Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 52-11. Use of Smart Work Zone Technologies for Improving the Safety of Workers and Drivers Affected by Work Zone Activity

Over the last two decades, state departments of transportation (DOTs) across the nation have been incorporating smart work zone technologies to improve their ability to manage work zones more effectively and to improve safety in work zones. Smart work zone technologies have been used in a variety of ways to reduce the impact of work zone traffic movement through queue management and route diversion as well as to improve safety. In recent years DOTs have been deploying a variety of dynamic smart technologies to improve the safety of workers within the work zone as well as drivers within and upstream of work zone activity. Examples of dynamic smart work zone technologies include lane merge systems to control vehicles merging in advance of lane closures; speed management systems within and in advance of work zones; use of portable changeable message signs for warning and speed reduction alerts; early notifications of work zone activity, and warning systems of construction equipment in the roadway. The objective of this synthesis is to document the use and effectiveness of smart work zone technologies used by state DOTs for the purpose of improving the safety of workers and drivers affected by work zone activity. Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to) use of: (1) Dynamic warning systems to provide accurate notifications to drivers and workers (e.g., queue warning, travel time through the work zone, dynamic lane merge, work zone intrusion alarm, truck entering systems); (2) Variable speed limit systems to reduce vehicular speed differential in advance of and within a work zone (e.g., radar speed feedback signs); (3) Smart technologies integrated with crowdsourcing systems to provide data for dynamic warning systems; (4) Work zone location technologies; (5) Performance measures used to determine the effectiveness of work zone technologies (e.g., metrics, crash reduction, delay reduction); (6) Measures of return on work zone technology investment used by DOTs; and (7) Data transmission issues regarding availability of cellular service and bandwidth for deploying smart work zone technologies. Information will be collected through literature review, a survey of DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 52-11

  • 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:

    Gause, Jo

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Missouri, Columbia

    Department of Civil Engineering
    Columbia, MO  United States  65211
  • Principal Investigators:

    Brown, Henry

  • Start Date: 20200924
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739534
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 52-11
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 18 2020 3:06PM