On the road

Road markings were first used in the UK in 1918 with a simple painted white line. The 1920s saw a rise in the use of painted lines but it was not until the Ministry of Transport published a circular in 1926 that guidelines on the use of these lines were established. During the 1950s, yellow lines were introduced in order to establish rules and restrictions surrounding parking, loading and unloading, and waiting. Commonly these lines have been made with paint which can wear away relatively quickly. The MagmaLine R105 (1), is a preformed sheet material made from a combination of resin, pigments, additives, fillers and glass beads for reflectivity. The sheet can be easily laid without the need for specialist boilers or complicated equipment, just a gas torch. It has an expected lifespan of around 5 years, and meets Highway standards.


The Wite-Nite road spot (2) is a road marker made of compression moulded urea formaldehyde. It would have been filled with a casting resin and embedded into the road surface. The modern 3M versions (3-6) are made of a high impact polycarbonate (PC) and have reflective PC lenses. The studs have inner ribbing to dissipate tyre impact, increase strength and reduce damage. The different colours indicate a number of meanings; green is used on dual carriageways and motorways to indicate a slip road entrance or a layby, red shows the left-hand side of the carriageway and shows a line that should not be crossed, white studs are used to separate lanes, and amber studs are used to indicate the central reservation or the inner edge of an exit ramp.


Traffic cones are a common sight on the highways of the UK. They can provide a warning of a danger or be used to move traffic in a particular direction. The Starlite cone (7) is made of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and has a non-slip base from recycled PVC to give it weight. The collapsible cone (8) is made of polyamide (PA) and has a stiff mesh on the inside as well as rigid rings of varying sizes to keep it in good shape.


The Duraflex self-righting bollard (9) has a retroreflective surface making it highly visible both during the daylight and when it is dark. If this polyethylene (PE) bollard is knocked over by a car it will rebound back up into its original position without being damaged.