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.
STATUS: Research underway.