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.

Gate Striping Requirements (Reflective Tape) – Army Corp of Engineers

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.

The US Army Corp of Engineers is requiring that their gates be marked in accordance with the following regulation.  The images below give you a visual synopsis of the requirement.  For gates along a road way where cars would be approaching at higher speeds or at intersections where there is not a stop sign you would use the first image below which is the one with the road closed or the red diamond sign.

For gates that branch off of a main road or have a stop sign you would use the second example.  Cars in this situation would be moving slower. This is the most likely configuration.

We have two products that are designed to meet these requirements.  One is our Reflexite Gate Arm Tape and the other is our Yellow Prismatic Reflective Tape which act as Type 2 object markers. (also used for Chevron Striping on Fire Trucks)

Here is the regulation.

1. A closed gate across a road is a potential hazard to moving vehicles, bicycles, and possibly pedestrians. Vehicle drivers must be able to see that there is a closed gate ahead and have adequate recognition and stopping distance to avoid hitting the gate. Due to questions raised by the USACE Sign Standards Committee and field personnel, CESO and CEC W personnel have developed this guidance to clarify the marking requirements for road closure gates on USACE parks and property. This particular guidance is for swinging gates; rolling chain-link gates are addressed in Reference d. below. Gates are the only acceptable movable closure; chains, cables, and wire rope are prohibited on roads used by the public.

2. References.
a. EP 310-l-6a & b; USACE Sign Standards Manual

b. EM 385-1-1; USACE Safety and Health Requirements Manual

c. 23 CFR 655, Subpart F-—Traffic Control Devices on Federal-Aid and Other Streets and Highways

d. Federal Highway Administration Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD, rev 2009)

3. 23 CFR 655.603 adopts the MUTCD as the national standard for all traffic control devices installed on any street, highway, bikeway, or private road open to public travel. When a State or other Federal agency manual or supplement is required, that manual or supplement shall be in substantial conformance with the National MUTCD. The MUTCD states that “All regulatory and warning signs installed on public roads and streets within recreational and cultural interest areas shall comply with the requirements of Chapters 2A, 2B, 2C, 7B, 8B, and 9B.” The MUTCD definition of a public road is “Any road. street, or similar facility under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public agency and open to public travel.”

4. The USACE Sign Standards Manual EP3l()-l-6a on page 9-l states that “The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) has been adopted as the standard for all Regulatory and Warning signs used on Corps project roadways for vehicular traffic.”

5. While this guidance is intended to describe the minimum acceptable standards for marking roadway gates on USACE properties, the MUTCD encourages decisions concerning a particular traffic sign to be determined using engineering judgment or an engineering study.

6. Gate Marking Guidance:

a. Roads Open to Public Travel

i. Through Roads, Extensions of Federal, State or County Roads; When such roads exist on a USACE property, gates closing traffic to these roads must meet the specific requirements of MUTCD Section 2B.68., 2C.36-39. and 6F.l7. This includes marking the gates (red and white reflective material-paint, tape, etc- on the arms), marking gate stanchions (yellow Type 2 Object Markers), a ROAD CLOSED sign or Type 4 red Object Marker, and possibly providing an Advance Warning Sign ahead of the gate. Refer to Enclosure 1 for specific requirements.

ii. USACE Roads Approved for Public Use: Access Roads, Campground Roads, Scenic Roads. etc; These gates must technically meet the same MUTCD requirements as those in the preceding paragraph, however the local project may use the standards and engineering analysis to develop modified markings based on local factors to include: the design of the gate, potential speed of approaching vehicles, available stopping sight distance, and visibility of the gate and surrounding area at night. Gates that occur along the length of a roadway or at a no-stop intersection should meet all MUTCD requirements if possible. For gates at stop-signed intersections or occurring at an exit off a main route, the minimum recommendation is that the top horizontal bar of the gate be covered end to end with red and white retroreflective material and the stanchions marked with yellow reflective material or Type 2 Object Markers. The use of advance warning signs and Type 4 Object Markers should be decided based on the speed limit, visible distance to the gate while driving, and other factors that make the gate less visible. Refer to Enclosure 2 for further guidelines.

b. Roads Not Open to the Public — USACE access roads, service roads, etc.; Where these roads connect to a through road or public use road, the initial gate should meet the requirements of those public roadways. Internal gates within public vehicle-restricted areas should be marked appropriately with reflectors or reflective tape so that they are readily identifiable while work is performed. Roadways not approved for standard vehicles may be authorized for recreational vehicles (ATVs, snowmobiles, bicycles, etc.); these gates should meet the guidance in paragraph ii, modified as needed by an engineering analysis.

7. These guidelines are intended to bring some standard of uniformity to USACE road gates and to require those that fall under the MUTCD to have appropriate markings. USACE managers should evaluate their properties’ gates along these guidelines and establish a plan to bring their gates into compliance, beginning with the highest risk. New or replacement gates installed after the date of this memo shall follow these marking guidelines.

Enclosure 1

Markings for MUTCD Compliant Gates: permanently installed gates that control through roads, extensions of Federal, State or County roads.
Also recommended for gates on USACE roads that occur along the length of a roadway or at a no-stop intersection where traffic would be expected to be at the speed limit when meeting the gate.
Gate arms shall be fully retroreflectorized on both sides, have vertical stripes alternately red and white at l6-inch intervals measured horizontally. lf used on a one-way roadway, the retroreflectorization may be omitted on the side of the gate facing away from approaching traffic.

The gate shall also have either a Type 4 Object Marker (red diamond) or Road Closed sign attached.

Rolling sections of fence, if used as gates, shall include either a horizontal strip of retroreflectorized material 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 and one or more Type 4 object markers . The bottom of the retroreflectorized area shall be located 3.5 to 4.5 feet above the roadway surface.
Gate stanchions or any fixed structure within 8 feet of the roadway shall have Type 2 Object Markers (Yellow reflectors). Gate stanchions and the gate arm, when open, shall be at least 2 feet from the edge of the paved road surface.

Basic appearance of MUTCD-compliant gates: (recommended where gate is along the length of a roadway or at a non stop sign intersection)

Advance Warning Signs
Advance Warning Signs are required for gates that can close through roads and extensions of Federal, State or County roads.

The time needed for detection, recognition, decision, and reaction is called the Perception-Response Time (PRT). This helps establish the distance ahead of the gate that a warning sign should be placed, based on the speed limit and visibility of the gate.

MUTCD Table 2C-4 should be used as an aid for determining warning sign location. The distances can be adjusted for roadway features, other signing, and to improve visibility. The distances are for guidance purposes and should be applied with engineering judgment. Warning signs should not be placed too far in advance of the condition, such that drivers might tend to forget the warning because of other driving distractions.

Signs warning of closed gates should read “ROAD CLOSED AHEAD” and can be permanently fixed or only placed when the gate is closed. Permanently fixed signs should be provided with a cover or be of the folding type so that they cannot be read when the gate is open.

Minimum recommended marking requirements for gates on USACE roads open to the public, when not occurring on the length of a road or at a no-stop intersection. (see diagram below)

The purpose is to make the gate visible when they encounter it. Type 4 Object markers and Road Closed signs would generally be unnecessary on most USACE roads, given the low speeds and placement of the gates at turn-off entrances.

Diagram of the two types of gate marking requirements.  One for gates along the length of a road or an intersection where there is no stop sign and one for gates that branch off a main road or are at a stop sign intersection.

Chevron Striping NFPA 1901 – Reflective Diamond Plate Solutions – Article 2

Free V98 Sample Pack.  In 2009 the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) issued a recommendation known as NFPA 1901 that sets standards for reflective striping on fire trucks and fire apparatus.

In this article we will cover section of NFPA 1901 which covers the rear of the vehicle.  Specifically, we are going to cover how to make diamond treadplate reflective with chevron striping.  The NFPA requirement is summarized below.

REFLECTIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REAR OF THE VEHICLE (summary) At least 50 percent of the rear-facing vertical surfaces, visible from the rear of the apparatus, excluding any pump panel areas not covered by a door, shall be equipped with retro-reflective striping in a chevron pattern sloping downward and away from the centerline of the vehicle at an angle of 45 degrees.  The stripes are to be alternating red and yellow.  Standard or Fluorescent yellow is accepted.   Each stripe should be 6″ wide and should be a minimum of type 1 (engineer grade).

(end summary)

As you know many fire trucks utilize diamond plate or treadplate on the rear of the vehicle.  This creates a challenge when trying to achieve a 50% coverage ratio.  If the amount of diamond plate is small then the area can simply be bypassed.  However, this often creates an unbalanced look.  If the diamond plate area is larger then some type of reflective treatment is necessary.

There are several very effective ways to make diamond treadplate reflective.  All of the materials can be purchase at our online store

Reflective DOTS for Treadplate – 3/4″ reflective dots can be placed onto the flat area between the diamonds to create a reflective surface.  Dots or circles are easy to apply and seem to be easier to line up.  When using dots or circles you should keep in mind that you are getting about a 44% coverage ratio on the treadplate.  To achieve a 50% overall coverage you would need to have some solid chevron striping on the back of the truck as well.  The image at the top of this page is a good example.  One secret to applying circles is to push each one into the same corner on the diamond plate pattern.  (versus trying to center each one.)  This will guarantee a perfect line.  We have more information on the reflective circles at this link.

Reflective Squares or Rounded Squares – squares or diamonds that are 3/4″ in size also work very well.  They give you a 65 – 75% coverage ratio which is much better than circles.  If the entire back of a truck was diamond plate then covering the area with squares or rounded squares would achieve the NFPA recommendation.  Apply the rounded squares is a peel and stick process.   To get them straight you can make a faint, straight line with a pencil and then apply.  You can click here for more information on the reflective rounded squares or standard squares.

Reflective Overlays – overlays cover even more than squares and are easier to line up.  With an overlay you can cover 4 spaces at once which makes application about 4 times faster.  A coverage ratio of plus 80% can be achieved with this method.  The ones shown to the left are cut from Reflexite V98 series film.  This is a conformable and repositionable tape which makes it very popular with fire departments and graphics companies.   It is a peel and stick application.  We have more information on the reflective overlays at this link.

NFPA 1917 1901 Chevron Strips

Reflective Chevron Strips (Style A or B) – our chevron strips are an easy way of creating 6 inch wide highly reflective stripes on diamond plate. They are custom cut to fit around the diamonds. It takes just seconds per decal to install. This is the fastest method that we know of for applying reflectivity to diamond plate.  We have two styles to fit two diamond plate layouts. Some diamonds are right at 1″ from tip to tip and some are 1/16″ less than an inch. We have these available at .

Reflexite V98 Conformable Chevron Striping – if you want 100% coverage you can simply use a conformable sheeting like the new Reflexite V98 material.  This material will conform over the diamond plate.  We have had good success with it, however, you may want to try a sample piece on your diamond plate to be sure you get the conformability you need.  One thing that we found effective was to lay the yellow down first and then overlap the yellow with the red.  (red on top) This seems to create a better seal since the red is a little more flexible.  We have the Reflexite Conformable V98 material on our main website.

Reflexite V98 Conformable Reflective Chevron Striping

Making Diamond Treadplate Reflective Using Dots, Circles, Squares or Panels – Article 1

Free Sample Pack.  Most firetruck manufacturers integrate diamond plate (treadplate) into their vehicles.  On horizontal surfaces this creates a nice non skid surface.  When applied vertically it does look good, however, it creates a problem when the fire department wants to make that area reflective.  This is especially relevant on the rear of the vehicle where the NFPA 1901 guideline states that 50% should be striped with reflective yellow and red chevrons.  On flat surfaces the chevrons are easily created using red and yellow Rolls of Reflective Striping. On tread plate or diamond plate reflective patterns or stripes can be created using 3/4″ dots, rounded squares or reflective appliques (panels).  The 3/4″ dots are applied to the flat area between the raised treads.  Specially designed reflective appliques/panels/overlays can be placed over the treads for more coverage.  Applying the dots, squares or overlays is a little time consuming but very simple.  Since the dots or overlays sit below the treads they are somewhat protected.  When using reflective dots or squares it is also easy to create numbers or letters within the diamond plate.

We carry the 3/4″ dots, 3/4″ rounded squares, 3/4″ squares and overlays in a highly reflective prismatic material called Reflexite V98.  All provide a viable solution to making diamond plate reflective so that it conforms to the NFPA 1901 standards.   They can be ordered at .  The pictures below show the 3/4″ dots installed on a fire truck.  As you can see, the result is amazing and as I stated before, very simple.  Just peel and stick.

Taken with a flash camera.

Custom Die Cut Reflective Shapes or Overlays (CAD Cut)

Custom Designed Die Cut or CAD Cut Reflective Shapes online store

Reflective tape is readily available in sheets and rolls.  However, for many applications a particular shape is needed to solve a night time visibility issue.  For example, the spaces between diamond plate can be made reflective by using a shape that fits the area between the diamonds.  The back of an iphone can be made reflective by custom cutting a shape that fits.  We have several shapes and sizes pre priced at .   However, the shapes that we can design and cut are unlimited.

The job pictured below is going on a fire truck.  To have a custom shape designed and cut you would simply send the actual object to use as a template or send a tracing of the shape that you want.  A sample would be designed and mailed out as a proof if necessary.  Once the shape is verified we would begin cutting them in volume.  Pricing varies depending on complexity and amount of material used.  For example, the shapes to the left are about 3.5″ square and run 50 cents each.  In some cases design time is free and in others there is a charge.  The size of an order and the complexity of the design are both factors in this cost.

Letters and numbers can also be cut in volume.  We use Reflexite’s V98 series reflective sheeting for all of our shapes.  This material is conformable and repositionable making it very easy to work with.  It is prismatic and very bright.  At the present time we carry white, blue, red and fluorescent lime yellow and fluorescent orange.