Assessment of Advanced Warning Signs for Flagging OperationsAuthor/Presenter: Cottrell, Benjamin H.; Jones, Steven L.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and several other state departments of transportation have expressed interest in modifying the advanced warning sign for work zone flagging operations. The advanced warning sign is intended to alert drivers to the presence of flaggers to prepare drivers to stop (if necessary) prior to reaching work zones. The current or existing flagger sign depicts a symbol of a worker holding a flag; the proposed sign depicts a worker holding a STOP/SLOW paddle. The purpose of this research project was to assess and compare the motoring public’s understanding of the existing and proposed advanced warning signs for work zone flagging operations. The study consisted of a literature review and a survey of motorists. More than 4,500 multiple-choice surveys were mailed out to randomly selected Virginia residents. Open-ended questionnaires were also distributed to select groups to provide a comparison with the multiple-choice responses. The survey results indicated that the proposed sign was for the most part understood by Virginia drivers and appeared to be effective at conveying its message. This study recommends that (1) VDOT ask FHWA to allow the use of the proposed sign work zone operations throughout Virginia, and (2) VDOT, along with others, petition FHWA to add the proposed sign to the MUTCD.