The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois (U of I) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are working to develop design guidelines for smart work zone systems.
According to a blog post from IDOT, the goal of the Illinois Center for Transportation project is to improve safety and mobility in work zones by determining when smart work zone systems are needed, how to design them, and how to ensure the systems are adequately operating.
“By providing or developing these guidelines, we’ll be able to better utilize the technology and better inform road users of traffic conditions and, ultimately, have better safety outcomes and reduce fatalities and serious injuries,” Juan Pava, IDOT’s safety program unit chief in the Bureau of Safety Programs and Engineering, said in the blog post.
The research team will also develop a tool to assess when smart work zone systems are needed on different types of projects. This tool is expected to help IDOT designers identify the need for smart work zone systems in different projects based on their specific conditions and characteristics, such as work zone length, number of lane closures, and more.
This news comes just before the annual National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), which this year takes place April 11-15, 2022. NWZAW is a campaign to encourage safe driving through highway work zones at the start of construction season.
IDOT says an average of 6,406 work zone crashes occurred each year from 2015 to 2019 in Illinois. U of I and IDOT hope the guidelines and tool will reduce frustrations at work zones by helping to quickly identify alternate routes. The project is expected to finish up next year.
More information can be found on IDOT's website.
Source: Illinois DOT