Speed display trailers can reduce average vehicle speeds by 5 mi/hr and decrease the number of vehicles traveling at excessive speeds in rural work zones.

An evaluation of work zone safety technologies in Texas.

Childress; Texas; United States

Summary Information

This project summary report highlighted the findings of a two-year project that evaluated the impacts of work zone safety technologies deployed at multiple high-speed rural work zones in Texas, within TxDOT's Childress District. During the first year of operations (September 1998 to August 1999) a combination of several technologies were evaluated at nine different highway maintenance work zones. During the second year (September 1999 to August 2000), the most effective technologies were redeployed and evaluated at eight additional work zones. The analysis considered traffic speeds, the number of vehicle conflicts, and worker and driver comments.

Researchers highlighted the following three technologies and provided recommendations for their deployment.

Speed display trailers
    Reduced the average speed by 5 mi/hr in work zones

    Reduced percentage of vehicles exceeding the speed limit

    Positive worker comments

    Speed display trailers should be considered when there are concerns about speed limit compliance or safety at a site.
Portable dynamic message signs (DMS)
    When DMS were active, the number of cars in the closed lane 1000 feet upstream from the lane closure taper decreased by 50 percent. The number of late merges and sudden braking maneuvers near the work zone taper also decreased.

    When DMS were active, there was a 1 to 2 mi/hr reduction in average speed.
    Portable DMS should be considered when there is a lane closure on a high-speed facility.
Fluorescent yellow-green worker garments.
    Fluorescent yellow-green garments had greater luminance (brightness) than orange garments and were more visible than orange garments against common work zone backgrounds.
    Worker should be equipped with fluorescent yellow-green vests.


For more detailed information see the related year-one and year-two project reports.

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Use of Innovative Traffic Control Devices to Improve Safety at Short-Term Rural Work Zones

Author: Fontaine, M., P. Carlson, and G. Hawkins

Published By: Texas DOT

Prepared by the Texas Transportation Institute for the Texas DOT

Source Date: 2000



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Goal Areas


Typical Deployment Locations

Rural Areas, Statewide


smart work zone systems, automated enforcement, smart work zone, smart work zones, Smart work zone, Smart work zones, workzone, WZ

Benefit ID: 2007-00331