Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 48-08. Connected Work Zones - Integrating Technology into Work Zones, Vehicles, and Equipment to Improve Worker, Driver, Pedestrian, and Bicycle Safety

Significant research, development and testing have been invested into safe, automated vehicle, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) technologies. Roadside construction and maintenance projects can be used to immediately test and enhance these technologies, improve internal work zone safety, reduce work zone crashes, and provide other safety and management benefits. V2V, V2I, and V2P technologies can be combined to create work zones where worker roll-over deaths from dump trucks, rollers, and other equipment are avoided, where alarms for vehicle-to-work zone intrusion are provided in time for employees to take refuge, and where productivity increases. Additionally this technology might be able to be used beyond the “internal work zone” and include areas peripheral to moving maintenance operations such as snowplow/snow blower echelons, sweeper trains, etc. to provide a warning to the traffic queue, pedestrians, or bicyclists behind these operations. These are zones of high incident risk, and there have been advances in warning technology in the recent past. The extent that these technologies are being adopted and implemented by departments of transportation (DOTs) is unknown. The purpose of this synthesis is to gather information on current practices, identify effective practices, and determine technology availability for connected work zone systems that integrate technology into work zones, vehicles, and equipment to communicate enhanced-precision location information to connected devices that provide visual, auditory, and haptic feedback to prevent work zone incidents and improve work zone safety by leveraging connected maintenance vehicles, equipment, and workers. The core of what is to be studied is the connection/communication from erratic vehicles to directly to workers (and other individuals potentially in harm’s way) in real time. This may include work vehicles in the work zone. The study will also identify any barriers to implementing a connected work zone system to improve worker/driver safety. Information from this synthesis could be used to help agencies implement connected work zone systems if the state of the practice and technology are deployable. The results of the synthesis could also lead to a research project for further deployment, such as developing and testing equipment and applications for work zones to provide a proof-of-concept and validation environment for the greater automated vehicle, V2V, V2I, and V2P technologies before they are deployed en masse. The synthesis will include a literature review and surveys and interviews to gather information from North American transportation and transit agencies, equipment and vehicle manufacturers, computer application developers, and professional organizations in North America, Europe, and Japan. A possible configuration or example of a connected work zone system could be as follows: (1) Secure communication and application technology so they do not provide an intrusion point for nefarious purposes or create security and safety vulnerabilities. (2) Position (x,y,z) accuracy increased with the deployment of one or more known points and wireless communications throughout the work zone. (3) Display screens mounted in vehicles and equipment with a two-step sequence required to authorize movement when the application senses an imminent worker, pedestrian, bicyclist, or another vehicle/equipment collision. (4) Smartphone or dedicated device apps to communicate with workers and provide early danger alerts. (5) Wireless communication with passing motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.; lidar to detect those not yet equipped with V2I or V2V equipment; and supplemental audible/visual warnings. (6) Geofencing to identify work zone boundaries and alerts for boundary penetration. (7) Management functions to automate creating time, attendance, equipment use, and production records.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 48-08

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

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

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Williams, Jon

  • Start Date: 20160509
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40817

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01598984
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 48-08
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 11 2016 1:00AM