Reflective pavement markings (or raised pavement markings) are small markers added to the street to help people driving see painted lines, especially in dark and wet conditions. This technology has existed for nearly 100 years and is already used in many places in Portland. The Oregon Department of Transportation uses reflective pavement markings along some highways in Portland. PBOT uses them in select locations, like along tight curves with limited lighting.
PBOT is beginning to use reflective pavement markings along longer stretches of select streets based on crash history and roadway characteristics. In 2016-2020, there were 1,529 lane departure crashes during low light or wet conditions on Portland's non-freeway streets. As a result, 36 people died and 134 people were seriously injured. The Vision Zero team used this crash data to prioritize locations for reflective pavement markings. Additionally, the team considered land use and roadway factors like long blocks, low-density land use, street curvature, and lighting. ODOT reports that reflective pavement markings can reduce nighttime crashes by about 15%.
Starting October 1st, PBOT will install reflective pavement markings on SE Foster Road from SE 102nd Avenue to SE Jenne Road. In 2016-2020, there were 31 lane departure crashes in low light or wet conditions on this three mile section of SE Foster Road. Three people died and five people were seriously injured as a result of those crashes.
PBOT maintenance crews will use new equipment for this implementation. PBOT looks forward to seeing how these reflective markings perform on this section of SE Foster Road. After installation and analysis, PBOT will determine whether or not these markings are feasible elsewhere.