Effectiveness of Work Zone Transportation Management Plan (TMP) Strategies

In 2010 there were 87,606 crashes in work zones. Between 2006 and 2010, an average of 761 people died and more than 37,000 people were injured each year as a result of motor vehicle crashes in work zones. During that same period an average of 114 highway construction workers died and more than 20,000 workers were injured in road construction work zones each year (Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Work Zone Safety and Mobility Program). Construction work zones on freeways are estimated to account for nearly 24% of non-recurring delay. In order to reduce these crashes and delays, and their resulting negative effects on lives and the economy, a better understanding of the effectiveness of work zone transportation management strategies is needed. A better understanding of the effectiveness of different strategies will enable designers to develop project designs, traffic control plans, and transportation management plans (TMPs) that will (a) allow for the safe, effective, and economical maintenance of traffic through work zones; and (b) reduce or eliminate negative consequences to regional mobility and the economy. A TMP consists of a set of coordinated strategies that are implemented to manage the work zone impacts of a road construction project without unreasonably compromising project constructability. TMPs outline specific strategies to be employed that will help achieve project goals associated with traffic mobility, the safety of motorists and construction workers, and other operational targets during the construction period. TMPs are used to clearly define and communicate the comprehensive plan for construction project management to internal state department of transportation (state department of transportation (DOT)) staff, contractors, the public, and the media. Many TMP strategies have been implemented by state DOTs, but practitioners and researchers are often uncertain of their relative effectiveness. Practitioners could develop more effective and more economical TMPs if they have appropriate data on the effectiveness of TMP strategies that are available for a given project. Effectiveness information could improve practitioners' understanding of which TMP strategies are most likely to improve work zone safety and mobility in various circumstances, and where, when, and how to implement particular strategies to maximize their effectiveness. TMP strategy information included in existing guidance documents, typically, lacks necessary detail and contains more general information such as descriptions of strategies, suggestions of situations where a strategy may be applicable, and general information on possible benefits and challenges. While this information provides basic information, it stops short of compiling and analyzing the results of existing studies or of evaluating the effectiveness of each strategy based on field experience. Existing research indicates that assessing the effectiveness of TMP strategies is feasible and is being conducted--to some degree--by state DOTs. The types of evaluation activities being performed by state DOTs appear to vary in type and scope; the most common is research on the use and effectiveness of a specific strategy under specific conditions. The most commonly evaluated strategies are various traffic control devices, followed by intelligent transportation systems (ITS), speed management approaches, queue management methods, and the use of portable changeable message signs. Both qualitative and quantitative data sources are useful in evaluating the effectiveness of a TMP strategy. In addition to quantitative data, the selection of TMP strategies may also be based on qualitative factors, (e.g., practitioner knowledge of the strategy or location, past experience). State DOT practices vary considerably with respect to what they consider when they select strategies to include in a TMP. Differences exist in (1) the methods used to deploy a strategy, (2) how--or if--data are collected to measure the effectiveness of a strategy, (3) the types of data collected, (4) data analysis methods, and (5) information sharing within an agency. There are no standard approaches or rules-of-thumb for identifying which strategies to use on a project. A nationwide effort to combine or share the evaluation results among practitioners is needed. Synthesizing the results of TMP strategy evaluations that states have performed, and completing additional evaluations to determine strategy effectiveness, will enable work zone practitioners to better understand the effects of implementing specific TMP strategies on different work zones and will help practitioners to select more effective and economical TMP strategies. The objectives of this research are to produce (1) a guidebook to assist work zone practitioners on selecting the most effective and cost efficient TMP strategies to implement in a particular construction setting, and (2) a compilation of relevant but unpublished reports prepared by transportation agencies that evaluated the effectiveness of various TMP strategies. The guidebook at a minimum should reflect road type, project type, traffic conditions, and geographic conditions, and it should be presented in a user-friendly format that may include matrices and/or fact sheets. The compilation of relevant reports should provide the full text of each document collected. Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks: PHASE 1: (1) Conduct a critical review of existing literature related to TMPs with an emphasis on methods to evaluate the effectiveness of TMP strategies and the results of evaluations. Domestic information should be prioritized, augmented by international information that may be applicable to U.S. conditions. (2) Assess the current state of practice including how frequently individual TMP strategies have been implemented by state DOTs and other transportation agencies, and the extent to which strategy effectiveness has been assessed using quantitative and/or qualitative methods. (3) Analyze and synthesize the evaluations of TMP strategy effectiveness completed by state DOTs or other transportation agencies. (4) Recommend a list of TMP strategies on which to conduct effectiveness evaluations. (5) Prepare a detailed work plan for Phase 2 that includes conducting effectiveness evaluations of selected TMP strategies that may include qualitative as well as quantitative data sources. To the extent that data is to be collected from active work zones, the work zones should reflect a diversity of road types, project types, traffic conditions, and geographic conditions in more than one state. (6) Prepare an interim report that contains the results of Tasks 1-5. The interim report should also include preliminary outlines of the proposed guidebook and the compilation of unpublished reports. PHASE 2: (7) Implement the approved work plan developed in Task 5.(8) Recommend a list of TMP strategies to be addressed in the final guidebook. Collectively these strategies should be applicable to a diversity of road types, project types, traffic conditions, and geographic conditions. (9) Prepare updated, detailed annotated outlines of the final guidebook and the compilation of relevant, unpublished literature to be submitted to NCHRP for approval prior to the development of the draft guidebook and the draft literature collection. (10) Prepare the guidebook and compilation of relevant unpublished report. (11) Prepare the final research report that documents the conduct of the research. This research report should include an executive summary that outlines the research results and recommendation of additional, prioritized research needs.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $750000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 03-111

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Sundstrom, Lori

  • Performing Organizations:

    KLS Engineering

    45155 Research Place, Suite 200
    Ashburn, VA  United States  20147
  • Principal Investigators:

    Boodlal, Leverson

  • Start Date: 20140624
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180724
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37723

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01545245
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 03-111
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 26 2014 1:00AM