What is Traffic Marking Paint: Enhancing Road Safety and Visibility

What is Traffic Marking Paint: Enhancing Road Safety and Visibility

Like most people driving through the endless maze of traffic, you’ve probably never given much thought to the paint on the roads that guide us safely through our daily commutes. Try to imagine navigating the streets without clear markings. This could quickly lead to chaos and confusion, especially if you’re in a construction, school or pedestrian zone.

Now, revert back to a world where lanes and essential navigation information is clearly marked. Traffic marking paint carefully guides drivers, communicating crucial information.

The traffic control solutions, including traffic marking paints, from Transline Industries, Inc., are all about ensuring safety on our roads. We’ve been in this business for over 3 decades, distributing a wide variety of pavement markings, traffic control solutions, and safety supplies. 

In this article, we will highlight some of the different types of pavement markings, compare traffic marking paint and regular paint, and finish with the best paint for pavement for specific applications.

Types of Pavement Markings

Traffic or pavement markings ensure our roads are safe, organized, and easy to navigate. Pavement markings consist of lines and symbols that convey information about certain traffic rules (e.g. left turn only), road conditions ahead (such as railroad crossings), where it is safe to change lanes, and more. These markings also identify lanes reserved for high-occupancy vehicles and bicycles.

Traffic Marking Paint vs. Regular Paint

Pavement markings are created with traffic marking paint. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between traffic marking paint and regular paint so you’ll better understand their differences. 

What is Traffic Marking Paint?

Traffic marking paint is paint that is specially formulated to be used on roadways.  As you might expect, it has different properties than regular paint.


Traffic marking paint contains durable pigments that make sure people can see it at all times of the day. It’s also engineered to withstand harsh weather conditions like rain, snow, and UV exposure from the sun. 

Regular paint designed for general use isn’t anywhere near as durable as traffic marking paint. In most cases, it’s not ideal for low-light conditions. It fades a lot quicker and deteriorates a lot faster from the weather.


Traffic marking paint consists of reflective beads and/or glass spheres to ensure it’s visible in various lighting conditions. This increases safety during nighttime driving.

Regular paint doesn’t have these characteristics, so it’s not ideal for the dark. That makes regular paint nearly useless for traffic management during the night.


Traffic marking paint is specifically engineered for longevity and resilience. Its ability to resist wear and tear caused by vehicular traffic makes this paint stand out from the rest. Its longer lifespan means it doesn’t need to be repainted and maintained as frequently as other paints.

Regular paint isn’t built to withstand the constant stress from traffic and exposure to the elements of nature. It deteriorates quicker than traffic marking paint and requires frequent upkeep and maintenance.


Traffic control and management standards are fairly strict. Traffic marking paint meets the regulatory compliance standards for road markings. 

Regular paint isn’t manufactured to meet the rigorous standards set for road safety, which could negatively affect its usefulness in traffic scenarios.

Types of Traffic Marking Paint

There are a few types of pavement marking materials, each with a different purpose. You might also be wondering, how long does pavement marking last? We’ll cover that in this section. 


  • Application: Ideal for high-traffic areas, such as highways and intersections.
  • Longevity: The most expensive option, thermoplastic pavement markings are not actually paint at all. They are made of tiny particles of plastic that liquify at high heat and then can be applied to pavements. It is the most durable of the three options discussed here, and can last several years.


  • Application: Commonly used on roadways, parking lots, and lower-traffic areas.
  • Longevity: More environmentally friendly, waterborne pavement markings can last up to two years when applied correctly and used in low-traffic conditions. They must be applied when there is no rain in the forecast and temperatures are expected to be above 50 degrees. Waterborne paint is not the best choice for climates with cold winters. 


  • Application: These are suitable for both highways and local roads.
  • Longevity: Solvent-based paints last a few years, depending on traffic conditions and climate but they contain harsh chemicals that are banned in some jurisdictions. This paint is slightly more affordable than thermoplastic and is suited for cold-weather applications where waterborne paint will not hold up.

At Transline Industries Inc., we offer thermoplastic pavement marking supplies that bond mechanically to asphalt and adhere to treated concrete. 

Choosing the Best Paint for Pavement

When it comes to pavement markings, the choice between thermoplastic, waterborne, and solvent-based paint depends on the specific needs. 

Thermoplastic: This paint is ideal for high-traffic areas because of its durability and visibility such as highways and busy intersections. Their high cost is often offset by their long lifespan.

Waterborne: The environmentally friendly choice, waterborne paint is good for applications with low to moderate traffic conditions where the weather will stay above 50 degrees.

Solvent-based: More affordable than thermoplastics and suitable for cold weather, this traffic marking paint is durable enough for highways but is not allowed in some locations because of its negative effects on the environment. 

What’s Next?

Choosing the right paint can make a huge difference in road safety and regulating traffic. At Transline Inc., we offer reliable, durable, and visible pavement marking solutions that you can trust. Explore our range of products today, or contact us for a quote to get started.