The National Academies

NCHRP 03-132 [Pending]

Guidance for Safe and Effective Temporary Traffic Control for Mobile Operations on Two-Lane Two-Way Roadways

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Contract Time: 18 months
Staff Responsibility: William C. Rogers

Multi-vehicle mobile operations on two-lane two-way roadways present unique challenges to highway agencies, not the least of which is the highly variable conditions encountered in the field. These conditions include the number of vehicles in the work convoy, travel speed of the work convoy, posted speeds, roadway geometry, time of day, weather, and average daily traffic on the roadway. Highway agencies are therefore challenged with developing temporary traffic control (TTC) procedures that ensure safe and effective operations under these highly variable conditions.
Highway workers face many hazards during mobile operations on two-lane roadways. From 2003 through 2015, 1,571 workers lost their lives at road construction sites (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017).  Many of these hazards are a direct result of motorists driving behaviors when encountering a work convoy.  Examples of this behavior includes erratic driving, speeding, entering the convoy, failure to follow signage (which may be due to misunderstanding traffic control devices), impatience with the delay caused by the slower speed of the mobile operation, and distracted driving.  Temporary traffic control for most mobile operations has been limited to arrow panels and static warning signs mounted on the back of work vehicles, which may be misunderstood by motorists.  Research is needed to enhance the safety of mobile operations by reducing opportunities for poor driver decisions through the use of safer and more effective temporary traffic control procedures.

The objective of this research is to develop guidance to enhance safety and effectiveness of mobile operations on two-lane, two-way roadways under variable conditions.  The guidance should address all aspects of mobile operations from planning (when to use mobile operations vs. other methods for lane closures) through implementation, and be useable by any entity involved in mobile operations.
The research should address a broad range of issues related to enhancing safety and effectiveness of mobile operations on two-lane, two-way roads, such as, but not limited to the following: 
  • Definition and classification of mobile operations by their context (e.g., type of work, extent of the work, time of day, posted speed and speed of convoy, terrain, roadway geometry, traffic volume);  
  • Summaries of the state-of-practice, both nationally and internationally, for safe and effective mobile operations on two-lane two-way roadways;  
  • Descriptions of the challenges encountered when implementing safe and effective mobile operations on two-lane two-way roadways;  
  • Recommendations for improving traffic control signage and communication consistency;  
  • Methods for adapting to differing site conditions during a single mobile operation (e.g., intersections, rail grade crossings, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, on-street parking);  
  • Techniques for reducing the potential of work zone intrusions and end of queue crashes by motor vehicle operators; and  
  • Methods used to validate the safety and effectiveness of the guidelines.  
The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.
A kick-off teleconference of the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan proposed must be divided into tasks, with each task described in detail.  There must be an interim report and a face-to-face meeting scheduled with NCHRP to discuss the interim report and a peer exchange webinar to review the draft final guidelines.  The project schedule shall include 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report.
The final deliverables will include: (1) guidance to enhance the safety and effectiveness of mobile operations on two-lane two-way roadways under variable conditions; (2) a final report documenting the entire project, incorporating all other specified deliverable products of the research; (3) an electronic presentation of the research, highlighting the guidance; (4) recommendations, needs, and priorities for additional related research; and (5) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”.

STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP. The panel will meet in January to select a contractor to perform the work.

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