The National Academies

NCHRP 10-109 [Active]

Modern Solutions to Safe and Efficient Work Zone Travel

  Project Data
Funds: $600,000
Staff Responsibility: C. Crichton-Sumners
Research Agency: Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Principal Investigator: Mike Mollenhauer
Effective Date: 5/4/2021
Completion Date: 5/2/2024
Comments: Research in progress.

Annually, hundreds of lives are lost in crashes within the vicinity of roadway construction and maintenance work zones (ARTBA, 2020). Traveling motorists routinely fail to identify and react judiciously to warning signs associated with maintenance of traffic in highway work zones. Smart work zone technologies use innovative strategies to minimize work zone crashes and technological applications to dynamically manage work zones. Further, there are new approaches being tested and used across the country to effectively alert or warn motorists to comply with the work zone traffic control information. These include the use of new and innovative technologies for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) for dynamic management of work zone traffic impacts such as queue and speed management as well as crowdsourcing applications that provide guidance to travelers. Data collection techniques involve the use of cellular location data and feedback to monitor traffic queuing and suggest alternate routes. Research is needed to identify best practices in leveraging technology to assist the traveling public in navigating roadway maintenance or construction work zones.
The objectives of this research are to: (1) evaluate innovative and adaptive technologies that are attention-capturing and enhance work zone safety and mobility; (2) evaluate the use of crowdsourcing applications and data analytics for dynamic work zone devices and in-vehicle notifications for traffic management; and (3) develop a guide for the application and management of innovative work zone technologies.
The research plan will: (1) include a kick-off web conference with the NCHRP  project panel convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution; (2) address the manner in which the proposer intends to satisfy the project objectives; (3) be divided logically into detailed tasks that are necessary to fulfill the research objectives and include appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; and (4) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment, and approve milestone deliverables.
At a minimum, the research plan will incorporate the following tasks.
Task 1. Conduct a literature review and practitioners’ survey that includes demonstrations and deployments applicable to the successful implementation of innovative work zone technologies—identifying case studies and best practices.
Task 2. Investigate and assess current and emerging technologies that identify work zone locations, travel speed, traffic queuing, and alternate routing in real-time (mobile applications, crowdsourcing, and roadside sensors, etc.).
Task 3. Evaluate current and emerging technologies that inform motorists of work zone conditions in real-time (in-vehicle notification, in-cab notification for commercial motor vehicles, and dynamic roadside messaging, etc.).
Task 4. Based on the findings of Task 2 and Task 3, develop a guide for improving work zone safety and mobility.

Task 5. Convene a workshop to explore the needs of state practitioners who are responsible for implementing innovative work zone technologies. Include a preliminary list of transportation and non-transportation agencies that may participate.
Task 6. Develop and implement a proof of concept on identified and pre-approved state department of transportation (DOT) projects.
Task 7. Prepare final deliverables. 

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