Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program

Transportation Management Plan Effectiveness Framework and Pilot

Chapter 1. Introduction

Overview of Transportation Management Plans

A Transportation Management Plan (TMP) lays out a set of coordinated transportation management strategies and describes how they will be used to manage the work zone impacts of a road project. The scope, content, and level of detail of a TMP may vary based on the State or local transportation agency's work zone policy, and the anticipated work zone impacts of the project. In some cases, a regional TMP may be developed to better mitigate the combined effects of several projects occurring within a corridor or roadway network. The requirements and guidance on developing and implementing TMPs exists elsewhere. (1,2)

Although TMPs are required for all federal-aid projects, those projects deemed as "significant" require a comprehensive TMP consisting of the following:

  • A temporary traffic control (TTC) plan to address traffic safety and control needs through the work zone.
  • A traffic operations (TO) component to address sustained operations and management of the work zone impact area (which can extend a substantial distance away from the actual project location).
  • A public information (PI) and outreach component to address communication needs with the public and concerned stakeholders.

Under each of these items, two to four categories of strategies have been identified to help mitigate the impacts of the work zone. For example, three categories of strategies have been identified for possible use when developing the TTC plan:

  • Project control strategies.
  • Traffic control strategies.
  • Project coordination, contracting, and innovative construction strategies.

Two categories of strategies have been identified for the public information and outreach component of the TMP:

  • Public awareness strategies.
  • Motorist information strategies.

Finally, four main categories of TO component strategies could be considered for implementation:

  • Demand management strategies.
  • Corridor/network management strategies.
  • Work zone safety management strategies.
  • Traffic incident management and enforcement strategies.

Within each of these categories, 11 to 19 individual strategies exist which could be implemented to help mitigate the safety and mobility impacts of a work zone. Table 1 through Table 3 present a compilation of the various strategies that can be used to mitigate work zone impacts. (2)

Table 1. Transportation Management Plan Strategies by Category – Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) Plan. (2)
Control Strategies Traffic Control Devices Project Coordination, Contracting, and Innovative Construction Strategies
  • Construction phasing/staging
  • Full roadway closures
  • Lane shifts or closures
    • Reduced lane widths to maintain number of lanes (constriction)
    • Lane closures to provide worker safety
    • Reduced shoulder widths to maintain number of lanes
    • Shoulder closures to provide worker safety
    • Lane shift to shoulder/median to maintain number of lanes
  • One-lane, two-way operation
  • Crossover
  • Reversible lanes
  • Ramp closures/relocation
  • Freeway-to-freeway interchange closures
  • Night work
  • Weekend work
  • Work hour restrictions for peak travel
  • Pedestrian/bicycle access improvements
  • Business access improvements
  • Off-site detours/use of alternative routes
  • Temporary signs
    • Warning
    • Regulatory
    • Guide/information
  • Changeable message signs
  • Arrow panels
  • Channelizing devices
  • Temporary pavement markings
  • Flaggers and uniformed traffic control officers
  • Temporary traffic signals
  • Lighting devices
    • Flashing lights on signs, channelizing devices
    • Sequential warning lights a
  • Project coordination
    • Coordination with other projects
    • Utilities coordination
    • Right-of-way coordination
    • Coordination with other transportation infrastructure
  • Contracting strategies
    • Design-build
    • A+B bidding
    • Incentive/disincentive clauses
    • Lane rental
  • Innovative construction techniques (precast members, rapid cure materials)

a Strategy added since publication of (2).

Table 2. Transportation Management Plan Strategies by Category – Public Information (PI) and Outreach Component. (2)
Public Awareness Strategies Motorist Information Systems
  • Brochures and mailers
  • Press releases/media alerts
  • Paid advertisements
  • Public information center
  • Telephone hotline
  • Planned lane closure website
  • Project website
  • Public meetings/hearings
  • Community task forces
  • Coordination with media/schools/businesses/emergency services
  • Work zone education and safety campaigns
  • Work zone safety highway signs
  • Ride promotions
  • Visual information (videos, slides, presentations) for meetings and web
  • Traffic radio
  • Changeable message signs
  • Temporary motorist information signs
  • Dynamic speed message signs
  • Highway advisory radio (HAR)
  • Extinguishable signs
  • Highway information network (web-based)
  • 511 traveler information systems (wireless, handhelds)
  • Freight travel information
  • Transportation management center (TMC)
  • Work zone intelligent transportation systems (ITS) a

a Strategy added since publication of (2).

Table 3. Transportation Management Plan Strategies by Category – Traffic Operations (TO) Component. (2)
Demand Management Strategies Corridor/Network Management Strategies Work Zone Safety Management Strategiesa Traffic/Incident Management and Enforcement Strategies
  • Transit service improvements
  • Transit incentives
  • Shuttle services
  • Ridesharing/ carpooling incentives
  • Park-and-ride promotions
  • High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes
  • Toll/congestion pricing
  • Ramp metering
  • Parking supply management
  • Variable work hours
  • Telecommuting
  • Signal timing/coordination improvements
  • Temporary traffic signals
  • Street/intersection improvements
  • Bus turnouts
  • Turn restrictions
  • Parking restrictions
  • Truck/heavy vehicle restrictions
  • Separate truck lanes
  • Reversible lanes
  • Dynamic lane merge system
  • Ramp metering
  • Temporary suspension of ramp metering
  • Ramp closures
  • Railroad crossing controls
  • Coordination with adjacent construction sites
  • Work zone ITS to provide real-time delay and travel times
  • Speed limit reduction/variable speed limits
  • Temporary traffic signals
  • Temporary traffic barrier
  • Moveable traffic barrier
  • Crash cushions
  • Temporary rumble strips
  • Intrusion alarms
  • Warning lights
  • Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs)
  • Work zone ITS to provide queue warning b
  • Project task force/committee
  • Construction safety supervisors/inspectors
  • Road safety audits
  • TMP monitor/inspection team
  • Team meetings
  • Project on-site safety training
  • Safety awards/incentives
  • Windshield surveys
  • ITS for traffic monitoring/management
    • Use of permanent systems
    • Temporary work zone systems b
  • Transportation management center (TMC)
  • Surveillance (closed-circuit television, detectors, probe vehicles)
  • Helicopter for aerial surveillance
  • Unmanned drones for aerial surveillance b
  • Traffic screens
  • Call boxes
  • Reference location signs
  • Tow/freeway service patrol
  • Total stations/photogrammetry
  • Coordination with media
  • Preplanned local detour routes
  • Contractor support for incident management
  • Incident/emergency plan coordinator
  • Incident response plan
  • Dedicated (paid) police enforcement
  • Cooperative police enforcement
  • Automated enforcement
  • Increased penalties for work zone violations

a Several of these strategies could also be considered for inclusion in the TTC plan
bStrategy added since publication of (2).

Some strategies are relatively minor in cost and implementation effort required, whereas others are more costly and require much more effort to implement. Many of the strategies listed under the TTC plan -Traffic Control Devices category are actually required through national and state standards, although some work zones might benefits from additional devices above and beyond the minimums called for in those standards. In some cases, the effectiveness of a strategy is independent of the implementation of any other strategies. However, in many other cases, the effectiveness of a particular strategy is dependent upon other strategies that are implemented. In addition, many strategies can have similar effects upon driving behavior, and thus similar potential mitigation benefits, under certain roadway, traffic, and work zone conditions.

Challenges to Developing Work Zone Transportation Management Plans

Ideally, a practitioner developing a TMP would choose those mitigation strategies that provide the best benefit-to-cost effect in terms of mitigating work zone impacts. This would be done in conjunction with an impacts analysis performed as part of the TMP development process. (3) Unfortunately, information on the actual effectiveness of many of the TMP strategy is lacking. Very few agencies evaluate how well their impacts analysis results compare to what actually happens in the field, let alone assess how well the mitigation strategies employed affected the impacts of the work zone. Even for those strategies for which some assessments have been performed, the methods used and measures-of-effectiveness (MOEs) evaluated have varied widely, making it difficult to draw conclusions about how well the strategies would work as part of the TMP for an upcoming project.

Certainly, there would be value to establishing a clear, consistent approach towards assessing the effectiveness of TMP strategies. This would assist analysts charged with quantifying the actual benefits of strategies implemented, as well as those who are charged with developing TMPs for future projects. Optimally, a set of performance metrics can then be established that would be transferable from one location to the next so that agencies could learn from each other's experiences and confidently apply estimates of strategy effectiveness in their impacts analyses during TMP development.

Organization of this Report

The remainder of this report provides guidance on assessing the effectiveness of TMP strategies. First, the MOEs appropriate for evaluating how the various TMP strategies affect work zone impacts are presented. A discussion of common interdependencies between the individual strategies used in a TMP is also provided to help practitioners better understand evaluation limitations that exist in some instances. Next, an overall framework is presented regarding the types of evaluations possible of the effectiveness of TMP strategies, and methods available for performing those different types of evaluations. A compilation of previous literature regarding TMP strategy effectiveness relative to the analysis framework is then presented, followed by an examination of the approach taken to develop and then assess the impacts of a TMP implemented on a recent major rehabilitation project in North Carolina.

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