Work Zone Speed Management StudyAbstract:
On June 26, 2021, the 2021 Laws of Minn., 1st SS, Chap. 5, Art. 4, Sec. 139 was passed requiring the Commissioners of Transportation and Public Safety to perform a work zone speed management study. While the law refers to a work zone speed management study, the scope of the study indicates much more than the management of speeds in work zones. The language suggests that the overarching goal of the study is to improve worker safety, with the management of speeds being one of many methods to do so.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) collaborated to convene a task force to respond to this request. HDR Engineering, Inc. was contracted to conduct research and prepare the study. The scope of this study included four main elements:
(1) Evaluate existing legal authority for strategies, practices, and methods to reduce vehicle speeds and enhance worker safety in work zones, which may include, but is not limited to, use of traffic control devices, use of barriers, traffic control design modifications, and speed enforcement actions;
(2) Propose a process for contractors operating in a work zone that allows contractors to request modifications to a project’s traffic control plan, in order to reduce vehicle speeds or improve worker safety in a work zone;
(3) Make recommendations on changes to current policies and procedures related to work zone safety;
(4) Make recommendations on changes to state law to improve work zone safety.
Two of the Task Force’s recommendations are related to implementation of a Speed Safety Camera (SSC) program to manage speeds in work zones. Research has indicated public support in Minnesota for the use of Speed Safety Cameras to reduce speeds in work zones or school zones. Research has also found that SSC is effective in reducing speeding behavior; the Federal Highway Administration considers SSC as a proven safety countermeasure in improving safety through speed management. MnDOT and DPS reviewed the Task Force recommendations for the SSC pilot project and refined it to the agencies’ recommendations. The goal of the SSC pilot project is to validate the parameters and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. This recommendation requires action by the legislature. If the pilot project yielded a successful proof of concept, a permanent SSC program may be pursued. The agencies believe that SSC would be one of the most effective methods to manage speeds in work zones discussed in this study.
Publication Date: February 2022
Full Text URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Countermeasures; Photo Enforcement; Speed Control; Temporary Traffic Control; Video Cameras; Work Zone Safety; Work Zones; Worker Safety