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Arrow Innovations - Work Zone Safety and Traffic Flow Initiatives

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Techniques reduce work zone delays and decrease driver frustration

Example of relative proportions of various mix components in conventional concrete versus SCC

Work zone delays increase travel costs for motorists, disrupt deliveries of materials and products, and increase driver aggression and incidents of road rage incidents. The highway community can improve work zone traffic flow and safety by assessing work zone impact on drivers and implementing techniques to reduce the number and duration of work zones, the number of travelers affected by work zones and the severity of hazards to drivers in work zones.

The safety and traffic flow enhancement techniques highway agencies can employ supplement normal operating procedures and practices used on highway construction projects.

A simple assessment process helps gain commitment for implementing the techniques appropriate to a given work zone:

  1. Examine how each work zone is likely to affect travelers.
  2. Identify ways that the effects on travelers can be reduced while allowing the road work to be completed efficiently.
  3. Determine how much time and additional money will be necessary to implement the most beneficial strategies and techniques.

Successful implementation of appropriate techniques requires support from all agency departments and cooperation from the highway contractor and subcontractors.

Successful techniques that have been used, individually or in combination, to improve work zone traffic flow and safety include the following:

  • Using speed display trailers to notify drivers that they are exceeding posted work zone speed limits
  • Posting off-duty police officers near the work zone as a caution to drivers to slow down in the presence of work crews
  • Closing a section of road completely and bringing on extra crews to perform multiple repairs in a compressed timeframe
  • Installing special lights that flash in sequence to guide approaching motorists to merge earlier when traffic lanes are closed
  • Placing electronic information signs near the edge of the roadway to notify motorists of the travel time to key exits and allow them to make more informed travel route decisions
  • Temporarily reallocating road shoulders as driving lanes to offset lane reductions caused by construction

For More Information


Chung Eng
Team Leader, Work Zone Mobility and Safety
Office of Operation

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Chung Eng
Office of Operations

Updated: 04/04/2011

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration