Deployment and Evaluation of ITS Technology in Work ZonesAuthor/Presenter: Bushman, Rob; Klashinsky, Rod
Highways in rural areas where construction work is taking place experience many of the same traffic problems that are being experienced by large urban areas such as congestion, delays, aggressive driving, and road rage. The effects may be felt even more in construction areas since the problem is concentrated in a smaller area and takes place in locations where motorists are accustomed to a greater degree of mobility. In 2001, more than 1000 fatalities occurred in work zones, with many occurring in the transition area leading up to the actual construction site. Just as ITS is being applied to relieve traffic problems in urban areas, ITS technology is also being used in work zones to provide smoother, safer, and more efficient traffic flow. The Lane Merger system is one example of ITS technology designed specifically for work zone applications. When construction forces the reduction from two lanes to one lane, drivers are forced to merge into a single lane. Some aggressive drivers stay in the lane that is closed until the final taper before merging into the continuous lane where flow is often uneven, entrance gaps are small, and drivers in the continuous lane are less inclined to cooperation. The result is increased accident potential, disruptions in traffic flow, driver irritation, and increased delays for drivers in the continuous lane. The Lane Merger creates a dynamic “No Passing” zone in advance of the construction area that advises motorists to merge early. The system changes as traffic condition changes so that it is always relevant to the current driving conditions. A study recently completed by Wayne State University in Michigan showed that the Lane Merger was beneficial in reducing aggressive driving, reducing travel time delay, and decreasing traffic stops and duration of stops. It was also shown to have a favorable benefit to cost comparison. The Lane Merger is one example of ITS in work zones that has been developed, deployed, and proven successful. Other applications have also emerged such as variable speed limit and travel information systems that provide regulations and information that are based on the current conditions and are relevant and believable to drivers.
Publication Date: 2003
Full Text URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Books, Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Intelligent Transportation Systems; Merging Control; Reckless Driving; Rural Highways; Variable Speed Limit Systems; Work Zones