ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--3M Traffic Safety Systems is launching the 3M Sign Grant Program, a new
program designed to significantly reduce road sign replacement costs to
local and state governments to meet the latest federal retroreflectivity
standards set by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to improve
traffic safety. The 3M Sign Grant Program begins January 5, 2009 and
will run through November 30, 2009.
Government agencies are able to apply for onetime grants to receive
significant cost savings to upgrade road signs to meet and exceed the
FHWA Minimum Levels of Retroreflectivity. Finalized in January 2008, the
FHWA standards require state and local agencies to assess their road
signs and develop a replacement plan for non-compliant signs within four
years. Non-compliant warning and regulatory signs must be replaced
within seven years, and guide and street name signs within 10 years.
“Our goal with the 3M Sign Grant Program is to encourage agencies to
start the planning process now to meet the new standards and to begin
replacing underperforming signs,” said Tom McGlynn, highway safety
business director, 3M Traffic Safety Systems. “We’ll work alongside
agencies to improve traffic sign brightness and visibility to help meet
and exceed the elevated safety standards.”
Fatality rates are three times higher at night than during the day. To
help improve traffic safety at night, the FHWA has raised the minimum
reflectivity of road signs to increase sign visibility. Sign upgrade
programs in Mendocino County, Calif. and Sioux City, Iowa resulted in
crash reductions attributable to more visible signs. Mendocino County
spent $79,300 on sign upgrades, saving $12.5 million to $23.7 million in
six years from crash reductions. Sioux City spent $145,000, saving $4.92
million from crash reductions in three years.
Road signs generally appear equally visible in daylight no matter what
quality of sheeting is used to manufacture the sign. However, at night
there is a notable difference, and signs made with higher performance
reflective sheeting are more visible, helping to improve safety.
Higher-performing prismatic sheeting helps save lives and dollars
through increased visibility for drivers, as well as provides longer
retroreflectivity lifespan of the signage than sheeting made with older,
glass-bead technology. Signs made with higher-performing materials
generally provide cost savings to the agencies over the lifespan of the
signs as they require less maintenance, last longer and help decrease
traffic accidents reducing costs to the public. Most importantly, the
crash reductions save lives.
3M Diamond Grade DG³ Reflective Sheeting and 3M High Intensity Prismatic
Reflective Sheeting will help agencies meet the new standards and
provide safer roads, life cycle cost savings and environmental benefits
when compared to older optical technologies, such as the engineering
grade reflective sheeting.
3M Diamond Grade DG³ Reflective Sheeting is the highest grade of
sheeting available and returns nearly twice the light to drivers
compared to other prismatic sheeting. This breakthrough retroreflective
technology delivers visibly superior performance to help improve roadway
safety. Diamond Grade DG³ technology includes “full cube” construction
that produces 100 percent efficient optical elements which, in finished
sheeting, returns 58 percent of available light to drivers. This
technology also accommodates the wide range of observation angles from
different-sized vehicles and entrance angles. Diamond Grade DG³
Reflective Sheeting has a 12-year lifespan.
3M High Intensity Prismatic Reflective Sheeting also helps improve sign
visibility and safety through increased levels of retroreflectivity,
when compared to engineering grade reflective sheeting. It has a 10-year
lifespan, while engineering grade reflective sheeting has an expected
life of seven years.
Environmental benefits of the 3M Diamond Grade DG³ Reflective Sheeting
and 3M High Intensity Prismatic Reflective Sheeting occur in the
manufacturing process by reducing VOC emissions by 97 percent and energy
consumption by 72 percent compared to standard engineering grade
reflective sheeting processes.
For more information on the 3M Sign Grant Project or to apply, visit www.3MSignGrants.com.
About 3M Traffic Safety Systems
Since inventing reflective materials more than 65 years ago, 3M Traffic
Safety Systems has been the worldwide leader in developing products,
systems and services for the transportation safety, traffic management,
vehicle registration and commercial transportation markets. For more
information about 3M Traffic Safety Systems and our products, visit www.3M.com/tss.
3M and Diamond Grade are trademarks of 3M.
A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands
of innovative products for dozens of diverse markets. 3M’s core strength
is applying its more than 40 distinct technology platforms – often in
combination – to a wide array of customer needs. With $24 billion in
sales, 3M employs 79,000 people worldwide and has operations in more
than 60 countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com.