Use of drone radar, safety intrusion alarms, and CB Wizard in work zones
16 units of drone radar were used statewide in Virginia. They were not perceived to be very effective as a speed control measure. A disadvantage was that project personnel had to keep them charged and moved around on the project so motorists would not get used to the detectors going off at the same location without seeing a police presence. The device has been used in rural stationary construction zones, and a research report is available from Virginia Tech on its effectiveness. There are no established guidelines on the use of the device. Comments: Prior to the distribution and use of drone radar, a meeting was held with the Virginia State Police and project personnel to coordinate the periodic presence of police on the project when the drones were in use so that motorists would not be sure if police were there or not when detectors went off . Although radar detectors are illegal in Virginia, they realize that motorists from other states who have them do not disconnect them. The purpose of the deployment was to try to reduce the higher speeds of those who did use them while traveling through a highway construction zone. Overall speeds were reduced by 2 to 3 mph in the study that was conducted in one district.
Virginia DOT has used both electrical and mechanical safety intrusion alarms in work zones, but did not find them at all effective. After a few false alarms, workers did not pay attention to them any more. Field trials years ago showed that the working crews were not positive about the use of safety intrusion alarms. Comments: VDOT requires the use of a shadow vehicle with a TMA behind the work crew, which reduces the need for an alarm.
VDOT has used CB Wizard Alert System in rural work zones (stationary construction zones/maintenance zones/mobile operations) and found them very effective. The Bristol district has been using the CB Wizard for a few years, and reported positive comments from truckers by monitoring CB conversations. VDOT has since purchased three additional units for use statewide. There are no established policies or guidelines at this time.