The Michigan Department of Transportation and the Automotive Safety Council are trying out orange safety markings in the Flex Route Project construction zone along Interstate 96 in Novi. The organizations are interested in the effects of the orange markings on both drivers and driver-assistance technology.

The Michigan Department of Transportation and the Automotive Safety Council are trying out orange safety markings in the Flex Route Project construction zone along Interstate 96 in Novi. The organizations are interested in the effects of the orange markings on both drivers and driver-assistance technology.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


State pilots new safety road markings on I-96

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published October 13, 2022

 Drivers approaching Kent Lake Road on eastbound Interstate 96 in Lyon Township encounter the new orange safety markings in the construction zone.

Drivers approaching Kent Lake Road on eastbound Interstate 96 in Lyon Township encounter the new orange safety markings in the construction zone.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

NOVI — Those traveling down Interstate 96 between Kent Lake Road and Interstate 275 might have noticed some orange markings on the road as they entered and exited the construction zone. The Michigan Department of Transportation has partnered with the Automotive Safety Council to test the markings during the Flex Route Project construction.

“MDOT is working with industry partners and the public road users to determine if orange markings help to improve safety from both a technical and a human perspective,” said Diane Cross, MDOT’s media representative.

According to a press release, the Automotive Safety Council is looking to better understand if using orange lane markings will allow advanced driver assistance systems to differentiate from the current white and yellow road markings, as well as crack sealing and areas that have had grinding.

“If orange lane marking recognition is found to be valuable, areas of sealing and grinding that cause artificial intelligence (AI) systems confusion could be avoided,” the Automotive Safety Council stated in a press release.

Orange edge and lane lines have been placed along the shifting transition sections of I-96 in the area of the project. The placement will allow MDOT to study the effect and determine the perception of drivers who use this stretch of road daily, the release states.

“Orange lane markings could be a potential work zone safety measure that would increase driver awareness and safety within work zones,” the Automotive Safety Council stated.

Cross said that MDOT is continuing to look for innovative ways to provide a safer environment for both those who use the road and for construction workers. She said that MDOT will not have results from the experiment until testing is completed within a month or two.

MDOT and the Automotive Safety Council recently completed a survey of drivers who travel on eastbound I-96 between Kent Lake Road and I-275. The survey provided feedback from drivers on their experiences navigating through the work zone.   

Katy Dinkelman, the principal of Village Oaks Elementary School in Novi, said she drives by the markings every day on her way to work from Brighton. She said she had no idea what they were at first, but said she didn’t think too much of it as (MDOT) keeps changing the road in that area as part of the construction project.

“I thought it was interesting. They almost look like they are textured orange stripes,” Dinkelmann said. “I had no idea (what the markings were initially). I was like, ‘Why are these things on the ground?’”

Cross said officials received a “great response” to the survey and that they should have results of the survey in early November.