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.

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

Cats-eyes

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

Road markings will be maintained in accordance with the table below on a rolling programme.  Only road markings classified as a "priority" that are identified as requiring maintenance during routine safety inspections will be added to the programme as an additional instruction.  

Priority will be given to road studs which give effect to regulations, double white line systems and systems of road studs on principal "A" roads.

FeatureMaintenance Standard

Road markings

The following "priority" road markings will be maintained:

  • "Stop" and "Give Way" markings
  • markings associated with traffic regulation orders
  • double white line systems
  • warning centre line markings (Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions Legend 1004 and 1004.1)
  • markings associated with formal pedestrian crossing places (eg signalised/zebra crossings) and mini-roundabouts
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 non-principal roads

Road studs associated with double white line systems and other "priority" markings (e.g. hatching edged by solid lines) will be maintained. as required.

Any loose road studs will be made safe.

Other road studs will only be maintained following road surface treatment and in response to specific hazards.

Following a road surfacing treatment, reflective road studs will not be replaced on 30 mph roads that have a system of street lighting.