Data Collection Needs for Work Zone IncidentsAuthor/Presenter: Washburn, Scott S.; Carrick, Grady T.
Roadway construction has become a common fixture in our daily travels. According to the Federal Highway Administration, fatalities in highway work zones were up nearly 50% between 1997 and 2003. In 2003 alone, there were 41,000 injuries and 1,028 fatalities in these locations. Increasingly, safety interests are searching for characteristics associated with work zones that contribute to the dangers of such areas. Like many aspects of traffic safety, a better understanding of the contributing factors in crashes can potentially lead to improved countermeasures. Examining crash data is a principal method by which engineers, police, and safety advocates attempt to determine those factors, but such data are often incomplete. This research effort improves the work zone crash data set through the creation of a supplemental data collection system. Using qualitative research, work zone stakeholders provide a better understanding of work zone incidents, rendering new data elements. With the newly created data elements, a web-based supplemental collection system was developed to assist police in gathering the data while completing the current traffic crash report. Supplemental data elements and collection systems have the potential to enrich the data set, and bolster the cause of safety.