ODOT wants to fund your lifesaving idea

Got an idea to encourage folks to put their damn phones down? ODOT might fund it! (Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

If you have an idea for a road safety project or program, the State of Oregon wants to help make it a reality.

The other day a source at a local government agency forwarded me an email from the Oregon Department of Transportation about a grant solicitation. There was no link to a website and a few key details were missing, but the email piqued my interest because it appeared to be an open-ended request for road safety project ideas — and most importantly — a promise to fund the best ones. Since I know many of you care about saving lives, I found a contact name and fired off a few questions.

What I’ve learned is that ODOT’s Transportation Safety Office (TSO) has launched a new, annual safety grant program. This is the first time TSO has administered this grant, and the timeline is crunched this year. Applications are due by June 15th!

ODOT TSO has 19 different grant funding sources, all of which have different eligibility criteria. Instead of having to navigate those options, this new approach will make it simpler for community members and organizations to tap into federal and state funds. If you have an idea, simply fill out the Funding Opportunity document (the application) below and then the staff at TSO will determine which the the best funding source for your particular project.

When I asked about the cost range of successful project, the ODOT source replied, “Go for the moon and see where it sticks!”

If you apply, ODOT TSO says you should keep these points in mind:

  • ODOT’s 5-year Transportation Safety Action Plan (TSAP) outline the individual programs, problems identified, and strategies encouraged to be used to rectify the transportation safety problem. 
  • All grant projects that are approved must be data-driven; so include data that supports your problem identification (that you want to solve).
  • For ‘proven countermeasures,’ per program area (DUII; Bike/Ped; Distracted Driving, etc.) please also see this NHTSA publication.
  • You can submit as many individual Funding Opportunity requests as you’d like.
  • The projected grant year is October 1, 2024 to September 30, 2025 for federal funds; and July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025 for state funds.
  • All applications will be reviewed and scored by a committee a traffic safety professionals.
  • TSO is specifically interested in proposals that address safe road user behaviors and education and outreach for the following topics:
    • Aging Road Users
    • Community-based transportation safety programs (and programs that reach underserved communities)
    • Distracted Driving
    • Driver Education (teens)
    • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and public health partnerships
    • Impaired driving (alcohol and/or drugs)
    • Motorcycle Safety
    • Occupant Protection (seat belts and child safety seats)
    • Pedestrian and/or Bicyclist safety
    • Preventing roadside deaths or injuries of first responders, stranded motor vehicle drivers, and others
    • Protecting children and others from risks related to being left unattended in a motor vehicle
    • Roadway Safety and Work Zone Safety
    • Speeding and Aggressive Driving
    • Traffic Law Enforcement and/or Judicial programs
    • Traffic Records (traffic safety research studies and improved data collection, dissemination, and access)
    • Vehicle Equipment Safety Standards
    • Projects that include proven countermeasure strategies or that introduce innovative ideas or best practices with measurable outcomes are encouraged, as are programs that foster collaboration among community resources.

From here on out, TSO will solicit applications every February.

All submissions for the coming grant cycle must be submitted to TSO via TSOGrantApp@odot.oregon.gov on or before June 15, 2024. It can also be mailed directly to TSO at 1905 Lana Ave NE, Salem, OR 97314.

Pertinent docs can be downloaded below:

If you have questions or need more information, see the Grantee Resources page call or email TSO Manager Traci Pearl at (503) 986-6718 or Traci.PEARL@odot.oregon.gov.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Fred
Fred
5 days ago

Regarding the guy holding his cellphone while he attempts to steer his truck:

I see so many cars now with such deeply tinted windows that you can’t make any eye contact with the driver – not even through the windshield. When I’m cycling and stopped at an intersection, I find it deeply disconcerting that I can’t make any eye contact with the driver to ensure it is safe to proceed.

The opaque windows seem like a deliberate strategy to keep us all from seeing what nefarious things the driver is getting up to, like using a cellphone while driving.

I hope it’s illegal to have such deeply tinted windows (dear reader: please reply with an ORS citation). And if it is illegal, I would ask:

OSP, PPB, sheriffs, etc: Please crack down on this practice and give out copious citations.

Damien
Damien
5 days ago
Reply to  Fred

https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_815.221
https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_815.222

This seems nigh impossible for a cop to judge on the spot by my reading, unfortunately.

John V
John V
4 days ago
Reply to  Damien

When I was in grade school, I was in the car with my mom when she was pulled over for having window tinting, in Washington County. I wouldn’t call it traumatic but it’s stressful to be harassed by cops. It was a used car that just came with it.

Later (maybe 2005), I was pulled over in my first car (also a used POS) in Corvallis when I was in college, for the same reason.

As with most of these loosely enforced rules, they can be applied willy nilly at the whim of a cop. I think they consider it very useful to have laws like that they can pick and choose to enforce, so they can pull over people at random. I bet they never do it to a Tesla or a new oversized F-150 today.

So they can definitely decide to judge the tinting on the spot if they feel like pulling over a POS car they see.

JG
JG
5 days ago
Reply to  Fred

ORS 815.222
Illegal window tinting

(1)A person commits the offense of illegal window tinting if the person applies window tinting material that does not comply with ORS 815.221 (Tinting) or applies window tinting material to a window of a motor vehicle that is not authorized by ORS 815.221 (Tinting) to be equipped with window tinting material.
(2)A person commits the offense of operating a vehicle with illegal window tinting if the person operates a vehicle registered or required to be registered in Oregon that is equipped with window tinting material that is not in compliance with or authorized by ORS 815.221 (Tinting).
(3)Each offense described in this section is a Class B traffic violation.
(4)A court may dismiss a citation issued for violation of subsection (2) of this section, or reduce the fine that the court would otherwise have imposed for the offense, if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court that after the citation for the offense was issued the windows of the vehicle were modified to comply with the requirements of ORS 815.221 (Tinting). In determining whether the windows of the vehicle were modified to comply with the requirements of ORS 815.221 (Tinting), the court may consider:
(a)A receipt from a business for removing nonconforming window tinting or installation of conforming window tinting;
(b)A written statement by a law enforcement officer indicating that the window tinting was modified to comply with the requirements of ORS 815.221 (Tinting); and
(c)Any other evidence produced by the defendant to show modification or removal of the nonconforming window tinting.
(5)A court may dismiss a citation issued for violation of subsection (2) of this section, or reduce the fine that the court would otherwise have imposed for the offense, if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court that at the time the citation for the offense was issued the person or another person in the person’s household had a physical condition requiring window tinting that produces a lower light transmittance than allowed by ORS 815.221 (Tinting). In determining whether the person or another person in the person’s household had a physical condition that requires window tinting that produces a lower light transmittance, the court may consider any of the following documents signed by a validly licensed physician or optometrist stating that the person has a physical condition requiring window tinting that produces a lower light transmittance than allowed by ORS 815.221

ORS 815.221
(1)Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person may apply tinting material to the windows of a motor vehicle in compliance with this section.
(2)Tinting material may be applied to the side and rear windows of a motor vehicle if:
(a)The tinting material has a light transmittance of 50 percent or more;
(b)The tinting material has a light reflectance of 13 percent or less; and
(c)The total light transmittance through the window with the tinting material applied is 35 percent or more.
(3)Tinting material that has a lower light transmittance or produces a lower total light transmittance than permitted in subsection (2)(a) and (c) of this section may be applied to the top six inches of a windshield. Tinting material may not be applied to any other portion of the windshield.
(4)Tinting material that has a lower light transmittance or produces a lower total light transmittance than permitted in subsection (2)(a) and (c) of this section may be applied to all windows of a multipurpose passenger vehicle that are behind the driver. This subsection applies only to vehicles that are equipped with rearview mirrors on each side of the vehicle. The windows as tinted shall meet the requirements for AS-3 glazing material established by federal regulation. For purposes of this subsection, a “multipurpose passenger vehicle” is a motor vehicle with motive power that is designed to carry 10 or fewer persons and is constructed either on a truck chassis or with special features for occasional off-road operation.
(5)Tinting material that has a lower light transmittance or produces a lower total light transmittance than permitted in subsection (2)(a) and (c) of this section may be applied to the side and rear windows of a vehicle registered in the name of a person, or the person’s legal guardian, if the person has any of the following documents signed by a validly licensed physician or optometrist stating that the person or another person in the person’s household has a physical condition requiring window tinting that produces a lower light transmittance than allowed by this section:
(a)An affidavit.
(b)A prescription.
(c)A letter on the practitioner’s letterhead.
(6)The document required by subsection (5) of this section shall be kept in the vehicle and shall be shown to a police officer who inquires about the tint.
(7)There are no light transmittance requirements for glazing materials applied to AS-3 type windows.
(8)The following types of tinting material are not permitted:
(a)Mirror finish products.
(b)Red, gold, yellow, amber or black material.
(c)Tinting material that is in liquid preapplication form and is brushed or sprayed on.
(9)Each person who installs window tinting material in compliance with this section shall give the person who requested the installation a certificate stating:
(a)The name and address of the person who installed the tint;
(b)The light transmittance of the tinting material;
(c)The light reflectance of the tinting material; and
(d)That the total light transmittance through each window with the tinting material applied is not less than 35 percent.
(10)The certificate issued under subsection (9) of this section shall be kept in the motor vehicle and shall be shown to a police officer who inquires about the tint.
(11)Prohibitions and penalties related to the standards established under this section are provided under ORS 815.222 (Illegal window tinting). [1995 c.263 §2; 2003 c.158 §8; 2015 c.579 §1]

It’s a $360 fine

Serenity
Serenity
3 days ago
Reply to  Fred

The opaque windows seem like a deliberate strategy to keep us all from seeing what nefarious things the driver is getting up to, like using a cellphone while driving.

That’s only because they are a deliberate strategy to keep us all from seeing what nefarious things the driver is getting up to.

Dave
Dave
5 days ago

Give all police officers–city, county, and atate troopers–tools with which to crush cell phones when they pull drivers over. Hold all jyrisdictionsharmless for this destruction of personal property. The goal should be for everyone to drive with their phone lockedin the trunk of their car lije anopen bottle of liquor.

Amit Zinman
5 days ago

Sounds good to me, I wonder if this can be used to address all the issues with high crash corridors that are controlled by ODOT.

Kyle
Kyle
4 days ago

My lifesaving idea is: road diet for Powell from the willamette river to I-205, I feel confident that ODOT does not actually want to fund this

Kw
Kw
4 days ago

Daylighting street corners and drive aisles and reduce city speed limit citywide to 20 mph. With speed cameras at key areas. Not sexy but would save lives and for the cost new signs paint and a few cameras over time. Fines could pay for additional cameras.
Is someone already working on this? Seems like there is enough data out there but maybe in various pieces.

eawriste
eawriste
4 days ago

A formation of an interstate transportation group of various professions including engineers, cycling and walking advocacy groups, environmental groups, consultant engineers from other countries (e.g., Netherlands) etc. Their job is to review/audit the MUTCD and propose changes based on research and the Strong Towns approach.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
4 days ago
Reply to  eawriste

the Strong Towns approach

Ah yes, the libertarian “just curl up and die if you are poor” approach.

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2023/09/the-strong-towns-movement-is-simply-right-libertarianism-dressed-in-progressive-garb

eawriste
eawriste
4 days ago

There are some legitimate criticisms in the article. Thanks for sharing. The MUTCD is recipe book, an engineer manual that has historically presented itself as apolitical. One of the biggest accomplishments of Marohn’s approach is to make the traditional values of transportation planning (best characterized by this manual) more transparent. I’m certainly not saying he’s always correct, but I do think would be a huge step in the right direction to allow professionals the resources and time to edit the MUTCD accordingly.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
4 days ago
Reply to  eawriste

I absolutely support better review and more frequent updates of MUTCD by professionals*. I only commented because it annoys me how “Strongtowns” is lionized even though it is associated with some really f***ing reactionary BS.

* preferably left-leaning professionals 😉

eawriste
eawriste
3 days ago

My impression of much of his writing is that he frequently attempts to point to just that, BS within the engineering profession. For example, traffic projections are often seen as an attempt to present a simple quantifiable answer in place of a dynamic system. These models do not work, according to the National Academy of Sciences report of 2015. They are essentially pseudoscience. Yet, we see traffic projections frequently used to justify road widening, such as ODOT’s attempt in the RQ and Columbia crossing.

It is very difficult to predict most dynamic social systems. That does not mean we shouldn’t try. But we certainly should admit to ourselves how reliable the data is. That may be why he shies away from large capital projects where the outcome is difficult to reliably foresee. And yet we could not imagine the world without some large scale capital projects. Berlin’s subway system, once built, has been an invaluable part of that city’s identity and function.

John V
John V
4 days ago

Great article, thank you!
As with many libertarians (or Republicans / conservatives for that matter), they identify real problems and get so close. But their analysis and solutions are wrong. Or even some of the solutions are right, but the implementations are wrong. Strong Towns identifies a lot of problems and some good solutions, but yeah that article is highlighting some misguided shit.

Watts
Watts
4 days ago

I started reading this article and soon became exhausted. It’s hard to keep score on such an arcane internecine battle as this one.

One example:

Marohn writes that “the hard work of building a place” must be done “long before a significant transit investment.” In other words, localities get transit only when they generate enough private wealth to pay for it.

This is cited as evidence of Marohn’s capitalisism-centered approach (and like all things capitalism is deemed bad). For a Portland-specific example, I’d cite the Blue Line: a transit line where the hard work of building a place was left for after the transit investment was made… and we’re still waiting.

So yes, develop the place, then build transit there. Or don’t. Neither really works. Maybe we’d all be better off if the wonks spent their time arguing about the finer points of planning doctrine and economic theory, so the rest of us will be free to have a civil, fact-based discussion about vehicular cycling.

I gave up on the article after this.

J_R
J_R
4 days ago

Require installation and operation of red light cameras at signalized intersections when ODOT undertakes “safety projects “ like Powell Boulevard. They spent $30 million and it doesn’t seem to have improved safety. No enforcement results in no improvement.

Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious
4 days ago

Wouldn’t expanding public transportation, pedestrian, and cycling options while reducing car dependency improve all the points they have identified? It seems that ODOT does not really want to address these issues, but give the impression they are trying to do something.

Watts
Watts
4 days ago

Wouldn’t expanding public transportation, pedestrian, and cycling options while reducing car dependency improve all the points they have identified?

Possibly; what they need are specific ideas with specific implementation plans yielding specific results. Lining up 19 funding sources seems like a lot if this is only posturing.

Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious
20 hours ago
Reply to  Watts

Why do they need to ask the public for ideas? Are there not sufficient studies and example cities showing great results when they have replaced or limited vehicle access in favor of alternative transportation options. Are they not staffed with expert city planners? Maybe they are not posturing, it might just be corruption and incompetence.

Serenity
Serenity
9 hours ago

It *could* be corruption and incompetence.

Serenity
Serenity
1 day ago

That would be very on brand for them.

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
4 days ago

Close every roadway where there is a fatal or serious injury crash, and do not reopen it until it has been redesigned with greater safety to prevent future crashes. It’s not the moon; it’s our actual planet with actual emphasis on safety.

Serenity
Serenity
3 days ago

How about we just not leave basic road maintenance and safety for a public vote? Fill every pothole, cut every curb, and remediate curb cut that needs it, residential or not. Don’t wait until the next lawsuit.

Serenity
Serenity
3 days ago

So how do I get in on this? Who wants to help me get the data together?

Tink
Tink
1 day ago

How about “Jersey barriers” to protect people in bike lanes rather than plastic cones or painted lines? It would have the added benefit of keeping a lot of broken glass, nails, and other debris from the road coming into the bike lanes. Would also protect pedestrians on the sidewalk. Could encourage more people to start cycling if they felt safer.