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Red Traffic Lanes: What Laws Govern “Experimental” Road Markings?


Green lanes, Blue markings, White stripes, Circles, and Arrows: What’s a driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, and other foot or wheel propelled person to do in order to comply with “experimental” local traffic laws?

Portland, Oregon, is one of a few cities experimenting with Bus-Only lanes, painted bright red. The city’s webpage describing the experiment has lots of useful info including maps with circles and arrows:

Federal Highway Administration experiment with Red Pavement Markings

Red transit lanes are designed to help buses, streetcars, and trains move better.
PBOT is partnering with TriMet, Metro, Portland Streetcar and Portland State University (PSU) to install and experiment with red pavement markings in transit priority lanes. We are testing to see if adding red on the pavement helps increase driver understanding and compliance in transit priority lanes. PSU will help us collect before and after data and evaluate performance.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has given permission to a number of U.S. cities, including Portland, to participate in a national experiment to use red paint to signal to other road users that buses, streetcars, and trains have priority. Our application request to experiment was approved by FHWA in September 2019….” [For full article, link to Portland, Oregon, Department of Transportation web page.]

Don’t live in Portland, Oregon? Check your own city’s or county’s website if you notice road lanes painted bright, deep red where you drive, walk, bicycle, scoot, Segway, etc.

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