Work Zone Safety: Physical and Behavioral Barriers in Accident PreventionAuthor/Presenter: Long, Suzanna; Smith, Brian K.; Ng, Ean H.; Sun, Carlos
This report discusses the usefulness of creating a work zone traffic safety culture as a methodology to improve the overall safety of both work zone personnel and the traveling public in Missouri. As part of this research, the existing MoDOT Work Zone Rating Survey was analyzed and augmented to collect public perception of work zone safety, historical data on work zone crashes were evaluated to identify trends that are particular to, and attributes that are associated with severe crashes were identified. Results from the existing Work Zone Rating survey show a difference in stakeholder perceptions regarding the adequacy of work zone warning signs and the safety level in traveling through work zones. Based on survey responses from current MoDOT employees, existing work zone warning signage and guidance (barrels, cones, and striping) are adequate to protect the driving public and are in accordance with the MoDOT Temporary Traffic Control Elements. However, responses from the general public reveal that a plurality of respondents perceived that the warning signs were insufficient in terms of information provided, provided inaccurate information, or were wrongly placed. An evaluation of crash data shows that there is not an elevated risk in work zones when compared to non-work zones. Fatal and severe crashes occur more frequently when roadway conditions were dark or involved multiple vehicle interactions. Contributing circumstances in work zone crashes involving vehicle interactions suggest that human factors are key risk elements. Solutions to mitigate fatal or severe crashes should include stakeholder education, higher enforcement and legislation designed to minimize distracted driving, and engineering solutions designed to increase driver awareness.