Working the Night ShiftAuthor/Presenter: Ullman, Gerald; Finley, Melisa; Ullman, Brooke
The practice of performing work-zone activities at night has been around since at least the 1960s. Early attempts at night work were initiated because officials considered it impractical to close traffic lanes on certain high-volume roadways during normal daylight hours. Early experiences indicated that the concept did indeed reduce the impact of work on the traveling public, and lower traffic volumes meant fewer conflicts between traffic and construction vehicles, making it easier to get materials to and from the work site. As recent research has documented, the decision to perform highway work at night requires the consideration of a number of interrelated factors. In essence, the benefits of doing road work at night–reduced congestion, cooler temperatures, longer allowable work windows–need to be balanced against the added costs and consequences of doing so, such as more difficult material-supply logistics, additional traffic-control costs, noise, safety and health concerns. As this recent research effort and those previously have encountered, data on the actual safety consequences of working at night is difficult to come by. As a result, it is difficult for practitioners to accurately capture and account for the true safety consequences of doing work at night.