On the Radar: National Guidelines for Work Zone Safety

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Efforts are being made to launch a Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) project to develop national guidelines for work zone safety.

To date, 18 funding partners have committed to this initiative. Any additional agencies interested in contributing may contact Sarah Wells. Committed funding partners will be invited to appoint a representative to the project steering committee.   

The project, advanced by the Road Safety Standing Committee and endorsed by the Chief Engineers’ Council, would develop a synthesis of best practices based on available municipal and provincial work zone effective practices for driver, worker, and vulnerable road user safety, as well as national guidelines for work zone safety.


Road user expectations and workload play a significant role in work zone safety performance. However, current work zone safety policies, regulations, and practices vary significantly by jurisdiction across Canada. Issues specific to vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are often neglected or not fully addressed.

National guidelines would assist Canadian agencies and their contractors to create work zones that are safe for both workers and the general public, with explicit consideration of vulnerable road users.  Given the interconnectivity of Canadian and U.S. transportation systems, these guidelines should also take into account work zone practices in nearby U.S. states.

This projects aims to:

  • Create a synthesis of current work zone safety practices in Canada in terms of traffic management planning, incident management and documentation, accommodating vulnerable road users, conducting work zone road safety audits, and accessing management control/detours.
  • Create a synthesis of international work zone best practices across various zones, seasons and operating conditions.
  • Assess the differences and potential enhancements of current work zone safety practices in Canada relative to international best practices.
  • Create a national work zone safety guide integrating national and international best practices across various zones, seasons and operating conditions.

Current funding partners for this project include Alberta Transportation, Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, New Brunswick Transportation and Infrastructure, Newfoundland and Labrador Transportation and Works, the Northwest Territories Department of Transportation, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Prince Edward Island Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, le Ministère des Transports du Québec, Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure, Yukon Highways and Public Works, ATS Traffic Group, and the cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Toronto and Winnipeg.