The National Academies

NCHRP 17-107 [Anticipated]

Work Zone Intrusion Frequency and Characteristics

  Project Data
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Funds: $600,000
Staff Responsibility: Leslie C. Harwood
Fiscal Year: 2022

This project has been tentatively selected and a project statement (request for proposals) is expected to be available on this website. The problem statement below will be the starting point for a panel of experts to develop the project statement.

Traffic intrusions into work zones, when they occur, present a significant safety risk to construction, maintenance, and utility workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, “struck-by” crashes are a major cause of roadway construction worker deaths. Motorists are also at risk when intruding into a work zone, potentially colliding with work equipment and materials. Unfortunately, the rate at which intrusions occur, and the factors that influence that rate, are not well understood at this time. As a result, it is difficult to quantify possible benefits of intrusion mitigation strategies (e.g., use of positive protection, intrusion alarms, etc.) or determine when and where such strategies are cost-effective. Recent advancements in sensor technology (such as 360-degree Lidar, thermal cameras, machine vision, and others) now allow vehicle trajectories to be tracked and could be used to monitor work zones and systematically collect intrusion data. Research is needed to determine which technologies are best suited for this purpose, and then to quantify and characterize intrusions that occur into work zones when using that technology.

The objectives of this research are to (1) perform an assessment of the technologies and methods available to detect work zone intrusions; (2) use appropriate technologies and methods to collect data on work zone intrusion frequency and characteristics at a sampling of work zones nationally; and (3) develop predictive models and methods to estimate intrusion likelihood as a function of key roadway, traffic, and work zone variables based on the collected data to improve work zone safety management decision-making.

Current regulation (23 CFR 630 subpart K) requires consideration and management of road user and worker safety in work zones. The processes, procedures, and/or guidance shall address the use of positive protection devices, exposure control measures, other traffic control measures including uniformed law enforcement officers, and the safe entry/exit of work vehicles onto/from the travel lanes. Data on actual intrusions is urgently needed to assist agencies in making work zone safety management decisions.


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