Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program

Work Zone Mobility and Safety Self-Assessment Guide

Prepared for Federal Highway Administration
May 2004

Table of Contents
Section 1 Introduction and Background
Section 2 Conducting the Self-Assessment
Section 3 Scoring the Self-Assessment
Section 3.1 Assess the Adoption Phase
Section 3.2 Level of Effort
Section 3.3 Section Scoring
Section 4 Assessment Areas
Section 4.1 Leadership and Policy
Section 4.2 Project Planning and Programming
Section 4.3 Project Design
Section 4.4 Project Construction and Operation
Section 4.5 Communications and Education
Section 4.6 Program Evaluation
Appendix A Scoring Calculations

1. Introduction and Background

In 2003, there were 43,220 traffic fatalities in the United States, with 1,181 attributed to work zone crashes. Congestion and bottlenecks cause fatalities, degrade air quality, slow commerce, increase energy consumption, and threaten our quality of life.

Congestion is only going to increase. The cost of congestion in just 68 urban areas has grown from $21 billion in 1982 to $78 billion in 1999 and the average length of congested daily travel has tripled.[1] An estimated 24% of all nonrecurring congestion on freeways is due to work zone activities.[2] To meet our nation's mobility needs and adequately address growing congestion, we must share information about strategies and techniques that work.

To help states evaluate their work zone practices, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has designed the Work Zone Mobility and Safety (WZ) Self-Assessment (SA) tool. The WZ SA will help field offices assess their past work zone activities; establish a baseline of their current state of the practice; and improve strategies, policies, practices, procedures, and tools as appropriate for their state.

The WZ SA reinforces and builds on the results of the 1998 FHWA quality improvement review. In updating the document, FHWA has established a new work zone baseline to identify the challenges and successes that transportation agencies had since the 1998 assessment. All of the strategies, policies, techniques, and tools identified in the SA were gathered from the best practices currently in place in state departments of transportation (DOT), Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and local municipalities. Many of the items can be found in the Work Zone Best Practices Guidebook available on the Work Zone Mobility and Safety Team's Web site ( The SA's questions measure programs, procedures, and practices against best practices in use today. This self-assessment will serve three important roles:

  • Help raise the level of awareness of practices and strategies used in mitigating work zone congestion and crashes
  • Facilitate communication and sharing of best practices among transportation professionals
  • Identify areas of congestion and safety management strategies that need more investigation and performance evaluation.

The WZ SA illustrates what transportation agencies around the country are doing to reduce the impacts of construction and maintenance work on traveler delays and roadway safety. Do not assume that all these practices must be used on all road projects to have a successful work zone program; the WZ SA only identifies how many of these best-practice strategies are currently used in a particular state or region.

Sections 2 through 4 describe how to conduct and score the WZ SA. Section 4 delineates and explains the WZ SA questions. Appendix A provides background information on the scoring calculations.

1. Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) study
2. Oak Ridge National Laboratory study

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