Data guides our investments
Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) uses equity data to focus investments in areas with the greatest safety needs. PBOT uses traffic crash data (described in the High Crash Network section below) to understand where traffic deaths and injuries most often occur.
Certain areas of Portland are more dangerous for pedestrians. East Portland continues to have nearly twice the number of pedestrian deaths per capita compared to the rest of Portland. Areas that score higher on PBOT’s Equity Matrix have three times the number of pedestrian deaths per capita compared to the rest of Portland. This is where our investment in infrastructure and services is critical.
PBOT Equity Matrix Map
How crash data works
We use crash data as one way to understand how and where people are hurt or killed while traveling on Portland streets. Most crash data relies on self-reported information, and not all traffic-related deaths are included in the official record.
Crash reports are required:
- If the crash involves a motor vehicle and damage is at least $2,500.
- For all crashes involving a motor vehicle that result in injuries (no matter how minor) or in death.
There are typically between 10,000 and 12,000 reported crashes in Portland each year. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) compiles information about these crashes to create the state’s official crash record. ODOT releases the complete official crash record 12 to 18 months after the end of the year reported. For deadly crash data, we use information provided directly by the Portland Police Bureau. This allows for the most up-to-date information about traffic deaths.
Vision Zero Action Plan
In 2015, Portland made a commitment to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets. The Vision Zero Action Plan (2016) mapped out actions to make that commitment a reality. Portland's Vision Zero 2-Year Update (2019) describes lessons learned during Portland’s first two years as a Vision Zero city and sets the stage for the next phase of work. The Vision Zero Action Plan Update 2023-25 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, and sets the course for our work through 2025.
Evaluating safety efforts
Every year, PBOT makes many changes on Portland's streets in an effort to improve safety. Some of the efforts — including roadway reorganization, speed limit reduction, and quick build interventions — are tried and tested while others are new attempts and innovations.
Deadly traffic crash reports
Each winter, we evaluate and analyze the previous calendar year's deadly traffic crashes in Portland and report on local trends.
The people who die on Portland’s streets were children, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, neighbors, and friends. Their lives were cut short. Their loss has left gaping holes in the hearts of those who knew them and loved them. Our communities and our city mourn their losses. We can do better.
High Crash Network streets and intersections
More than half of deadly crashes occurred on the busiest streets in Portland. The High Crash Network comprises Portland’s 30 deadliest streets and intersections, based on crash data. While the High Crash Network represents 8% of Portland streets, it accounted for 62% of traffic deaths in the past five years (2018-2022).
Pedestrian overrepresentation in traffic deaths
Pedestrians face the greatest risk in Portland's transportation network.
Roughly 5.7% of Portlanders primarily walk to work, yet 40% of all traffic related deaths from 2018 - 2022 were pedestrians. East Portland continues to have nearly twice the number of pedestrian deaths per capita compared to the rest of Portland. Areas that score higher on PBOT's Equity Matrix have three times the number of pedestrian deaths per capita compared to the rest of Portland.
This is where our investment in infrastructure and services is critical.
Deadly traffic crash demographics
We use demographic data — including race, ethnicity, age, sex, housing status, and disability — to understand how particular groups are impacted by traffic violence differently. This shapes how we respond and take action.
Top contributing factors to traffic safety
Crash data suggest that certain factors have an outsized impact on traffic safety. This includes:
- behavior, such as impairment, speed, and hit-and-run crashes
- infrastructure, such as lighting and wide streets
- vehicle types, such as large vehicles
Common crash types and locations
Understanding the types of movements and locations that lead to death and injury for people traveling in Portland informs actions in our 2023 action plan.