Road Surface Marking Tape is a heavy-grade material with reflective beads embedded in the plastic. It is commonly used to mark crosswalks, stop bars, and traffic guidance such as turn lanes, HOV lanes, train crossings, pedestrian crossings, taxi lanes, bus lanes, and bike lanes. There are two ways to apply tape:
- Overlay—The application being laid over the surface of the pavement. Using industrial-grade rubber cement, once the tape is combined with the pavement, it should last three years. Major obstacles to estimated life are snow-plows, salt, and mis-application.
- Inlay—The tape physically becomes part of the asphalt. Using the heat generated in the paving process, road workers lay special tape on the asphalt in the hardening process, and rollers compress the two together.
The life of the preformed polymer tapes can vary based on the applications. If applied correctly, they can last between 4 and 8 years. However, there have been cases where tape failures start soon after the installation. Conditions that may contribute to the tapes to peel off are the time of year of the installation that is too close to the winter, surface preparation, and workmanship. A technique that can be used to minimize the tape getting scraped off by snowplows is sandblasting a groove into the surface and fixing the tape onto this groove. This technique diminishes the advantage of low labor cost of the tapes. The preformed polymer tape markings are slippery when wet, especially in large sections such as crosswalks, and caution should be used due to poor wet traction.