Road markings and cats-eyes

Learn about road markings and cats-eyes, which are used to define roads, bus and cycle lanes and traffic calming schemes.

They make routes clearer for the road users, especially in darkness or poor visibility. They also help enforce parking or loading areas and reduce damage to the side of roads.

Report a problem

You can report a problem with road markings quickly and easily online using our Highways Reporting Tool.


Cats-eyes are reflective glass lenses in metal casings that are used to mark roads in dark or foggy conditions by reflecting car headlights.

They are usually placed in the centre of a road, but are also at the edge of some roads. 

Reflective road studs

Reflective road studs are used to mark the lanes and edges of the carriageway. Each colour marks a different part of the road:

  • white studs mark the lanes or the middle of the road
  • red studs mark the left edge of the road
  • amber studs mark the central reservation of a dual carriageway or motorway
  • green studs mark the edge of the main carriageway at lay-bys and slip roads
  • green/yellow studs indicate temporary adjustments to lane layouts (e.g. where road works are taking place)

Maintenance standard

We maintain our road markings and road studs (including cats-eyes) on a rolling programme set out in the table below.

FeatureMaintenance Standard

Road markings on principal roads

All road markings will be maintained.

Road markings on non-principal roads

The following road markings will be maintained:

  • stop and give way markings
  • markings associated with traffic orders
  • double line systems
  • warning markings
  • slow markings

Other markings will only be renewed if they are still required, after being covered by resurfacing work, or there is another identified need.

Road markings in conservation areas

Lines will be narrow and primrose colour where required.

Road studs on principal roads

All road studs are to be maintained.

Road studs on non-principal roads

Road studs (including cats eyes) associated with double line systems and other mandatory markings (e.g. diagonal lines or chevrons edged by solid white lines), will be maintained as required.


Any loose road studs will be made safe.

Other road studs will only be maintained following resurfacing, and in response to specific hazards.

If there is a problem with road markings or studs on a trunk road please contact Highways England on 0300 123 5000.