Work Zones and Travel Speeds: The Effects of Uniform Traffic Officers & Other Speed Management MeasuresAuthor/Presenter: Lee, Brian H. Y.; Azaria, Dale; Neely, Sean
Improving safety conditions in work zones, for both the workers as well as the travelers, is a major national concern, especially in light of the country’s aging transportation infrastructure that requires increasing amount of maintenance, repair, and reconstruction work. The focus of this research project is on enhanced enforcement of work zone traffic laws, with a specific emphasis on the effects of Uniform Traffic Officers (UTO) and other speed management measures on driver compliance with reduced work zone speed limits. For the purpose of this study, UTO are police officers contracted for construction projects where the road remains open to travelers. The officers are stationed in marked police vehicles with the blue lights flashing and parked within project work zones while road workers are active. Typically, UTO remain inside the police vehicles but sometimes they may be on the roadway to help direct traffic, especially when temporary lane closures are needed or interactions are expected between road workers or construction equipment and the parts of the road that are open to the public. UTO do not normally perform enforcement duties and are used primarily for their presence. The use of police officers for various forms of enforcement for speeding and other moving violations is different from the use of UTO and considered as one of the other speed management measures in this project. The goal of this work is to assess the effectiveness of UTO and other interventions on maintaining safe travel speeds and to help guide the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VAOT) in the provision of proper resource allocation for improving work zone safety.