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Evaluation of Work Zone Strategies and User Delay Costs Associated with Strategies and Treatments


The transportation sector is an integral part of the local, provincial and national economies.
There are three important issues, including mobility, safety and economics, which must be
considered when highway work zones are engineered. These competing issues are important to
the key parties involved in highway construction, which include the owner, the transportation
agency, hired contractor, consultants and the traveling public. To effectively assess these issues,
this research is divided into four Modules. Module One focuses on developing work zone
strategies appropriate for the construction being performed. Module Two investigates methods of
improving safety within work zones. Module Three develops a prediction model for user delay
cost while Module Four is a multi-variant decision model to assist transport agencies in
incorporating an appropriate amount of user delay cost for a given facility type.
This paper summarizes a recent research project undertaken in partnership with the Ministry of
Transportation of Ontario, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo. The paper
provides recommended practices and prediction models to improve mobility, safety and balance
the economic impacts between key parties. Through interviews with contractors, it was revealed
that they did not believe that there was any link between quality problems when specifications
were met. Serious concerns were raised concerning productivity, safety and performance of the
final product during night construction. It is also difficult to implement the work zone
configuration solely designed by the consultants. To resolve these issues, it is recommended that
a constructability analysis be carried out prior to construction.
Safety within work zones is considered paramount. The causes of such involving motorists in
work zones include unexpected congestion, duration of work zones, speed variation, work zone
layout, highway configuration, driver distraction and night work. Each consists of a visibility, a
physical limitation and a human factor issue. In terms of the construction worker, the risk is
either internal or external to the work zone. Externally, heavy vehicles are the main source of
fatalities to workers. Internally, the leading cause of death involves construction equipment and
construction vehicles. Therefore, to mitigate the likelihood of incidents occurring, it is important
to document the conditions of which it occurred. It would be desirable in police reports to
include information and proximity of a work zone if applicable. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Road Monitoring and Traveler Information System Benefits for Maintenance and Construction
Hein, K.
Ren, S.
Tighe, S.
McCabe, B.
Construction, Maintenance and operations