Consider deploying ITS in a work zone to improve traffic safety and mobility during construction.
Arkansas' experience using ITS in work zones.
The objective of adding AWIS to these extensive work zones was to improve the safety and mobility of the travelers and to reduce crashes. The complete system of monitoring equipment included: Dynamic Message Signs (DMS), video cameras, detection sensors, Highway Advisory Radio (HAR), and a website that provided traffic speeds through the work zones. The main areas of evaluation for the work zone encompassed safety, mobility, and productivity as well as the impact on travelers and construction workers. The AHTD shares the following experiences with other implementers should they consider deploying ITS in a work zone.
- Maintain flexibility when deploying ITS in highly variable environments. Arkansas' effort to reconstruct and repair more than 350 miles of roadway was a large, complex undertaking (including seven separate projects by two contractors) with a constantly changing configuration. As a result, the calibration of ITS became an important issue and required one full-time employee devoted exclusively to maintaining all sensors.
- Realize that ITS is just one part of a successful work zone management plan. ITS is only one part of a work zone management plan. ITS components can be instrumental in improving the safety of a work zone; however, it is not a cure all for eliminating the traveler’s exposure to hazards that a work zone imposes. Based on the Arkansas' experience, ITS helped reduce the number of crashes, but crashes, including fatal ones, were not fully avoided.
- Recognize variability in work zone system requirements for all affiliated parties. For example, the emergency dispatchers' use and requirements for the system are very different from those of the contractors. A detailed study of user requirements coupled with revised operating procedures may enhance the system’s capabilities to improve safety and mobility.
- Advertise work zone web site to a greater audience through various media. The evaluation of the Arkansas construction projects found that there is a high level of satisfaction experienced by work zone ITS web site users in comparison to the low level of the number of users. A more targeted advertising campaign may reach a larger audience.
- Use ITS in the work zone to enhance the safety performance of the highway. The construction workers within the construction zones felt that the ITS components deployed improved the safety of both the workers and the travelers.
This lesson suggests that an agency preparing to implement a work zone should consider the impacts it will have on the workers and travelers and consider adding an ITS component to the work zone management plan. Agencies need to understand that implementing ITS components will not eliminate crashes, but they can have an impact on reducing the number of crashes and providing sufficient information for travelers to make educated travel decisions. A work zone that deploys ITS components in a system similar to the AWIS will improve the safety and mobility of the work zone and provide a higher level of satisfaction to the traveling public.
Published By: FHWA
Source Date: October 2008
EDL Number: 14419
Other Reference Number: FHWA-HOP-09-002URL: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/its/index.htm#its
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