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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

How crash data works

Looking for Portland crash data?
Vision Zero Traffic Crash Report 2018: includes data and trends about recent deadly crashes
Vision Zero crash map: interactive map of the latest available crash data
High Crash Network: streets and intersections where many crashes occur
ODOT (state): not Portland-specific, but provides both summary reports and provides data upon request

The Portland Bureau of Transportation uses crash data to understand how and where people are hurt or killed while traveling on Portland streets.

This page describes which crashes are captured in the crash record, how crash information is collected, and what Vision Zero is doing related to crash data. There are two key points: (1) most crash data relies on self-reported information, and (2) not all traffic deaths are included in the official record.

Which crashes get captured in crash data?

Property damage only: crash reports required if the crash involves a motor vehicle and damage is at least $2,500.

Injuries: crash reports required for all crashes involving a motor vehicle that result in injuries (no matter how minor).

Deaths: crash reports required for most crashes involving a motor vehicle that result in death. In accordance with criteria from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American National Standards Institute (also followed by the Oregon Department of Transportation), data excludes people who die:

  • More than 30 days after a crash,
  • Intentionally (suicide),
  • In an act of homicide (a person intentionally crashes into another person),
  • In a crash not involving a motor vehicle,
  • From a prior medical event (e.g. a heart attack or drug overdose), or
  • In a crash in a parking lot

PBOT reports only deaths that meet NHTSA criteria, but uses all available data to inform safety fixes.

Crash data sources

There are typically between 10,000 and 12,000 reported crashes in Portland each year. The Oregon Department of Transportation compiles information about these crashes to create the state’s official crash record.

ODOT releases the complete official crash record 12 to 16 months after the end of the year reported. For example, 2016 crash data was made available in May of 2018.

For deadly crash data, PBOT uses information provided directly by the Portland Police Bureau. This allows for the most up-to-date information about traffic deaths.

For national comparisons, PBOT uses data from the Federal Highway Administration. The FHWA compiles records from official crash records from around the nation. The national record has a longer lag between the end of the reported year and when data is available.

ODOT compiles the official crash record using two sources of information: self-reporting and traffic crash investigations.

1. Self-reported crash data

Self-reported crashes are the sole source of information for most crashes in the official record.

In Oregon, crash participants are required to submit the Oregon Accident and Insurance Report form to the DMV if the event involves direct contact with a motor vehicle and there is an injury, death, or at least $2,500 in property damage.

2. Police investigations

The second source of data is the Portland Police Bureau. Police investigations complement self-reported data by providing more information (e.g. on impairment) gathered via independent trained personnel. (View the DMV form that police use.)

The Portland Police Bureau investigates only the most serious crashes:

  • Portland Police investigate crashes involving people walking, biking, or e-scootering if they are involved in a crash with a person driving and are transported in an ambulance.
  • If there is not a person walking, biking, or e-scootering involved, police investigate a crash if a crash participant is entered into the trauma system by an emergency responder while on-scene.

The Portland Police Bureau's Major Crash Team conducts the most comprehensive crash investigations. Officers activate the MCT when people die or suffer injuries that are judged likely to result in death. 


Vision Zero actions related to traffic crash data

Portland's Vision Zero Action Plan includes five actions related to crash data:

EA.4: Regularly cross-check trauma data from the Oregon Health Authority against Oregon Department of Transportation crash data to identify demographic patterns (age, race/ethnicity), geographic patterns, and misreporting or under-reporting of serious injury crashes

EA.5: Improve timeliness of deadly and serious crash data processing and reporting

EA.6: Include review of traffic crash data, equity data, and traffic safety performance at monthly Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division meetings

EA.8: Secure increased funding and personnel to staff timely investigation of deadly crashes

EA.9: Improve data collection on speed, impairment, and distraction at serious and deadly crashes

Note: PBOT uses ODOT’s definition of "serious injury," also called "incapacitating" or "major" injury: A non-fatal injury that prevents the injured person from walking, driving, or normally continuing the activities the person was capable of performing before the injury occurred.