Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersEffects of a Smart Work Zone on Motorist Route Decisions

Effects of a Smart Work Zone on Motorist Route Decisions


Traffic congestion and safety is an ongoing concern of many highway agencies when highway construction and maintenance work is necessary. An aging road infrastructure has resulted in the need for more maintenance activities, while at the same time traffic volumes continue to rise. To manage traffic more effectively in and around work zones several agencies have begun using Smart Work Zone systems. This technology measures current traffic conditions approaching the work zone and uses portable roadside signing to advise drivers of reduced speeds ahead, expected delays, and the use of alternate routes. The purpose of the system is to reduce delays and queues, reduce driver frustration, and increase driver awareness of upcoming conditions. A study was conducted of a Smart Work Zone deployment on Interstate 95 in North Carolina during the 2003 construction season to examine motorist’s preference to use an alternate route when presented with real-time traffic information. When presented with advisory information drivers have the opportunity to make an informed choice to stay on the mainline or to use an alternate route. Use of the alternate route was affected by the type of information presented, with a greater response observed when specific information on the expected delay and an alternate route were provided, when compared to just the expected delay or a generic message. During periods of congestion at the alternate route exit more drivers chose to use the alternate route than when congestion was not present. The results are important as a measure of effectiveness for Smart Work Zone deployments and to facilitate modeling and quantification of benefits.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Bushman, R
Berthelot, C
Chan, J