Evaluation of the Smart Work Zone Speed Notification System

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will deploy a new system for raising the awareness of drivers approaching and traversing a long work zone of congestion and the development of queues. Systems with the same purpose have been tested in rural work zones but mostly apply to locations were backups are predictable. The new Smart Work Zone Speed Notification System (SWZSN) will follow a new approach, informing the drivers on the speed of the downstream segment, in difference to the current variable speed limit system which also detects congestion but provides advisory speeds to drivers. It is envisioned that the new system will have greater success in reducing rear-end crashes on large, urban freeway work zones. This proposal deals with the evaluation and refinement of the system which will be deployed on I-94 east of downtown Saint Paul, MN during work replacing and repairing the roadway. The proposed project will collect observations on the length, rate of growth, and speed drop at the upstream end of the work zone generated congestion, as well as perform a safety analysis for the period of the construction project. The proposed project will also provide information to MnDOT engineers describing the system's operation and assist them in modifications and improvements during the system's deployment.