapes are like the barricade tapes but the stripes go up and down and not diagonally.  DOT tapes are only available in the prismatic grade.  (brightest) All of these tapes make your gate very conspicuous night and day.

If you prefer to use a single color and still want daytime visibility you can choose a colored engineer grade, high intensity or prismatic grade of tape.  Red, orange, yellow, blue and green are available.  Alternating colors is also an option.  Engineer grade is bright at night, high intensity is brighter and Prismatic is brightest.

For visibility at night you can use the options above.  However, you also have the option of using a tape that blends in with the gate.  If your gate is white or silver or grey then a white engineer, high intensity or prismatic tape will blend and also be the brightest at night.  White is always the brightest color.  If you have a bronze or black gate and want the tape to blend in the daytime then you only have one choice.  That is black engineer grade reflective tape.  This tape is black in the day but reflects a goldish color up to a white color depending on the brightness of the light hitting it.  Keep in mind that black reflective tape reflects at about 10 candela while a white engineer grade reflects at 75 candelas.  Compare this with a prismatic tape that can reflect from 500 – 1000 candelas depending on the type.  I have found that black is good for gates in very dark alleys where there is no competing light.  If you do use black then you would want to use as much as possible.

Of all the choices above the safest in my opinon is the DOT tape or RGA Rail Gate Arm reflective tape.  They get your attention in the day and are extremely bright at night.  They are visible from thousands instead of hundreds of feet away.

If you have a gate that is required by law to have alternating red and white tape on it then you will want to use our RGA (rail gate arm) reflective tape.  You can view an article on that tape by clicking here.  The picture below shows the basic requirements for a Corp Of Engineers Gate.

I hope this article is helpful.  If you have any questions you can email me or call me at 850-934-3157.

Reflective Tape for Gate Arms and Railroad Crossings – MUTCD

Note – This article addresses gate striping requirements for gates that fall under MUTCD requirements.  These would be gates that open onto a DOT regulated road.

Reflective Gate Arm Tape can now be purchased in 1″,2″,3″ and 4″ rolls at www.safety-tapes.com .

Section 2B.68 of the 2009 Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) specifies how gate arms are to be marked.  MUTCD regulations also apply to private property when that property connects to a DOT road.  This regulation covers all gate arms including those used at railroad crossings.  All gates are required to be marked with alternating red and white 16″ sections of reflective tape.  The width will depend on the width of the arm.  It is recommended that a Type 2 or better retro-reflective tape be used.  For more information on minimum reflectivity levels see our article on that subject to the right.

Section 2B.68 Gates

Support:
01 – Gates described in this section used for weather or other emergency conditions are typically permanently installed to enable the gate to be immediately deployed as needed to prohibit the entry of traffic to the highway segment(s).
02 – A gate typically features a gate arm that is moved from a vertical to a horizontal position or is rotated in a horizontal plane from parallel to traffic to perpendicular to traffic. Traffic is obstructed and required to stop when
the gate arm is placed in a horizontal position perpendicular to traffic. Another type of gate consists of a segment of fence (usually on rollers) that swings open and closed, or that is retracted to open and then extended to close.
03 – Gates are sometimes used to enforce a required stop. Some examples of such uses are the following:

A. Parking facility entrances and exits,
B. Private community entrances and exits,
C. Military base entrances and exits,
D. Toll plaza lanes,
E. Movable bridges (see Chapter 4J),
F. Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (see Chapter 6E), and
G. Grade crossings (see Part 8).
04 – Gates are sometimes used to periodically close a roadway or a ramp. Some examples of such uses are
the following:
A. Closing ramps to implement counter-flow operations for evacuations,
B. Closing ramps that lead to reversible lanes, and
C. Closing roadways for weather events such as snow, ice, or flooding, or for other emergencies.

Standard:
05 – Except as provided in Paragraph 6, gate arms, if used, shall be fully retroreflectorized on both sides, have vertical stripes alternately red and white at 16-inch intervals measured horizontally as shown in Figure 8C-1.

Option:
06 – If used on a one-way roadway or ramp, the retroreflectorization may be omitted on the side of the gate facing away from approaching traffic.
07 – Where gate arms are used to block off ramps into reversible lanes or to redirect approaching traffic, the red and white striping may be angled such that the stripes slope downward at an angle of 45 degrees toward the side of
the gate arm on which traffic is to pass.

Standard:
08 – The gate arm shall extend across the approaching lane or lanes of traffic to effectively block motor vehicle and/or pedestrian travel as appropriate.
09 – When gate arms are in the vertical position or rotated to an open position, the closest part of the gate arm and support shall have a lateral offset of at least 2 feet from the face of the curb or the edge of the traveled way.
10 – When gate arms that are located in the median or on an island are in the horizontal position or rotated to a closed position, the closest part of the counterweight or its supports shall h ave a lateral offset of at least 2 feet from the face of the curb or the edge of the traveled way of the open roadway on the opposite side of the median or island.

Guidance:
11 – When a gate that is rotated in a horizontal plane is in the position where it is parallel to traffic (indicating that the roadway is open), the outer end of the gate arm should be rotated to the downstream direction (from the perspective of traffic in the lane adjacent to the gate support) to prevent spearing if the gate is struck by an errant vehicle.
12 – If a pedestrian route is present and if it is not intended that pedestrian traffic be controlled by the gate, a minimum of 2 feet of lateral offset from supports, posts, counterweights, and gate mechanisms should be provided when the gate arm is in the open position and when the gate arm is in the closed position such that pedestrian travel is not impeded.

Option:
13 – Red lights may be attached to traffic gates.
Standard:
14 – If red lights are attached to a traffic gate, the red lights shall be steadily illuminated or flashed only during the period when the gate is in the horizontal or closed position and when the gate is in the process of being opened or closed.
15 – Except as provided in Paragraph 16, rolling sections of fence, if used, shall include either a horizontal strip of retroreflectorized sheeting on both sides of the fence with vertical stripes alternately red and white at 16-inch intervals measured horizontally to simulate the appearance of a gate arm in the horizontal position, or one or more Type 4 object markers (see Section 2C.66), or both. If a horizontal strip of retroreflectorized sheeting is used, the bottom of the sheeting shall be located 3.5 to 4.5 feet above the roadway surface.

Option:
16 If used on a one-way roadway or ramp, the retroreflectorization may be omitted on the side of the fence facing away from approaching traffic.