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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > April 2005 > QuickZone 2.0 Offers Improved Work Zone Planning
April 2005Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-025

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QuickZone 2.0 Offers Improved Work Zone Planning

A new and improved version of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) QuickZone software offers highway agencies and others an even more effective tool for work zone planning. First released in 2002, QuickZone has been used by State and local highway agencies and construction contractors as a work zone delay impact analysis tool. The Microsoft Excel©-based software compares the traffic impacts for work zone mitigation strategies and estimates the costs, traffic delays, and potential backups associated with these impacts. These costs and delays can be estimated for both an average day of work and for the entire life cycle of construction.

The program's revamped output statistics allow the user to quickly identify and zero in on problem work zones.

Among the applications QuickZone has been used for are to evaluate proposed changes to lane closure schedules during construction, identify work that could be scheduled during nighttime hours, explore the feasibility of completely closing a road during construction, and to schedule work around seasonal traffic demands.

QuickZone 2.0 incorporates new features that users have requested and reflects lessons learned from both simple and complex applications of earlier versions of the software. The new features include:

  • Improved two-way, one-lane operations modeling, including modeling of flagger operations. “The inclusion of modeling capabilities for flagger operations is a significant change for Version 2.0,” says Deborah Curtis of FHWA.
  • Improved ability to model more complex projects, including those that may have multiple work zones, with different work occurring in each work zone at various times. The program’s revamped output statistics allow the user to quickly identify and zero in on problem work zones.
  • Enhanced detour modeling, including tracking of increased travel time on long detour routes.

Version 2.0 also includes a wider variety of performance measures that users can track, graph, and analyze. The key measures that users can choose from include length of total mainline queue, total mainline delay in vehicle hours, total passenger car costs, total travel time in minutes, and detour delay costs. Among other applications, these key measures can be compared against the conditions before construction.

QuickZone users include the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which used the software to evaluate the feasibility of fully closing a section of I-40 east of Knoxville to perform needed road work. When it became clear that traffic congestion would likely be significant, QuickZone was also used to further analyze the predicted impacts and identify options for managing the traffic to prevent lengthy delays.

The Maryland State Highway Administration used QuickZone to perform an analysis of evening road closures for its ongoing replacement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge outside of Washington, DC. During one phase of the project, nighttime road closures were planned (from midnight until 4 a.m.). When the road work began, it became clear that the limited hours for road closures were insufficent when coupled with the required set-up and take-down time. QuickZone was used by project engineers to analyze multiple scenarios for extending the lane closure duration time and the number of lanes closed. The analysis showed that there would be little difference in the impact to drivers if the road closures began at 9 p.m. and the lane opening time was extended to 5 a.m. The contractor made these changes to the schedule, reducing the duration of this phase of the project from an estimated 6 months to 2 months.

FHWA’s Federal Lands Highways Division is currently working with Glacier National Park in Montana on how QuickZone can be used to help plan the reconstruction of the park’s popular Going-to-the-Sun Road. Completed in 1932 and often called one of the most scenic roads in North America, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is a National Historic Landmark. “This spectacular road is a major reason people go to the park,” says Curtis. “QuickZone will aid in balancing the demands of reconstruction with the need to preserve access to the park.”

QuickZone 2.0 will be available for purchase from the McTrans Center, 800-226-1013 or 352-392-0378 (mctrans.ce.ufl.edu), or PCTrans, 785-864-2599 (www.kutc.ku.edu/cgiwrap/kutc/pctrans/index.php). Current users of Version 1.0 will receive a free upgrade. For more information about QuickZone, contact Deborah Curtis at FHWA, 202-493-3267 (email: deborah.curtis@fhwa.dot.gov).

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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