PBOT Vision Zero December 2023 Newsletter


In this newsletter...

  • Follow Vision Zero's @PBOTInfo social media takeover this week!
  • World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims follow-up
  • Be diligent from dusk to dawn! 74% of Portland traffic deaths occur in darker conditions.
  • Vision Zero Action Plan Update 2023-25
  • Explore traffic safety data on the updated Vision Zero dashboard
  • Get winter weather ready, now!
  • Check out resources from Portland United Against Hate's Healing Summit
  • Travelling to your winter holiday festivities? Prioritize safety on the streets.
  • Share your budget comments to support important transportation services
  • Personal safety resources
  • Remember to say crash, not accident!
  • Free Vision Zero pins, stickers, brochures, fliers, and yard signs
  • What we're reading

Follow Vision Zero's @PBOTInfo social media takeover this week!

A skateboarder rides down a protected bike lane on a major street in a residential neighborhood in Portland during a community event.

All this week Vision Zero is taking over the Portland Bureau of Transportation's (PBOT) social media channels. We're highlighting the safety actions we’ve taken in the years since the Portland city council committed to Vision Zero in 2015 all the way through the work we plan on doing through 2025, as described in the Vision Zero Action Plan Update 2023-25.

Be sure to follow the @PBOTInfo handle on FacebookInstagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter).

Stay tuned all throughout the week to learn about the work we’ve done in the pursuit of Vision Zero, Portland’s goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets! 

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims follow-up

Dozens of people on foot and walking their bikes approach the outdoor covered area outside the Memorial Coliseum on a cold day.

About 80 people gathered together on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the Moda Center for World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims to honor those who have been killed and injured on roads around the globe—1.35 million people each year worldwide. 

This year, event organizers set-up sleeping bags on the covered outdoor plaza space to represent people killed on Portland streets this year. The sleeping bags would later be donated to organizations serving people experiencing houselessness.

Dozens of black sleeping bags laid out in a grid format under an outside covered area. A close of one of the sleeping bag shows person information.

Speakers discussed their personal experiences of losing family members and colleagues, traffic violence as a public health crisis and equity issue, and measures that should be taken to make streets safer. Speakers included:

Iannarone read the names of public figures—including elected officials, local government officials, and city council candidates—who signed the traffic safety pledge, a promise to pursue specific actions to curb traffic violence. 

Be diligent from dusk to dawn! 74% of Portland traffic deaths occur in darker conditions.

A couple wearing reflective vests stand with their bicycles on a neighborhood street at the sun is setting.

Last year’s Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) deadly traffic crash report found that 74% of traffic deaths and 93% of pedestrian deaths occurred in darker conditions (dusk, nighttime, and dawn). These trends are consistent with traffic safety research. 

We all have a responsibility to help make our streets safe—especially in the fall and winter months when many people are heading home after sunset. 

Slow down, use caution, and look out for people on the street

When possible, avoid driving at night—especially if you're older

As we age, we have greater difficulty seeing at night. Research indicates that people over age 60 may have a hard time driving safely at night and may want to consider limiting themselves to daytime driving.  

Try to dress as visibly as possible

Pedestrians who wear reflective clothing are visible to people driving from 500 feet away compared to just 55 feet when wearing dark colors. 

Street lighting investments save lives

Our street lighting investments save lives. PBOT's guidelines call for consistent illumination across and along major streets. Infill lighting combined with tweaks to existing lights support safety while conserving energy. We're investing $16.5 million from the LED cost savings and the voter-approved Fixing Our Streets program to add lighting to Portland’s highest crash corridors. As we work to improve lighting on Portland streets, please take extra care when traveling in darker conditions. 

Vision Zero Action Plan Update 2023-25

A black and white image of an adult using a wheelchair ready to cross a busy street using a marked crosswalk.

In case you missed it last month, we're pleased to share the latest update of our plan to advance Vision Zero, the goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on Portland streets, with the Vision Zero Action Plan Update 2023-25

Since our last Vision Zero update in 2019, the world has changed in significant ways. A global pandemic exacerbated societal struggles. A U.S. movement for racial justice—renewed by the murder of George Floyd by a police officer—reignited conversations about systemic racism in our communities. The impacts of climate change have intensified with deadly temperatures and hazardous air quality.

Some actions in this update respond to these new realities, others continue our work to create a safer transportation system.

This update reflects the progress we’ve made and the challenges we’ve faced in the seven years since city council adopted the Vision Zero Action Plan in 2016. It also sets the course for our work through 2025.

You may view the executive summary and/or full plan online. 

Explore traffic safety data on the updated Vision Zero dashboard

A map highlighting Vision Zero projects in Portland, Oregon.

Along with the release of our Vision Zero Action Plan Update 2023-25 last month, we also updated our Vision Zero dashboard, an interactive data exploration platform. 

We created this dashboard to maintain transparency about our efforts to reduce speeding, improve street design, support people to travel safely, and share citywide traffic crash summaries.

The dashboard provides an overview of traffic safety improvements from the past five to 10 years, as well as data relating to our performance measures.

Learn more about how to use the dashboard before exploring the data

Get winter weather ready, now!

An orange BIKETOWN bike parked on a snowy sidewalk in the foreground as an adult couple walks towards it in the background.

Planning ahead for winter weather

We play essential roles in helping the city rebound quickly after a storm. Get winter weather ready now so that you don't need to think twice when the next weather event hits!

How to get emergency information

Check out our resource to find the latest road closures, chain advisories, and the best bookmarks and alerts to keep you up to date on winter weather.

  • Road closures: Current winter weather road closures and chain advisories. Call PBOT 24/7 Maintenance Dispatch to report road hazards, 503-823-1700.
  • Winter Weather Center: In winter weather, PBOT treats our roads with liquid anti-icing and deicing chemicals, spreads road salt and gravel, plows, and removes snow from the road. Check out this interactive map showing snow and ice routes, as well as real-time traffic, weather, road closure, and plow information. 
  • Public alerts: Sign up for emergency notifications via text, email, or phone.

How PBOT prepares and responds to winter weather

PBOT is ready to respond to weather emergencies 24/7. A single storm can produce wildly different road conditions throughout the city based on timing, weather patterns, and geography. Moisture and cold temperature combine in myriad ways to create hazardous conditions on our roads. 

Check out resources from Portland United Against Hate's Healing Summit

A group of people walking next to one another on a sidewalk.

Did you miss the Portland United Against Hate Healing Summit sponsored by  Portland Bureau of Transportation? No problem. We have recordings and resources from the three-day virtual event to share!

The Healing Summit was a response to an increasing hate and bias incidents our communities endure. Workshops included:

These workshops gave attendees the opportunity and tools to be able to recognize the impacts of traumas from living with witnessing hateful acts, identify healthy ways to resolve and remediate the impacts of trauma in everyday life, and provide an opportunity to explore self-defense options to help build the confidence to confront the challenges of society head on in a healthy way. 

Please reach out to Sean Tyler if you have any questions, concerns, or access needs.

Travelling to your winter holiday festivities? Prioritize safety on the streets.

Woman sits on a bleacher, with a young child propped up on her leg, holding a “safe driving, safes lives” sign and orange pom-pom.

Remember to prioritize safety and minimize risk-taking behavior to prevent traffic deaths if you’re travelling to winter holiday festivities. 

A variety of factors contribute to deadly collisions on Portland streets: 

  • Speed: If you’re going over 30 mph in Portland—and not on an interstate highway—you’re probably going too fast. Safe speeds lower the risk of crashes. And when crashes do occur, safe speeds make it less likely that people are killed or seriously injured. 
  • Driving under the influence: 69% of Portland traffic deaths involve impairment (2017-21). Riding transit or designating a sober driver is a great way to reduce impaired driving.
  • Distracted driving: Keep your focus on the road. Distracted driving is serious and can be costly. A quick glance at a cell phone (or a fast grab to save the cranberry sauce!) can cause a driver to miss a person approaching a crosswalk.   
  • Seatbelt use: Always wear a seatbelt. It’s still one of the best ways you can protect yourself when inside a vehicle.  

Each of these risk factors are easily eliminated by being aware and making the conscious decision to travel safe. Make plans for how you are going to get home, especially if you think you may be drinking alcohol or using other substances. 

Share your budget comments to support important transportation services

This image shows a group of adults and kids riding bicycles including some recumbent bikes at a Sunday Parkways event, where streets are car free.

Parking and state fuels tax revenues continue to come in below projections, while expenses continue to rise. Portland Bureau of Transportation's (PBOT) fiscal year 2024-25 budget will require up to $32 million in additional service reductions. Unless we find a solution, dramatic and visible transportation service reductions are likely. 

In last month's city council work session, PBOT leadership identified projects, programs, and positions that could be cut, including: 

There are several ways to provide budget comments to city council:

Learn more about the PBOT budget online.

Personal safety resources

A student is smiling mid-jump while playing double-dutch jump rope as seven of their peers watch with their backpacks on.

We want to help create a transportation system that allows all people to feel safe getting where they need to go. Check out our webpage full of resources that address personal safety on our streets, including information about how to:

And remember, you can always start with PDX 311 for help with any local government questions or service needs. Staff are fluent in English, Spanish, Romanian, and Tagalog and have resources to assist community members in additional languages. 

Remember to say crash, not accident!

“CRASH” in a stylized handwritten, yellow marker font type above “ACCIDENT” in a light, strikethrough yellow font type.

We’re inviting our community to change the way we talk about crashes. We want to shift the broad cultural perception that crashes are inevitable and remind each other that they are predictable and preventable. A Vision Zero approach refuses to accept traffic violence as a byproduct of “just the way things are.” So, will you join us?

Read the full blog post to learn more about why we use the word "crash" rather than "accident."

Free Vision Zero pins, stickers, brochures, fliers, and yard signs

A pile of white and orange Vision Zero pins.

Help educate family, friends, neighbors, your school, or your organization about Vision Zero, Portland's commitment to eliminate serious and fatal traffic injuries.

If you're interested in making a bulk request, please email us.

What we're reading

  • Skinny roads save lives, according to a study on the width of traffic lanes (NPR)
  • Taller cars and trucks are more dangerous for pedestrians, according to crash data (NPR)
  • National Transportation Safety Board wants anti-speeding tech in new cars (Automotive News)
  • Getting buy-in for road diets from fire departments (Planetizen)
  • This cheap street fix saves lives. Why don’t more cities do it? (Bloomberg CityLab)
  • Living without refuge: How the housing crisis fuels traffic violence (Streetsblog)
  • Traffic study finds Chicago police are six times more likely to stop Black drivers (ABC7 Chicago)
  • Car crash victims seek justice in a new way: talking to the drivers (New York Times)
  • Anti-fat bias harms the movement for safe streets — particularly for kids (Streetsblog)
  • New traffic safety report profiles 6 types of drivers; which profile do you fit? (NBC24)
  • Slow down! As deaths and injuries mount, new calls for technology to reduce speeding (NPR)
  • Commuting on a highway? Your blood pressure may pay a price (HealthDay)
  • What to do when driving skills decline (Harvard Health)