The National Academies

ACRP 09-19 [Active]

Airfield Pavement Markings - Effective Techniques for Removal and Temporary Applications

  Project Data
Funds: $450,000
Staff Responsibility: Matthew Griffin
Research Agency: Texas A&M Transportation Insititute
Principal Investigator: Adam Pike
Effective Date: 6/1/2019
Completion Date: 11/20/2020


Airfield markings are critical visual cues and are vital for runways and taxiways. During airfield construction projects, it is often required to remove or obliterate the existing pavement markings and apply temporary markings. These operations can leave scarring that is visible on the airfield for years. These remaining traces of former markings can be mistaken by pilots and ground personnel as active airfield markings. The risk of confusion can be particularly high at night, on wet pavement, and during glare conditions. Better methods for applying and removing temporary markings and removing permanent markings that minimize the confusion are needed to prevent accidents and incidents.
The objectives of this research are to prepare an airfield guidebook for airport operators to identify and develop best practices for the efficient, safe, cost-effective, and environmentally acceptable techniques for (1) permanent marking removal and (2) application and removal of temporary markings to ensure aviation operational safety and to minimize the adverse impact on airfield pavement.  The guidebook should be applicable to airports of all types and sizes and a variety of geographic climates.
The guidebook should address, at a minimum:
  • Short- and long-term impacts on airfield pavement to include:
  • Concrete and asphalt
  • Joints and crack seal
  • Grooved and ungrooved;
  • Optics of temporary markings at any position (i.e., color, coverage and retro-reflectivity);
  • Applicability and practice above and beyond existing standards;
  • Options for temporary paint formulation;
  • Curing compound removal; and
  • Equipment options for temporary and permanent paint removal.
The ACRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. Proposers are asked to develop and include a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objectives. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objectives. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail.
The research plan should include appropriate interim deliverables, for ACRP approval, that include at minimum:
  • Literature review to include incidents related to inadequate pavement marking removal;
  • Sample survey for airports of existing practices for: (a) application and removal of temporary markings; (b) removal of permanent markings; and (c) plan for intended outreach;
  • Sample survey for the users (pilots, ground personnel, and other stakeholders) for visual observations and plan for intended outreach;
  • Feedback and evaluation from a variety of pilots, ground personnel, and other stakeholders to include consideration of human factors in various conditions;
  • An initial plan of field testing that identifies airports, types of markings to be removed and painted, locations on the airfield, conditions (e.g., wet/dry, day/night, different contrasts), and methods of field testing on different types of pavement (e.g., old/new asphalt and concrete);  
  • A comparative matrix of equipment and removal techniques; and
  • An interim report that describes work done in early tasks with an updated work plan for remaining tasks and a detailed outline of the airfield guidebook that will require ACRP approval.
The research plan should include other appropriate checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed and (2) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate. 
The final deliverables will include: (1) a guidebook that meets the research objective and includes a general comparative matrix of equipment and removal techniques; (2) a supplemental field guide that summarizes best practices; (3) a contractor’s final report that documents the methodology of their entire research effort, including background information and the research team’s recommendation of research needs and priorities for additional related research; and (4) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” (See Special Note I.)
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, there should be 3 months for ACRP review and comments and for contractor preparation of the final deliverables.   For budgeting purposes, proposers should assume that ACRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services. ACRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for the face-to-face meeting. Proposers should assume that the meeting will be held in Washington, DC.
A. ACRP publications and other relevant industry-related resources should be consulted when conducting this research. It is expected that portions of these publications and or resources will be discussed or linked into the final publication as appropriate, including but not limited to:
  • NCHRP Report 759: Effective Removal of Pavement Markings;  
  • “Temporary Markings and Signage for Airfield Construction”, The French-Speaking Airports (UAF&FA), Version 1.1, Nov. 2017 (Marquages et signalisation temporaires (chantier), https://sites.google.com/site/infraalfaaci/publications/guide-mstc
  • FAA Development and Evaluation of Safety Orange Airport Construction Signage, DOT/FAA/TC-15/52 (as an example of human factors research);
  • U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Advisory Circular 150/5340-1L, Standards for Airport Markings;
  • U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Advisory Circular 150/5370-2G, Operational Safety on Airports During Construction;
  • U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Advisory Circular 150/5370-10G, Standards for Specifying Construction of Airports;
  • TRB Straight to Recording for All, Safety of Runway Operations during Construction Works, Nov. 2015, https://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/webinars/151130.pdf
  • Le Bris, G. Safety of the Runway Operations with a Temporary Displaced Threshold During Construction Works. Presented at Transportation Research Board 93rd Annual Meeting, 2014;
  • What’s on Your Runway? Aero Safety World, Vol. 7, July 2012, pp. 16–19;
  • Various ICAO design manuals;
  • ACI Apron Markings and Signs Handbook, 2017; and
  • Runway-Taxiway Construction Best Practices & Lessons Learned (Revised April 2014) https://www.faa.gov/airports/runway_safety/runway_construction/media/Rwy_Const_Lsn_Lrnd_Bst_Prc.pdf
B. The proposer’s team should include persons with specific technical and operational expertise in airfield markings, and a technical writer.  
C. Proposers should consider outreach to other international organizations for best practices. 
STATUS: Texas A&M has been selected. Research is underway.  

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