Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program
Photo collage: temporary lane closure, road marking installation, cone with mounted warning light, and drum separated work zones.
Office of Operations 21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Work Zone Mobility and Safety Self Assessment
National Detail Summary Report

Federal Highway Administration

Office of Operations

June 2003

Table Of Contents

1. Background and Methodology

2. Summary Results

3. Work Impact Types

4. Details of Strengths and Opportunities for Improvement

5. Summary and Conclusions

Appendix A - Item Scores by % State Population That Is Urban

Appendix B - Item Scores by Annual Vehicle Miles of Travel 39

1. Background and Methodology

In 1998 the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Office of Program Quality Coordination conducted a quality improvement review entitled Meeting the Customer's Needs for Mobility and Safety During Construction and Maintenance Operations.[1] Part of this review was the completion of a Work Zone Baseline Assessment Data Form by all FHWA field offices. The primary purpose of the Baseline Assessment Data Form was to provide the field offices with a tool to evaluate their past work zone activities, establish a baseline of their current state of the practice, and provide input for their future work zone quality improvement efforts. A second purpose of the baseline was to develop a summary of strengths, improvement opportunities, and obstacles to continuous quality improvement. The results of the baseline provided critical guidance and focus to the FHWA to support setting specific goals and objectives to provide tools, training, and best practice guidance to FHWA field offices and our state partners to help them accomplish their goals of reducing congestion and crashes due to work zones.

In the fall of 2002, the FHWA taking lessons learned from the previous assessment tool, developed an updated version of the Work Zone Baseline Assessment data form to establish a new work zone baseline.  This new Work Zone Mobility and Safety Self-Assessment survey contained 46 questions divided into the following six sections:

  • Leadership and Policy
  • Project Planning and Programming
  • Project Design
  • Project Construction and Operations
  • Communications and Training
  • Program Evaluation.

Each FHWA Division Office was asked to complete the survey with assistance from the appropriate transportation agency staff.  The completion of the survey was envisioned to be a group exercise. In many cases, several meetings between transportation agency and Division Office staff were conducted to arrive at a response that best reflected transportation agency policies, practices and procedures.

The self-assessment survey asked respondents to rate the extent to which a particular policy, process, product, or practice has been adopted into an agency's way of doing business. The adoption process consisted of five progressive levels based on the quality improvement process model used by industry:  1) initiation, 2) development, 3) execution, 4) assessment, and 5) integration.

Respondents were asked to rate each of the 46 questions spread out over the 6 sections using a 0 to 15 scale following the guidance contained in Table 1.

Table 1: Scoring Scheme
Adoption Phase Scoring Range Description
Initiation (0-3) Agency has acknowledged a need for this item and supports further development of the requirements of this item
Development (4-6) Agency has developed a plan or approach to address requirements of this item
Execution (7-9) Agency has executed an approach to meet requirements of this item.
Assessment (10-12) Agency has assessed the performance of this item
Integration (13-15) Agency has integrated the requirements of this item into agency culture and practices

2. Summary Results

Completed surveys were received from all 52 Division offices. Table 2 shows the overall mean and median ratings for all 52 surveys for each of the 6 sections. Figure 1 presents the mean scores for all 46 items.  The data from Table 2 and Figure 1 show that the highest average ratings were assigned to Section 5 (Communication and Education), and Section 4 (Project Construction and Operation). The lowest average rating was assigned to Section 6 (Program Evaluation).

Table 2: Mean and Median Ratings for Each Section
Section Items Mean Rating Median Rating
Section 1 - Leadership and Policy 10 6.3 6.0
Section 2 - Project Planning and Programming 6 6.2 7.0
Section 3 - Project Design 12 7.5 8.0
Section 4 - Project Construction and Operation 11 8.3 9.0
Section 5 - Communication and Education 3 10.0 10.0
Section 6 - Program Evaluation 4 4.6 3.0

(Based on 52 agency responses)

Figure 1: Mean Scores for All Questions

Figure 1: This bar chart shows the mean scores for all the questions in each of the six sections.

(Based on 52 Divisions)

As shown in Figure 3, when examining the variation of rating by state urban population, the results suggest a definite trend. States with higher urban populations generally assign higher ratings to each section.

Figure 3: Mean Rating by Percent State Urban Population

Figure 3: This bar chart shows the mean rating by percent of state population that is urban for each section. States with a higher proportion of population classified as urban generally assigned higher ratings to each section. D

3. Work Impact Types

To better address particular assessment topics, we have stratified the levels of impact a work zone may have on travelers. These work zone impact levels are intended to be an assistance tool and may not encompass all possible combinations or degree of work zone categories. Work Type I impacts the traveling public at the metropolitan, regional, intrastate, and possibly at the interstate level. Work Type II impacts the traveling public predominately at the metropolitan, and regional level. Work Type III impacts the traveling public at the metropolitan or regional level and has a moderate level of public interest.  Work Type IV impacts the traveling public to a small degree.

4. Details of Strengths and Opportunities for Improvement

This section summarizes the results of the Self Assessment from a national perspective. Each section and item is presented along with some observations regarding the strengths and areas in need of improvement.

4.1  Leadership and Policy

Table 3 presents the average score for each item contained in Section 1 - Leadership and Policy. Also shown in this table is the proportion of agencies assigning a rating of "7" or greater to a particular item. This threshold is important because it signifies that an agency has executed an approach to meet the requirements of an item.

Leadership and policy making provide the overall support and framework that encourages and enables effective work zone practices to reduce crashes, congestion, and delay. In addition, strong leadership and policy making provides a framework for continuous quality improvement through focusing on goal setting, performance measurement, and feedback. Agencies were asked to assess their policy and leadership practices and policies in the following areas:

  • Use of innovative contracting to reduce contract performance periods;
  • Establishment of criteria to support project execution strategies to reduce public exposure to work zones;
  • Policies guiding the development of Transportation Management Plans to reduce crashes, congestion, and delay in work zones;
  • Processes to determine whether a project is impact type I, II, III or IV;
  • Use of performance measures to track work zone crashes, congestion, and delay;
  • Adoption of strategic goals to reduce work zone crashes, congestion, and delay;
  • Establishment of work zone performance guidance that addresses maximum queue length, number of open lanes, and maximum traveler delay;
  • Coordination between utility suppliers and transportation agencies to manage situations where projects may overlap;
Table 3: Summary of Responses for Section 1 - Leadership and Policy
Item Question Item
Mean
Rating
% Agencies Assigning a Rating of 7 or Greater
4.1.9 Has the agency developed policies to support the use of innovative contracting strategies to reduce contract performance periods? 8.7 71%
4.1.8 Has the agency established criteria to support the use of project execution strategies (e.g. night work and full closure) to reduce public exposure to work zones, and reduce the duration of work zones? 8.2 65%
4.1.5 Has the agency established measures (e.g., crash rates, etc.) to track work zone crashes? 7.5 59%
4.1.7 Has the agency established work zone performance guidance that addresses: maximum queue lengths, number of open lanes, maximum traveler delay, etc.? 6.9 59%
4.1.3 Has the agency established strategic goals specifically to reduce crashes in work zones? 6.1 43%
4.1.6 Has the agency established a policy for the development of Transportation Management Plans to reduce congestion and crashes due to work zones? 5.9 47%
4.1.1 Has the agency developed a process to determine whether a project is impact type I, II, or III or IV? 5.7 47%
4.1.2 Has the agency established strategic goals specifically to reduce congestion and delay in work zones? 5.5 37%
4.1.10 Has the agency established Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between utility suppliers that promote the proactive coordination of long range transportation plans with long range utility plans to reduce project delays and minimize the number of work zones on the highway? 4.1 27%
4.1.4 Has the agency established measures (e.g., vehicle throughput, queue length, etc.) to track work zone congestion and delay? 3.9 22%

Strengths

  • A significant proportion of agencies (71%) report having polices to support the use of innovative contracting strategies to reduce contract performance periods. Contract construction times may be accelerated through the use of innovative contracting strategies such as flexible start times, A+B contracting, and incentive or disincentive (I/D) clauses. Accelerating construction time will reduce the length of time that motorists are exposed to delay and congestion and should be considered by transportation agencies. 
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of agencies have established criteria, such as the use of night work and full closure, to support the use of project execution strategies to reduce public exposure to work zones, and reduce the duration of work zones. These criteria include factors such as the length of construction period, traffic volume, user costs, and other perceived impacts.
  • A majority of agencies (59%) have established measures to track work zone crashes.
  • A majority of agencies (59%) have established work zone performance guidance that addresses such factors as maximum queue lengths, number of open lanes, and maximum traveler delay.

Opportunities for Improvement

  • A small percentage of agencies (22%) have established measures to track work zone congestion and delay. Measuring the performance of work zones is an important element of total qualify management, because the feedback provided to management from performance measures, (e.g., vehicle throughput, queue length, vehicle delay, etc.) establishes a basis to examine progress toward fulfillment of goals.
  • Only 27% of agencies report establishing a Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between utility suppliers that promote coordination of long-range transportation plans and long-range utility plans. Agencies should develop Memoranda of Understanding with utility providers to coordinate construction schedules. In some cases, it may be desirable to establish a formal agreement between the agency and suppliers in order to avoid situations when utility and transportation projects overlap in time. The establishment of a formal agreement defining how such coordination is to occur can contribute to avoiding prolonged delay in work zones by accomplishing utility and roadway work simultaneously or in coordination with each other.
  • Slightly over one-third of agencies (37%) have established strategic goals to reduce crashes and delay in work zones. The process of developing and adopting goals provides an opportunity to examine the importance of congestion and delay in work zones and opens an agency wide dialog to develop strategies to deal with the challenges identified. The resulting products from these discussions include specific goal statements that can be used to set direction and establish expectations. The support of top management in goal development provides a focus for reducing work zone congestion and delay by providing clear guidance and direction to operating departments. Goals provide the basis for priority setting and resource allocation and signal to agency staff and stakeholders the importance of work zone congestion and delay in agency planning and decision-making.
  • Only 47% of all agencies have established a policy for the development of Transportation Management Plans to reduce congestion and crashes in work zones. Agencies should establish written policies that describe how Transportation Management Plans will be developed to reduce congestion and crashes due to work zones. These policies should address when Transportation Management Plans will be developed, how they will be developed, and who will develop them. The Transportation Management Plan should describe the level and nature of the impacts resulting from work zone activities and identify specific mitigation strategies that will be implemented to mitigate these impacts. 
  • Only 47% of agencies have developed a process to determine whether a project is impact type I, II, III, or IV. Agencies should have a process to classify projects into project types, based on likely travel time and delay impacts.  The development of a process to classify projects will be useful in developing policies and practices for the design and management of work zones for several reasons. First of all, the development of a process will provide agency staff with an understanding of how and when to develop work zone strategies.  In addition, the development of a process will help agency staff understand the importance of work zone activities and place them in a position to better inform the reasons why certain actions are being implemented. Generally, the process will classify projects into those with a high impact and those with a low impact. Considerations to determine the classification include the size and complexity of the project, the length of time for construction, and the volume of traffic that will be affected.

4.2. Project Planning and Programming

Table 4 presents the average score for each item contained in Section 2 - Project Planning and Programming. Agencies were asked to evaluate planning and programming practices, policies, and programs in six areas:

  • Use of analytical traffic modeling programs to determine the impact of future type I & II road construction and maintenance activities on network performance;
  • Activities to develop alternative network options (e.g., frontage roads, increased capacity on parallel arterials, beltways, strategically placed connectors, etc.) to maintain projected traffic volumes due to future road construction and maintenance activities;
  • Management of the transportation improvement program to eliminate future network congestion due to poorly prioritized and uncoordinated execution of projects;
  • Inclusion of planning cost estimate review for work types I, II, & III that accounts for traffic management costs, (e.g., incident management, public information campaigns, positive separation elements, unformed law enforcement, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), etc);
  • Involvement from the planners during the project design stage to assist in the development of congestion mitigation strategies for type I & II projects;
  • Involvement of planners as part of a multidisciplinary/multiagency-team in the development of Transportation Management Plans involving major corridor improvements.
Table 4: Summary of Responses for Section 2 - Planning and Programming
Item Question Item Mean Rating % Agencies Assigning a Rating of 7 or Greater
4.2.6 Does the agency's transportation planning process engage the planners as part of a multidisciplinary/multiagency-team in the development of Transportation Management Plans involving major corridor improvements? 6.9 55%
4.2.3 Does the agency's planning process manage the transportation improvement program to eliminate future network congestion due to poorly prioritized and uncoordinated execution of projects? 6.5 57%
4.2.4 Does the agency's transportation planning process include a planning cost estimate review for work types I, II, & III that accounts for traffic management costs, (e.g., incident management, public information campaigns, positive separation elements, unformed law enforcement, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), etc)? 6.3 51%
4.2.5 Does the agency's transportation planning process include active involvement from the planners during the project design stage to assist in the development of congestion mitigation strategies for type I & II projects? 6.2 53%
4.2.2 Does the agency's planning process include developing alternative network options (e.g., frontage roads, increased capacity on parallel arterials, beltways, strategically placed connectors, etc.) to maintain projected traffic volumes due to future road construction and maintenance activities? 5.8 51%
4.2.1 Does the agency's planning process actively use analytical traffic modeling programs to determine the impact of future type I & II road construction and maintenance activities on network performance? 5.4 43%

While transportation planning and implementation processes differ significantly from state to state they all focus on developing increased capacity and efficiency in the transportation system. They do this with the development of long-range transportation plans (LRTP), transportation improvement program plans (TIP), unified planning work programs (UPWP), and in some cases congestion management system (CMS) plans.

Although the role of the planner in the development of project specific criteria has not been universally defined, it is clear that the complexity of our transportation systems and the impact of congestion on our nation will necessitate their input during the project development process.  Planners should use analytical traffic models to assess system wide impacts due to specific project requirements. They should evaluate programming estimates to assure the proper level of funding is included to mitigate traffic congestion and improve safety through work zones.  They should provide that critical 'bridge' of knowledge between the planning world and the design world to reduce the impacts of work zones on the traveling public.

Strengths

  • More than half of all agencies (55%) engage planners as part of a multidisciplinary/multi-agency team in the development of Transportation Management Plans involving major corridors.

While there is no universal guidance on the content of a Transportation Management Plan, generally a Transportation Management Plan consists of both demand management (e.g., alternative work hours, carpooling, promotion of alternative modes, public involvement and outreach, etc.) as well as supply management strategies (e.g., detour routes, signing, channelization, ITS, relevant, timely, and accurate traveler information, etc.) to mitigate the impact of work zone activities on congestion and traveler delay. Planners should be involved as part of transportation management development team as early as possible to bring a regional perspective to transportation program requirements. Planners should provide the link between technical design considerations and social and political considerations.

  • Over one-half of all agencies (57%) also report that the transportation improvement program is managed to eliminate future network congestion due to poorly prioritized projects and uncoordinated execution strategies.

The preparation of projects and programs requires scheduling coordination among various implementing organizations to avoid multiple uncoordinated projects on major traffic corridors. Without considering the entire network performance when developing the transportation improvement program, major corridor disruptions can occur affecting the entire network's performance. For example, a major corridor project may force travelers to alternate routes - the planner should make sure the alternate routes are able to accommodate the additional traffic.  Planners should develop project prioritization criterion that includes a systems operations impact element in determining the ranking of transportation improvement projects.

  • A majority of agencies (51%) including a planning cost estimate review for work types I, II, and III that account for traffic management costs. 

At the planning/programming stage project cost estimating should consider the added costs associated with developing and maintaining work zones. Some agencies routinely include these costs when determining program cost estimates while others do not. Failure to consider the traffic management costs at the planning/programming stage often means that projects are inadequately funded to support such items as intelligent transportation systems, public information campaigns, police enforcement teams, positive separation devices, etc. when design begins. Failure to consider these costs can result in work zones with poor traffic management strategies leading to work disruptions, contract extensions, angry travelers, and unsafe conditions.

  • More than half of all agencies (53%) include active involvement of planning during project design to assist in congestion mitigation strategies for work type I and II projects.

During the project delivery process planners spend considerable time analyzing the impacts of future growth and development on the transportation network.  This network includes minor and major transportation corridors that are the backbones of public mobility and significant links for the distribution of goods to the region. Disruption to these corridors can have a devastating impact on the local and regional economy and only increases the frustration of the traveling public regarding congestion due to work zones. The planner has a unique perspective of the entire network and can best assess the impacts of specific operational strategies on the system. Because of this perspective the planner should participate, in an advisory role, with the designers providing system level insight to specific design solutions. They should champion solutions that will best facilitate network operational performance, and maintain contact with project team members throughout the process to provide system level inputs at project review meetings.

Opportunities for Improvement

  • Less than half of agencies (43%) report using analytical models to determine the impact of future work type I and II road construction and maintenance activities on network performance.

Predicting current and future network capacities is focused on providing a certain level of mobility to the traveling public. The planner plays a key role in looking forward to determine what network system improvements are needed and when they should be in place. To accurately assess the performance of a network system the planner must know the configuration of the network and use analytical models to determine projected volume capabilities. Knowing conditions that impact the configuration and capacity of a roadway are essential for accurate capacity predictions. To maintain the projected traffic volumes on any facility the planner should actively involve Operation Planners and Designers in the early planning process to account for system operational impacts due to type I & II reconstruction and maintenance activities.

  • Slightly over one-half (51%) include developing alternative network options to maintain projected traffic volumes due to future road construction and maintenance activities.

When planning a transportation network there is a critical process of analyzing origin and destinations, links and nodes, attractions, modes, etc. The desired outcome from this process is a transportation network that allows the public to move from point to point with a certain degree of efficiency and comfort.  To accomplish this the transportation planner should be aware of the operational impacts that future construction, repair, and maintenance activities have on system performance. Input from the operations, design, construction, and maintenance engineers is critical in knowing what the future system constraints and impacts will be due to repair and maintenance activities. Knowing future system impacts, and planning for them, will enable the agency to provide alternative network options for the traveling public.  The planner should anticipate the need to reconstruct and maintain principal arterials and know what the capacity reduction factors will be. The planner should analyze the surrounding network to determine the best mitigation strategies (e.g., rerouting alternatives, anticipate larger volumes on parallel facilities, and strategically placed lateral connectors) in order to properly scope a project.

4.3. Project Design

Table 5 presents the average score for each item contained in Section 3 - Project Design. Agencies were asked to assess a total of 12 items as part of this section:

  • During project design does the agency have a process to estimate and use road user costs to evaluate and select, based on road user costs, project strategies, (e.g., full closure, night work traffic management alternatives, detours, etc.) for work type I & II projects?
  • During the project design does the agency develop a Transportation Management Plan that addresses all operational impacts specifically focused on project congestion for work type I & II projects?
  • During project design, does the agency use multidisciplinary teams consisting of agency staff to develop Transportation Management Plans for type I & II projects?
  • During project design, does the agency perform constructability reviews that include project strategies that are intended to reduce congestion and traveler delays during construction and maintenance activities for type I & II projects?
  • During project design, does the agency use independent contractors or contractor associations to provide construction process input to expedite project contract time for type I & II projects?
  • During project design, does the agency use time and performance based scheduling techniques such as Critical Path Method or parametric models to determine contract performance times for work type I & II projects?
  • During project design, does the agency have a process to evaluate the appropriate use of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies to minimize congestion in and around work zones for type I, II, & III projects?
  • During project design, does the agency have a process to consider the use life cycle costing in selecting materials that reduce the frequency and duration of work zones for type I, II & III projects?
  • Does the agency have a process to assess projects for the use of positive separation devices for type I & II projects?
  • During project design, does the agency anticipate and design projects to mitigate future congestion impacts due to repair and maintenance activities for type I, II & III projects?
  • In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use contractor involvement in the development of the Traffic Control Plan for type I & II projects?
  • In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use computer modeling to assess Traffic Control Plan impacts on traffic flow characteristics, e.g., speed, delay, capacity, etc. for  type I & II projects?
Table 5: Summary of Responses for Section 3 - Project Design
Item Question Item Mean Rating % Agencies Assigning a Rating of 7 or Greater
4.3.9 Does the agency have a process to assess projects for the use of positive separation devices for type I & II projects? 10.7 86%
4.3.4 During project design, does the agency perform constructability reviews that include project strategies that are intended to reduce congestion and traveler delays during construction and maintenance activities for type I & II projects? 9.6 88%
4.3.3 During project design, does the agency use multidisciplinary teams consisting of agency staff to develop Transportation Management Plans for type I & II projects? 9.0 78%
4.3.2 During the project design does the agency develop a Transportation Management Plan that addresses all operational impacts specifically focused on project congestion for work type I & II projects? 8.4 75%
4.3.8 During project design, does the agency have a process to consider the use life cycle costing in selecting materials that reduce the frequency and duration of work zones for type I, II & III projects? 8.3 73%
4.3.6 During project design, does the agency use time and performance based scheduling techniques such as Critical Path Method or parametric models to determine contract performance times for work type I & II projects? 8.2 71%
4.3.10 During project design, does the agency anticipate and design projects to mitigate future congestion impacts due to repair and maintenance activities for type I, II & III projects? 7.9 69%
4.3.1 During project design does the agency have a process to estimate and use road user costs to evaluate and select, based on road user costs, project strategies, (e.g., full closure, night work traffic management alternatives, detours, etc.) for work type I & II projects? 7.6 55%
4.3.5 During project design, does the agency use independent contractors or contractor associations to provide construction process input to expedite project contract time for type I & II projects?  5.4 37%
4.3.7 During project design, does the agency have a process to evaluate the appropriate use of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies to minimize congestion in and around work zones for type I, II, & III projects?  5.1 37%
4.3.12 In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use computer modeling to assess Traffic Control Plan impacts on traffic flow characteristics, e.g., speed, delay, capacity, etc. for  type I & II projects? 5.0 31%
4.3.11 In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use contractor involvement in the development of the Traffic Control Plan for type I & II projects? 4.9 33%

Project designers, working in concert with other functional experts, should consider maintenance of traffic during construction early in the design process.  Designers should examine the use of different project execution strategies that can accelerate construction time and minimize the exposure of travelers to work zones. In addition, designers should actively lead the preparation of Transportation Management Plans including Traffic Control Plans that will mitigate the impact of work zone activities.

Strengths

Agencies apply a number of activities, during the project design phase of the project development project process, to mitigate congestion, delay, and crashes during construction and maintenance activities. These activities include: use of positive separation devices, constructability reviews, use of multidisciplinary teams to develop Transportation Management Plans, use of life-cycle costing in selecting materials, and use of time and performance based scheduling techniques to determine work performance times.

  • A high proportion of agencies (86%) report using positive separation devices for type I and II projects. A slightly higher proportion of agencies (88%) perform constructability reviews intended to reduce congestion and traveler delays during construction and maintenance activities for type I and II projects.

In the project scope development, the designer should examine the need for the use of positive separation devices for type I and II projects. It is critical that this element be considered early in the planning and design process to include the appropriate funding to support the use of these devices during roadwork operations. Processes should take into account the facility type, daily and peak hour traffic, adjacent hazards, location, facility geometry, weather conditions, available space, vehicle types, etc. The deployment of positive barrier systems can contribute to a safer environment for workers, higher quality work, faster construction performance, higher rate of travel speed through the work zone, and provide a system of capacity control (i.e., reversible flow).

A constructability review provides a design team with an understanding of issues that may influence the final project design. Such review often times involves the conduct of a site visit to examine the location of a proposed project to review physical characteristics of the site. These reviews will define where the project will start and end; how the project will be integrated into the existing transportation system; where utilities will need removal or relocation. The conduct of a constructability review should also consider work zone strategies that would reduce delay and congestion during construction and maintenance activities. These reviews will determine if it is possible to execute some of the features of the Transportation Management Plan or elements of the Traffic Control Plan. Constructability reviews are useful for ensuring that a plan can be implemented in the field and should, therefore, be constructed as early as possible in the design process to avoid any need for major redesign.

  • During project design, three-fourths of agencies (75%) develop a Transportation Management Plan for large projects and a slightly higher proportion (78%) use multidisciplinary teams to develop these plans.

The Transportation Management Plan for work types I and II projects should be developed during the design phase of project development. During design, the final project scope, cost, and schedule is refined. As describe earlier, a Transportation Management Plan describes the actions that will be implemented to mitigate work zone congestion and delay during project construction, (e.g., alternative work hours, carpooling, promotion of alternative modes, public involvement and outreach, detour routes, signing, channelization, ITS, relevant, timely, and accurate traveler information, etc.). It is likely that many of the strategies contained in the Transportation Management Plan may influence project scope, cost, and schedule it is important for designers to address this plan as part of the design process. For example, a mitigation action contained in the Transportation Management Plan may include the construction of a temporary detour route around a construction site. This would have to be included in project design activities to ensure that temporary facilities are properly incorporated into the project design.

The quality and effectiveness of a Transportation Management Plan can be enhanced through enhanced through the use of a multidisciplinary team drawn from planning, design, traffic engineering, and maintenance. Any Transportation Management Plan for a type I or II project should make use of a multidisciplinary team. Including planners in the process of Transportation Management Plan development provides a means to understand the relationship between a particular project and an overall transportation program. For example, planners may be able to identify overlapping projects and bring these issues to the attention of the design team as they develop the Transportation Management Plan. Maintenance engineers may identify unique problems associated with maintaining a project when it is completed which may impact the development of the Transportation Management Plan. For example, it may be desirable to include full depth shoulders in a design since maintenance vehicles may have to access the project site during construction.

  • The use of life cycle costing to select materials is cited by a high proportion of agencies (73%).

Life cycle costing should be part of the design process for project types I, II and III. Life cycle costing accounts for the total cost of a project over its useful life. It accounts for the need to construct, maintain, and operate facilities and is an important element in selecting materials for construction. The use of life cycle costing to select materials, products and processes can provide designers with a basis maximize project service life and minimize required repair. By minimizing the frequency of repair, agencies can reduce the frequency and duration of work zones required to repair facilities. This means that the total exposure to work zone delay and congestion can be minimized.

  • Time and cost performance based scheduling techniques such as Critical Path Method or parametric models re used by 71% of all agencies.

Agencies should apply scheduling techniques to determine contract construction duration for work type I and II projects. The use of such tools will provide a basis for ensuring that the amount of time that motorists are exposed to construction congestion and delay is minimized. Techniques such as the critical path method (CPM) can be used to establish construction performance periods.  Developing parametric models to determine contract performance times can leverage previous experience in construction time periods for other similar projects.

  • A large majority of agencies (69%) anticipate and design projects to mitigate future congestion due to work zones for large projects.

Agencies should consider the need to mitigate future congestion associated with repair and maintenance activities during project design for project types I, II and III. The design of a project should incorporate features that accommodate the need for future repair and/or maintenance activities. Wider shoulders, for example ensure that maintenance vehicles can access the facility without impacting the flow of traffic significantly. While it is not possible to include all the features that may assist in accommodating future repair activities, it is useful to recognize these needs as part of the design process to ensure that opportunities are not missed to include such features as part of the project design.

  • Road user costs are estimated and used by over half of all agencies (55%) to evaluate and select project strategies to manage congestion associated with work type I and II projects.

Agencies should apply a process to evaluate road user costs of full road closure and night work strategies during the design phase of project development. While no standard process is recommended, road user costs include vehicle operating and maintenance costs as well as travel time and delay costs associated with using a highway facility. The process should include calculation of road user costs while maintaining traffic in and around the work zone using "traditional" strategies. Road user costs should also be developed for full road closure and nighttime work scenarios. If the road user costs are lower under full road closure or nighttime work scenarios the agency has a basis to explain to its stakeholders the desirability of pursuing these "innovative" project strategies.

Opportunities for Improvement

  • The use of independent contractors or contractor associations to provide construction process input to expedite project contract time for type I and II projects does not appear to be widespread. Slightly over one-third of all agencies (37%) appear to have executed this practice.

Agencies should use third party contractors or contractor associates to validate construction time estimates. The length of construction time is a key component in determining how long motorists will be exposed to work zone congestion and delay. Contractor experience in executing plans should be used to better understand how long motorist will be exposed to delay. In addition, involving contractors early in the design process can be helpful in identifying alternative designs that may speed construction time and reduce motorist exposure. It is important to recognize that a disinterested, third party contractor must be used to provide objectivity to contract time estimates.

  • Slightly over one-third of agencies (37%) have a process in place to evaluate the appropriate use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies to mitigate congestion impacts in and around work zones for work types I, II, or III.

Agencies should examine the use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to mitigate work zone congestion and delay during the design process for project types I, II, and III.    Deployment of ITS technologies can encompass such technologies as portable traffic management or traveler information systems, warning systems, speed management systems, enforcement systems and other supporting technologies. ITS offers opportunities to provide essential information to travelers to help them avoid work zones, plan trips, and travel safety through work areas.

  • Computer modeling is not widely used to assess Traffic Control Plan impacts on traffic flow. Only 31% of agencies report the use of computer modeling to assess Traffic Control Impacts on type I and II projects. Agencies should use computer models to evaluate Traffic Control Plans for type I and II projects.

Computer models provide the capability to examine the impact of alternative work zone strategies on motorist delay. These models can provide insight into actions that can minimize delay and increase customer satisfaction with work zone performance. Any number and types of models can be used depending on the complexity of the problem. Models range in complexity from spreadsheet models to sophisticated computer network simulation. The information developed from the application of these tools can provide designers with estimates of travel congestion and delay that can be used to design effective and efficient Traffic Control Plans.

  • Approximately one-third (33%) of agencies use contractor involvement in the development of the Traffic Control Plan for type I and II projects.

A Traffic Control Plan is a plan for handling traffic through a specific highway or street work zone or project. Agencies should involve contractors during the design process to assist in the development of such plans. Traffic Control Plans may be very detailed and include a reference to standard plans, a section of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), or a standard highway agency manual. The involvement of contractors in the development of Traffic Control Plans can result in a more efficient and effective design since contractors have extensive experience in managing work zone design and operation. Agencies should capture this knowledge as part of the design process.

4.4. Project Construction and Operation

Table 6 presents the average score for each item contained in Section 4 - Project Construction and Design. Agencies were asked to evaluate a total of eleven items:

  • Is the letting schedule altered or optimized to reflect the available resources and capabilities of the construction industry?
  • Is the letting schedule altered or optimized to minimize disruptions to major traffic corridors?
  • In bidding type I &II projects, does the agency include road user costs in establishing incentives or disincentives to minimize road user delay due to work zones (e.g., I/D, A+B, Lane Rental, etc.)?
  • In bidding type I, II, & III contracts, does the agency use performance-based selection to eliminate contractors who consistently demonstrate their inability to complete a quality job within the contract time?
  • In bidding type I & II project contracts, does the agency use incident management services (e.g., wrecker, push vehicles, service patrols, etc)?
  • In bidding contracts, does the agency use flexible starting provisions after the Notice to Proceed is issued?
  • During project types I, II, & III does the agency use uniformed law enforcement?
  • During type I, II, & III project construction does the agency use a public information plan that provides for specific and timely project information to the traveling public through a variety of outreach techniques, (e.g., agency website, newsletters, public meetings, radio, and other media outlets)?
  • During type I, II, & III projects, does the agency use intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies to collect and disseminate information to motorists and agency personnel on work zone conditions?
  • Does the agency provide/require training of contractor staff on the proper layout, and use of traffic control devices?
  • Does the agency provide training to uniformed law enforcement personnel on work zone devices and layouts?
Table 6: Summary of Responses for Section 4 - Project Construction and Operation
Item Question Item Mean Rating % Agencies Assigning a Rating of 7 or Greater
4.4.7 During project types I, II, & III does the agency use uniformed law enforcement? 11.5 94%
4.4.8 During type I, II, & III project construction does the agency use a public information plan that provides for specific and timely project information to the traveling public through a variety of outreach techniques, (e.g., agency website, newsletters, public meetings, radio, and other media outlets)? 11.4 98%
4.4.3  In bidding type I &II projects, does the agency include road user costs in establishing incentives or disincentives to minimize road user delay due to work zones (e.g., I/D, A+B, Lane Rental, etc.)?  9.5 80%
4.4.10 Does the agency provide/require training of contractor staff on the proper layout, and use of traffic control devices? 9.5 73%
4.4.2 Is the letting schedule altered or optimized to minimize disruptions to major traffic corridors? 8.7 80%
4.4.6 In bidding contracts, does the agency use flexible starting provisions after the Notice to Proceed is issued? 8.3 73%
4.4.5 In bidding type I & II project contracts, does the agency use incident management services (e.g., wrecker, push vehicles, service patrols, etc)? 8.0 69%
4.4.1 Is the letting schedule altered or optimized to reflect the available resources and capabilities of the construction industry? 7.9 67%
4.4.9 During type I, II, & III projects, does the agency use intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies to collect and disseminate information to motorists and agency personnel on work zone conditions? 7.2 65%
4.4.4 In bidding type I, II, & III contracts, does the agency use performance-based selection to eliminate contractors who consistently demonstrate their inability to complete a quality job within the contract time? 5.5 37%
4.4.11 Does the agency provide training to uniformed law enforcement personnel on work zone devices and layouts? 3.7 22%

A roadway construction or maintenance site can be a very complex orchestration of activities impacting the public in many ways. It has been estimated that approximately 13% of the NHS has a work zone on it during the peak summer work season, totaling 20,876 miles, and that approximately 24% of all non-recurring congestion on freeways is due to work zones. A recent study by the Texas Transportation Institute revealed that from a sampling of 4 states an average of 26% of the NHS was under contract. The average project length was 3.7 miles, and the average active time (w/o weekends) was approximately 62% of the total contract time. There are many pieces to the project delivery process and everyone has a critical role, but what the public mostly sees and experiences is the construction end of the process. By focusing on letting strategies, quality based contractor selections, time sensitive bidding, efficient operations, aggressive contract management, and good public information we can improve the execution and public perception of transportation improvements.

Strengths

  • Nearly all agencies (98%) have executed a Public Information plan during type I, II,  and III project work types.

A Public Information Plan is the result of a deliberate process to consider what information the public needs to better cope with the project impacts. Providing specific and timely project information to travelers should help roadway users avoid prolonged delays at work zones, and improve the efficiency of travel through a work zone. Recent studies indicate that travelers use many sources (e.g., television, radio, newspaper, transportation agency websites, etc) to get the status of road conditions to better plan their trips. The type of information provided is critical to the trip planning process and should consist of the work location, duration, estimated travel times, alternate route recommendations, maps, and other significant traveler impact items.

  • During project types I, II, and II nearly all agencies (94%) use uniformed law enforcement.

The use of law enforcement in work zones is a widely accepted traffic management tool. The on scene presence of uniform law enforcement can ensure that proper speeds are maintained and travelers more often observe posted signs, signals, and markings through a work zone. The agency should have a process to determine the necessity for the use of uniformed law enforcement in work zones to improve driver behavior. This process should be considered early in the programming stage to allow for appropriate funding in the project to support this item.

  • A large proportion of agencies (80%) include road user costs in establishing incentives or disincentives to minimize delay during work type I and II projects.

Several contracting methods can be used to provide contractors with an incentive to complete work as quickly as possible. Often times, these methods rely on the use of road user costs as a basis to determine contract incentives or disincentives. The objective of using these strategies is to reduce the contract time and minimize traveler delay. The agency should have a process in place that is used to evaluate the need to apply road user costs to projects.

  • Training of contractor staff on the proper layout, and use of traffic control devices is widespread. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of all agencies report providing such training.

A significant number of complaints that come from the traveling public center on the proper use and maintenance of traffic control devices, (i.e., cones, drums, signs, barricades, barriers, stripping, changeable message signs, etc).  There are a number of situations where the signs inform the traveler of conditions that don't exist, stripping that is misleading and dangerous, changeable message signs that are sending the wrong message, cones and drums improperly spaced, and the list goes on. These inconsistencies have a tremendous impact on the agencies credibility with the traveling public. A driver will develop work zone habits based on how the agency conditions them to behave. If you want them to slow down due to a work zone aheadmake sure there is work ahead!  The agency should require work zone traffic control device training for contractor personnel that deal with work zones. The agency should provide incentives for the contractor to be well trained in the proper application and maintenance of traffic control devices in work zones.

  • Agencies apply several administrative or programming techniques to manage construction schedules and resources. Approximately 80% of agencies alter or optimize the letting schedule to minimize disruptions due to work zone act ivies. A large proportion (67%) consider the resources and  capabilities of the construction industry in making these changes. Nearly three fourths (73%) of agencies use flexible starting provisions after a Notice to Proceed is issued.

Effective letting schedules take into consideration the type and location of the projects being let, and are organized to minimize disruption on the transportation system. The agency should assess the impacts of all ready-to-let projects on the transportation system prior to developing the letting schedule.  In this assessment they should look at the type of work being done, the duration of the work, the traffic impacts caused by the work, and the adjacencies to other work in the corridor. Failure to coordinate the letting of projects could lead to multiple projects on the same corridor, and adjacent arterials, with no mitigation strategies in place to minimize traffic disruptions and congestion.

To obtain the most efficient and highest quality product from a construction contact you need the availability of quality materials and trained personnel.  In any given part of the country there is a limited number of qualified road builders and material suppliers to support the significant amount of road projects across the country. To obtain the best quality of labor and materials the transportation agency should regularly evaluate the capabilities of the construction industry and material suppliers and balance that with the agency's letting schedule. Lettings should reflect the markets capability to handle the workload available. Over letting strategies can contribute to unqualified workers on the job, longer work zone duration, poor materials, injuries, increased driver frustration with non-active work zones, etc.

Flexible start times are used for 2 primary reasons: 1) reducing the time period the public is exposed to construction conditions, and 2) increasing the frequency of completing the contract within the authorized contract time.  Flexible start time after the Notice to Proceed is issued encourages competition in the bidding process and enables a contractor to have more flexibility in scheduling the use of equipment and manpower. As one more tool to reduce contract time, and public exposure to work zones, the agency should have a process in place to determine the appropriate use of this strategy.

  • A large proportion of agencies (69%) use incident management services in bidding work type I and II projects. Almost two-thirds (65%) use Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies to collect and disseminate traveler information in work zones.

A significant amount of congestion and delays in and around work zones can come from vehicle crashes and breakdowns. As congestion builds in and approaching work zones crash rates increase. The use of incident management teams can help reduce the time required to clear incidents in and around work zones resulting in a reduction of overall congestion and delay. The agency should have a process in place to evaluate the degree of incident management strategies that will be used in projects.

Portable or fixed traffic management systems (i.e., potable changeable message signs, fixed message signs, speed monitoring devices, network ITS, ramp metering, camera monitoring, etc) can be used to manage traffic flow in and around a work zone. These systems can keep the traveler informed of changing road conditions and delays that will allow better travel decisions and time planning.  The devices also can collect system performance information that can be used to monitor construction contract compliance, support contact incentive/disincentive decisions, and provide EMS, fire, and law enforcement officials with real time system impacts.

Opportunities for Improvement

  • The training of uniformed law enforcement on work zone devices and layouts is reported by only a limited number of agencies (22%).

There are many conditions that impact what the work zone layout will be and the devices to be used. Without adequate training on how work zone traffic control devices are used and where the appropriate places are to be, law enforcement personnel put themselves at risk. The agency should sponsor a training program specifically for law enforcement personnel on the work zone types and traffic control devices used. This training program should establish a standard placement and use of law enforcement in the work zone design for consistency.

  • Performance based selection of contractors to eliminate contractors who consistently demonstrate an inability to complete a quality job within contract time is not widely implemented at this point. Only 37% of all agencies report using this approach.

Construction is a quality and time based activity that results in a product typically expected to perform a certain function over a given period. To accomplish those things there needs to be a quality design and quality construction in a timely manner. Performance base selection is the process of taking past performance and integrating it into the contractor selection process to get the best performer to accomplish the work. The agency should have a process in place that allows them to use past performance in the selection of contractors for current work.

4.5. Communication and Education

Table 7 presents the average score for each item contained in Section 5 - Communication and Education.

Table 7: Summary of Responses for Section 5 - Communication and Education
Item Question Item
Mean Rating
% Agencies Assigning a Rating of 7 or Greater
4.5.3 Does the agency assume a proactive role in work zone educational efforts? 10.5 90%
4.5.2 Does the agency sponsor National Work Zone Awareness week? 10.3 88%
4.5.1 Does the agency maintain and update a work zone website providing timely and relevant traveler impact information for project types I, II & III that allows travelers to effectively make travel plans? 9.2 76%

To reduce the anxiety and frustration of the public, it is important to sustain effective communications and outreach with the public regarding road construction and maintenance activity, and the potential impacts of the activities. This also increases the public's awareness of such activities and their impacts on their lives. The lack of information is often cited as a key cause of frustration to the traveling public. Therefore, it is important to identify the key issues that need to be considered from a public outreach and information perspective.

Strengths

  • Agencies report a strong commitment to providing education and training.  Nearly all (90%) have assumed a proactive role in work zone education efforts.  National Work Zone Awareness Week is strongly supported (88% of agencies).  Over three-fourths (76%) of all agencies maintain and update a work zone website to provide timely information to travelers.

Significant reductions in work zone crashes and delays cannot be achieved without the highway community becoming actively involved in developing and presenting educational programs. Programs should include information on work zone safety, the meaning of traffic control devices, and the reason why work is necessary, and what the agency is doing to reduce work zone impacts.

To heighten motorist and worker awareness of the safety and mobility issues in work zones, FHWA teams with AASHTO (the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) and ATSSA (the American Traffic Safety Services Association) have sponsored National Work Zone Awareness Week each year since 2000 during the second week in April.

Agencies should establish a website to provide timely and accurate information to travelers regarding potential work zone impacts. Setting up and maintaining a website to provide traveler information on work zones can be a valuable public information tool. Websites can include information on routes currently under construction and those with work planned in the near future. Details can include locations of work zones, schedules for completing work, alternate route information, and magnitude of impacts to traffic. Information on work zone websites should be updated with current delay estimates as often as changes occur. Specifically, the website should include dates of expected work, specific hours of work, exact location of the work, and quantitative estimates of traffic impacts, such as miles of expected back-up, and expected delay.

Opportunities for Improvement

All the items comprising this section are very highly rated. Agencies should continue to strengthen this area and integrate communication and education into the agency culture.

4.6. Program Evaluation

Table 8 presents the average score for each item contained in Section 8 - Program Evaluation. Evaluation is a necessary tool for analyzing failures and identifying successes in work zone operations. Work zone performance monitoring and reporting at a nationwide level has potential to increase the knowledge base on work zones and help better plan, design and implement road construction and maintenance projects.

Table 8: Summary of Responses for Section 6 - Program Evaluation
Item Question Item
Mean
Rating
% Agencies Assigning a Rating of 7 or Greater
4.6.2 Does the agency collect data to track work zone safety performance in accord with agency work zone crash measures? (See Section 1, item 4.1.5) 6.3 47%
4.6.4 Does agency develop strategies to improve work zone performance based on work zone performance data and customer surveys?  5.0 35%
4.6.3 Does the agency conduct customer surveys to evaluate work zone traffic management practices and polices on a statewide/area-wide basis? 4.4 27%
4.6.1 Does the agency collect data to track work zone congestion and delay in accord with agency established work zone congestion and delay measures? (See Section 1, item 4.1.4) 2.8 10%

Strengths

  • Nearly one-half of agencies (47%) collect data to track work zone safety performance in accord with agency work zone crash measures.

Agencies should track the performance of work zones strategies in achieving agency goals. As mentioned previously, performance measures can be tracked to assess impacts from work zone operations. These measures include assessing delay caused by non-recurring congestion in and around work zones, and measurements of safety such as crash rates and fatality statistics. Tracking performance in concert with the establishment of specific goals and objectives provides a basis for total quality improvement. Performance measures provide the required feedback to make program adjustments and evaluate the effectiveness of program strategies.

Opportunities for Improvement

  • While nearly one-half of agencies collect crash data in work zones, only a limited proportion (10%) report collecting similar data for congestion and delay.

Agencies should track the performance of work zones strategies in achieving agency goals. As mentioned previously, performance measures can be tracked to assess impacts from work zone operations. These measures include assessing delay caused by non-recurring congestion in and around work zones. Tracking performance in concert with the establishment of specific goals and objectives provides a basis for total quality improvement. Performance measures provide the required feedback to make program adjustments and evaluate the effectiveness of program strategies.

  • Overall evaluation of work zone performance using customer surveys (reported by 35% of agencies) and performance data does not appear to be widespread.  Only 27% of all agencies report implementing such a program.

The collection of performance measures should be in support of strategy development.  Data collected and not used is of little value in developing improved programs.  Work zone performance data and customer surveys provide valuable can be valuable in determining field conditions for comparison with performance metrics.  Strategies can be developed to update and revise performance metrics based on such data as part of the process.

5. Summary and Conclusions

The results of this Self Assessment provide insights into a number of strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. This latest Self Assessment established a new work zone baseline to identify the gaps and successes that transportation agencies have had since the 1998 assessment. This Self Assessment will serve three important roles:

  • It will help raise the level of awareness of practices and strategies used in mitigating work zone congestion and crashes
  • It will facilitate communication and sharing of best practices among transportation professionals
  • It will serve as a working tool to identify areas of congestion and safety management strategies that need more investigation and performance evaluation.

This new Work Zone Mobility and Safety Self-Assessment survey contained 46 questions divided into the following six sections:

  • Leadership and Policy
  • Project Planning and Programming
  • Project Design
  • Project Construction and Operations
  • Communications and Training
  • Program Evaluation.

The highest overall average ratings were assigned to the following sections:  Communication and Training (10.0), Project Construction and Operation (8.3) and Project Design (7.5). The lowest average ratings were assigned to Project Planning and Programming (6.2), Leadership and Policy (6.3), and Program Evaluation (4.6).

Strengths

Table 9 presents a list of the top 10 rated items. All of these items have an average rating of greater than 9.0. The following conclusions can be drawn from this table:

  • The top 10 rated items are contained in Section 4 (Project Construction and Operation) - 4 items, Section 3 (Project Design) - 3 items; and Section 5 (Communication and Education) - 3 items.
  • All three items from Section 5 (Communication and Education) are among the top 10 rated items. These include:  assuming a proactive role in work zone educational efforts; sponsoring Work Zone Awareness Week; and, maintaining and updating a website providing relevant and timely information to travelers.
  • Among the most highly rated items among Section 4 (Project Construction and Operation) are:  use of uniformed law enforcement for project types I & II; use of a public information plan during project types I, II, & III; inclusion of road user costs in establishing incentives or disincentives to minimize road user delay; and, providing/requiring training of contractor staff on the proper layout, and use of traffic control devices.
  • Among the highly rated items in Section 3 (Project Design) are the following:  application of a process to assess projects for use of positive separation devices;  performing constructability reviews; and use of multidisciplinary teams to develop Transportation Management Plans for work type I & II projects.

Opportunities for Improvement

Table 10 presents a list of the top 10 rated items. The mean ratings range from a low of 2.8 to a high of 5.4. The following conclusions can be drawn from this table:

  • The bottom 10 rated items are contained in Section 3 (Project Design) - 4 items; Section 6 (Program Evaluation) - 3 items; Section 1 (Leadership and Policy) - 2 items; and Section 4 (Project Construction and Operation) - 1 item.
Table 9: Top 10 Rated Items
Item Section Question Mean Rating % Agencies Assigning a Rating of 7 or Greater
4.4.7 Construction and Operation During project types I, II, & III does the agency use uniformed law enforcement? 11.5 94%
4.4.8 Construction and Operation During type I, II, & III project construction does the agency use a public information plan that provides for specific and timely project information to the traveling public through a variety of outreach techniques, (e.g., agency website, newsletters, public meetings, radio, and other media outlets)? 11.4 98%
4.3.9 Project Design Does the agency have a process to assess projects for the use of positive separation devices for type I & II projects? 10.7 86%
4.5.3 Communication and Education Does the agency assume a proactive role in work zone educational efforts? 10.5 90%
4.5.2 Communication and Education Does the agency sponsor National Work Zone Awareness week? 10.3 88%
4.3.4 Project Design During project design, does the agency perform constructability reviews that include project strategies that are intended to reduce congestion and traveler delays during construction and maintenance activities for type I & II projects? 9.6 88%
4.4.3 Construction and Operation  In bidding type I &II projects, does the agency include road user costs in establishing incentives or disincentives to minimize road user delay due to work zones (e.g., I/D, A+B, Lane Rental, etc.)?  9.5 80%
4.4.10 Construction and Operation Does the agency provide/require training of contractor staff on the proper layout, and use of traffic control devices? 9.5 73%
4.5.1 Communication and Education Does the agency maintain and update a work zone website providing timely and relevant traveler impact information for project types I, II & III that allows travelers to effectively make travel plans? 9.2 76%
4.3.3 Project Design  During project design, does the agency use multidisciplinary teams consisting of agency staff to develop Transportation Management Plans for type I & II projects? 9.0 78%

Table 10: Bottom 10 Rated Items
Item Section Question Mean Rating % Agencies Assigning a Rating of 7 or Greater
4.6.1 Program Evaluation Does the agency collect data to track work zone congestion and delay in accord with agency established work zone congestion and delay measures? (See Section 1, item 4.1.4) 2.8 10%
4.4.11 Construction and Operation Does the agency provide training to uniformed law enforcement personnel on work zone devices and layouts? 3.7 22%
4.1.4 Leadership and Policy Has the agency established measures (e.g., vehicle throughput, queue length, etc.) to track work zone congestion and delay? 3.9 22%
4.1.10 Leadership and Policy Has the agency established Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between utility suppliers that promote the proactive coordination of long range transportation plans with long range utility plans to reduce project delays and minimize the number of work zones on the highway? 4.1 27%
4.6.3 Program Evaluation Does the agency conduct customer surveys to evaluate work zone traffic management practices and polices on a statewide/area-wide basis? 4.4 27%
4.3.11 Project Design In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use contractor involvement in the development of the Traffic Control Plan for type I & II projects? 4.9 33%
4.6.4 Program Evaluation Does agency develop strategies to improve work zone performance based on work zone performance data and customer surveys?  5.0 35%
4.3.12 Project Design In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use computer modeling to assess Traffic Control Plan impacts on traffic flow characteristics, e.g., speed, delay, capacity, etc. for  type I & II projects? 5.0 31%
4.3.7 Project Design During project design, does the agency have a process to evaluate the appropriate use of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies to minimize congestion in and around work zones for type I, II, & III projects?  5.1 37%
4.3.5 Project Design During project design, does the agency use independent contractors or contractor associations to provide construction process input to expedite project contract time for type I & II projects?  5.4 37%
  • Three out of four items from Section 4 (Program Evaluation) are among the 10 lowest rated items. These include:  collection of data to track work zone congestion and delay in accord with established measures; use of customer surveys to evaluate work zone practices and polices; and, development of strategies to improve work zone performance based on feedback data.
  • Among the items rated low from the Project Design session are included the following:  contractor involvement in the development of Traffic Control Plans for type I & II projects; use of computer modeling to assess Traffic Control Plan impacts; evaluation of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies during the design phase; and use of independent contractors to provide construction process input to expedite contract time for type I & II projects.
  • Two items from Section 1 (Leadership and Policy) are among the 10 lowest rated items:  establishment of measures to track work zone congestion and delay; and  establishment of Memoranda of Understanding between utility suppliers that promote coordination of utility and transportation plans.
  • A small proportion of agencies (22%) provide training to uniformed law enforcement personnel on work zone congestion and delay.                                                                        

Appendix A

Item Scores by % State Population That Is Urban


Section 1 - Leadership and Policy
Item Question Overall Mean Greater than 75% (n=15) 50% to 74.9% (n=29) Less than 50% (n=8)
4.1.1 Has the agency developed a process to determine whether a project is impact type I, II, or III or IV? 5.7 6.7 5.6 4.4
4.1.2 Has the agency established strategic goals specifically to reduce congestion and delay in work zones? 5.5 6.9 5.1 4.3
4.1.3 Has the agency established strategic goals specifically to reduce crashes in work zones? 6.1 7.4 5.6 5.6
4.1.4 Has the agency established measures (e.g., vehicle throughput, queue length, etc.) to track work zone congestion and delay? 3.9 5.9 3.7 1.3
4.1.5 Has the agency established measures (e.g., crash rates, etc.) to track work zone crashes? 7.5 7.9 7.8 6.0
4.1.6 Has the agency established a policy for the development of Transportation Management Plans to reduce congestion and crashes due to work zones? 5.9 8.9 5.2 2.5
4.1.7 Has the agency established work zone performance guidance that addresses: maximum queue lengths, number of open lanes, maximum traveler delay, etc.? 6.9 8.1 6.7 5.3
4.1.8 Has the agency established criteria to support the use of project execution strategies (e.g. night work and full closure) to reduce public exposure to work zones, and reduce the duration of work zones? 8.2 10.9 7.3 6.0
4.1.9 Has the agency developed policies to support the use of innovative contracting strategies to reduce contract performance periods? 8.7 10.1 8.7 6.5
4.1.10 Has the agency established Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between utility suppliers that promote the proactive coordination of long range transportation plans with long range utility plans to reduce project delays and minimize the number of work zones on the highway? 4.1 6.6 2.5 5.3

Section 2 - Project Planning and Programming
Item Question Overall Mean Greater than 75% (n=15) 50% to 74.9% (n=29) Less than 50% (n=8)
4.2.1 Does the agency's planning process actively use analytical traffic modeling programs to determine the impact of future type I & II road construction and maintenance activities on network performance? 5.4 7.3 4.4 5.4
4.2.2 Does the agency's planning process include developing alternative network options (e.g., frontage roads, increased capacity on parallel arterials, beltways, strategically placed connectors, etc.) to maintain projected traffic volumes due to future road construction and maintenance activities? 5.8 7.9 4.9 5.1
4.2.3 Does the agency's planning process manage the transportation improvement program to eliminate future network congestion due to poorly prioritized and uncoordinated execution of projects? 6.5 6.7 6.5 6.1
4.2.4 Does the agency's transportation planning process include a planning cost estimate review for work types I, II, & III that accounts for traffic management costs, (e.g., incident management, public information campaigns, positive separation elements, unformed law enforcement, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), etc)? 6.3 8.1 5.8 4.8
4.2.5 Does the agency's transportation planning process include active involvement from the planners during the project design stage to assist in the development of congestion mitigation strategies for type I & II projects? 6.2 7.9 5.7 5.3
4.2.6 Does the agency's transportation planning process engage the planners as part of a multidisciplinary/multiagency-team in the development of Transportation Management Plans involving major corridor improvements? 6.9 9.2 6.0 6.1

Section 3 - Project Design
Item Question Overall Mean Greater than 75% (n=15) 50% to 74.9% (n=29) Less than 50% (n=8)
4.3.1 During project design does the agency have a process to estimate and use road user costs to evaluate and select, based on road user costs, project strategies, (e.g., full closure, night work traffic management alternatives, detours, etc.) for work type I & II projects? 7.6 8.7 7.1 7.6
4.3.2  During the project design does the agency develop a Transportation Management Plan that addresses all operational impacts specifically focused on project congestion for work type I & II projects? 8.4 10.0 7.6 8.5
4.3.3  During project design, does the agency use multidisciplinary teams consisting of agency staff to develop Transportation Management Plans for type I & II projects? 9.0 10.3 8.6 8.4
4.3.4 During project design, does the agency perform constructability reviews that include project strategies that are intended to reduce congestion and traveler delays during construction and maintenance activities for type I & II projects? 9.6 10.2 8.7 11.4
4.3.5 During project design, does the agency use independent contractors or contractor associations to provide construction process input to expedite project contract time for type I & II projects?  5.4 6.9 4.9 4.4
4.3.6 During project design, does the agency use time and performance based scheduling techniques such as Critical Path Method or parametric models to determine contract performance times for work type I & II projects? 8.2 10.6 7.1 7.9
4.3.7 During project design, does the agency have a process to evaluate the appropriate use of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies to minimize congestion in and around work zones for type I, II, & III projects?  5.1 6.5 4.9 3.0
4.3.8 During project design, does the agency have a process to consider the use life cycle costing in selecting materials that reduce the frequency and duration of work zones for type I, II & III projects? 8.3 8.5 7.9 9.1
4.3.9 Does the agency have a process to assess projects for the use of positive separation devices for type I & II projects? 10.7 11.5 10.7 9.3
4.3.10 During project design, does the agency anticipate and design projects to mitigate future congestion impacts due to repair and maintenance activities for type I, II & III projects? 7.9 8.7 7.2 8.9
4.3.11 In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use contractor involvement in the development of the Traffic Control Plan for type I & II projects? 4.9 5.9 4.2 5.6
4.3.12 In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use computer modeling to assess Traffic Control Plan impacts on traffic flow characteristics, e.g., speed, delay, capacity, etc. for  type I & II projects? 5.0 5.5 4.8 4.5

Section 4 - Project Construction and Operation
Item Question Overall Mean (n=52) Greater than 75% (n=15) 50% to 74.9% (n=29) Less than 50% (n=8)
4.4.1 Is the letting schedule altered or optimized to reflect the available resources and capabilities of the construction industry? 7.9 7.2 8.0 8.8
4.4.2 Is the letting schedule altered or optimized to minimize disruptions to major traffic corridors? 8.7 9.4 8.3 8.9
4.4.3  In bidding type I &II projects, does the agency include road user costs in establishing incentives or disincentives to minimize road user delay due to work zones (e.g., I/D, A+B, Lane Rental, etc.)?  9.5 10.3 9.4 8.5
4.4.4 In bidding type I, II, & III contracts, does the agency use performance-based selection to eliminate contractors who consistently demonstrate their inability to complete a quality job within the contract time? 5.5 8.0 4.3 4.8
4.4.5 In bidding type I & II project contracts, does the agency use incident management services (e.g., wrecker, push vehicles, service patrols, etc)? 8.0 10.0 7.9 4.5
4.4.6 In bidding contracts, does the agency use flexible starting provisions after the Notice to Proceed is issued? 8.3 9.3 8.2 6.9
4.4.7 During project types I, II, & III does the agency use uniformed law enforcement? 11.5 12.5 11.1 10.6
4.4.8 During type I, II, & III project construction does the agency use a public information plan that provides for specific and timely project information to the traveling public through a variety of outreach techniques, (e.g., agency website, newsletters, public meetings, radio, and other media outlets)? 11.4 11.7 11.5 10.4
4.4.9 During type I, II, & III projects, does the agency use intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies to collect and disseminate information to motorists and agency personnel on work zone conditions? 7.2 8.6 6.9 5.6
4.4.10 Does the agency provide/require training of contractor staff on the proper layout, and use of traffic control devices? 9.5 11.0 9.7 5.9
4.4.11 Does the agency provide training to uniformed law enforcement personnel on work zone devices and layouts? 3.7 5.7 3.1 2.0

Section 5 - Communication and Education
Item Question Overall Mean (n=52) Greater than 75% (n=15) 50% to 74.9% (n=29) Less than 50% (n=8)
4.5.1 Does the agency maintain and update a work zone website providing timely and relevant traveler impact information for project types I, II & III that allows travelers to effectively make travel plans? 9.2 9.7 9.2 8.4
4.5.2 Does the agency sponsor National Work Zone Awareness week? 10.3 12.2 10.1 7.9
4.5.3 Does the agency assume a proactive role in work zone educational efforts? 10.5 11.3 10.2 10.0

Section 6 - Program Evaluation
Item Question Overall Mean (n=52) Greater 75% (n=15) 50% to 74.9% (n=29) Less than 50% (n=8)
4.6.1 Does the agency collect data to track work zone congestion and delay in accord with agency established work zone congestion and delay measures? (See Section 1, item 4.1.4) 2.8 4.0 2.6 1.1
4.6.2 Does the agency collect data to track work zone safety performance in accord with agency work zone crash measures? (See Section 1, item 4.1.5) 6.3 8.0 6.2 3.8
4.6.3 Does the agency conduct customer surveys to evaluate work zone traffic management practices and polices on a statewide/area-wide basis? 4.4 5.3 4.3 3.3
4.6.4 Does agency develop strategies to improve work zone performance based on work zone performance data and customer surveys?  5.0 7.2 4.7 2.3

Appendix B

Item Scores by Annual Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT) on National Highway System (millions)


Section 1 - Leadership and Policy
Item Question Overall Mean Greater than 20,000 (n=25) 10,000 to 20,000 (n=10) Less than 10,000 (n=17)
4.1.1 Has the agency developed a process to determine whether a project is impact type I, II, or III or IV? 5.7 5.8 6.1 5.4
4.1.2 Has the agency established strategic goals specifically to reduce congestion and delay in work zones? 5.5 5.8 4.4 4.8
4.1.3 Has the agency established strategic goals specifically to reduce crashes in work zones? 6.1 6.6 6.8 5.4
4.1.4 Has the agency established measures (e.g., vehicle throughput, queue length, etc.) to track work zone congestion and delay? 3.9 4.8 3.3 2.8
4.1.5 Has the agency established measures (e.g., crash rates, etc.) to track work zone crashes? 7.5 7.3 8.0 6.9
4.1.6 Has the agency established a policy for the development of Transportation Management Plans to reduce congestion and crashes due to work zones? 5.9 6.2 5.4 4.3
4.1.7 Has the agency established work zone performance guidance that addresses: maximum queue lengths, number of open lanes, maximum traveler delay, etc.? 6.9 7.9 5.9 5.5
4.1.8 Has the agency established criteria to support the use of project execution strategies (e.g. night work and full closure) to reduce public exposure to work zones, and reduce the duration of work zones? 8.2 8.6 8.4 5.9
4.1.9 Has the agency developed policies to support the use of innovative contracting strategies to reduce contract performance periods? 8.7 9.2 10.1 6.7
4.1.10 Has the agency established Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between utility suppliers that promote the proactive coordination of long range transportation plans with long range utility plans to reduce project delays and minimize the number of work zones on the highway? 4.1 3.8 5.2 4.4

Section 2 - Project Planning and Programming
Item Question Overall Mean Greater than 20,000 (n=25) 10,000 to 20,000 (n=10) Less than 10,000 (n=17)
4.2.1 Does the agency's planning process actively use analytical traffic modeling programs to determine the impact of future type I & II road construction and maintenance activities on network performance? 5.4 5.3 6.5 4.7
4.2.2 Does the agency's planning process include developing alternative network options (e.g., frontage roads, increased capacity on parallel arterials, beltways, strategically placed connectors, etc.) to maintain projected traffic volumes due to future road construction and maintenance activities? 5.8 6.2 6.9 4.3
4.2.3 Does the agency's planning process manage the transportation improvement program to eliminate future network congestion due to poorly prioritized and uncoordinated execution of projects? 6.5 6.8 7.4 6.1
4.2.4 Does the agency's transportation planning process include a planning cost estimate review for work types I, II, & III that accounts for traffic management costs, (e.g., incident management, public information campaigns, positive separation elements, unformed law enforcement, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), etc)? 6.3 5.8 6.5 5.3
4.2.5 Does the agency's transportation planning process include active involvement from the planners during the project design stage to assist in the development of congestion mitigation strategies for type I & II projects? 6.2 5.4 7.3 5.3
4.2.6 Does the agency's transportation planning process engage the planners as part of a multidisciplinary/multiagency-team in the development of Transportation Management Plans involving major corridor improvements? 6.9 5.8 7.7 6.1

Section 3 - Project Design
Item Question Overall Mean Greater than 20,000 (n=25) 10,000 to 20,000 (n=10) Less than 10,000 (n=17)
4.3.1 During project design does the agency have a process to estimate and use road user costs to evaluate and select, based on road user costs, project strategies, (e.g., full closure, night work traffic management alternatives, detours, etc.) for work type I & II projects? 7.6 7.2 6.9 6.9
4.3.2  During the project design does the agency develop a Transportation Management Plan that addresses all operational impacts specifically focused on project congestion for work type I & II projects? 8.4 6.8 9.4 8.0
4.3.3  During project design, does the agency use multidisciplinary teams consisting of agency staff to develop Transportation Management Plans for type I & II projects? 9.0 6.7 10.1 9.1
4.3.4 During project design, does the agency perform constructability reviews that include project strategies that are intended to reduce congestion and traveler delays during construction and maintenance activities for type I & II projects? 9.6 8.3 9.7 9.4
4.3.5 During project design, does the agency use independent contractors or contractor associations to provide construction process input to expedite project contract time for type I & II projects?  5.4 5.3 7.1 4.6
4.3.6 During project design, does the agency use time and performance based scheduling techniques such as Critical Path Method or parametric models to determine contract performance times for work type I & II projects? 8.2 7.4 8.6 7.0
4.3.7 During project design, does the agency have a process to evaluate the appropriate use of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies to minimize congestion in and around work zones for type I, II, & III projects?  5.1 4.6 6.0 3.8
4.3.8 During project design, does the agency have a process to consider the use life cycle costing in selecting materials that reduce the frequency and duration of work zones for type I, II & III projects? 8.3 7.5 9.0 7.5
4.3.9 Does the agency have a process to assess projects for the use of positive separation devices for type I & II projects? 10.7 9.3 13.0 9.6
4.3.10 During project design, does the agency anticipate and design projects to mitigate future congestion impacts due to repair and maintenance activities for type I, II & III projects? 7.9 5.8 7.4 8.0
4.3.11 In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use contractor involvement in the development of the Traffic Control Plan for type I & II projects? 4.9 4.6 6.4 4.9
4.3.12 In developing the Traffic Control Plan for a project, does the agency use computer modeling to assess Traffic Control Plan impacts on traffic flow characteristics, e.g., speed, delay, capacity, etc. for  type I & II projects? 5.0 6.8 5.9 3.8

Section 4 - Project Construction and Operations
Item Question Overall Mean (n=52) Greater than 20,000 (n=25) 10,000 to 20,000 (n=10) Less than 10,000 (n=17)
4.4.1 Is the letting schedule altered or optimized to reflect the available resources and capabilities of the construction industry? 7.9 7.2 8.3 7.9
4.4.2 Is the letting schedule altered or optimized to minimize disruptions to major traffic corridors? 8.7 9.1 8.9 8.9
4.4.3  In bidding type I &II projects, does the agency include road user costs in establishing incentives or disincentives to minimize road user delay due to work zones (e.g., I/D, A+B, Lane Rental, etc.)?  9.5 7.8 11.4 8.7
4.4.4 In bidding type I, II, & III contracts, does the agency use performance-based selection to eliminate contractors who consistently demonstrate their inability to complete a quality job within the contract time? 5.5 4.5 5.9 4.8
4.4.5 In bidding type I & II project contracts, does the agency use incident management services (e.g., wrecker, push vehicles, service patrols, etc)? 8.0 8.3 10.8 4.6
4.4.6 In bidding contracts, does the agency use flexible starting provisions after the Notice to Proceed is issued? 8.3 7.1 9.5 7.8
4.4.7 During project types I, II, & III does the agency use uniformed law enforcement? 11.5 13.0 11.0 9.2
4.4.8 During type I, II, & III project construction does the agency use a public information plan that provides for specific and timely project information to the traveling public through a variety of outreach techniques, (e.g., agency website, newsletters, public meetings, radio, and other media outlets)? 11.4 11.1 11.6 11.1
4.4.9 During type I, II, & III projects, does the agency use intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies to collect and disseminate information to motorists and agency personnel on work zone conditions? 7.2 7.6 8.2 5.8
4.4.10 Does the agency provide/require training of contractor staff on the proper layout, and use of traffic control devices? 9.5 9.2 11.8 8.9
4.4.11 Does the agency provide training to uniformed law enforcement personnel on work zone devices and layouts? 3.7 4.0 4.0 3.1

Section 5 - Communication and Education
Item Question Overall Mean (n=52) Greater than 20,000 (n=25) 10,000 to 20,000 (n=10) Less than 10,000 (n=17)
4.5.1 Does the agency maintain and update a work zone website providing timely and relevant traveler impact information for project types I, II & III that allows travelers to effectively make travel plans? 9.2 8.0 10.6 8.5
4.5.2 Does the agency sponsor National Work Zone Awareness week? 10.3 10.8 11.1 8.1
4.5.3 Does the agency assume a proactive role in work zone educational efforts? 10.5 10.3 11.2 9.1

Section 6 - Program Evaluation
Item Question Overall Mean (n=52) Greater than 20,000 (n=25) 10,000 to 20,000 (n=10) Less than 10,000 (n=17)
4.6.1 Does the agency collect data to track work zone congestion and delay in accord with agency established work zone congestion and delay measures? (See Section 1, item 4.1.4) 2.8 2.6 2.3 2.6
4.6.2 Does the agency collect data to track work zone safety performance in accord with agency work zone crash measures? (See Section 1, item 4.1.5) 6.3 5.8 8.7 5.2
4.6.3 Does the agency conduct customer surveys to evaluate work zone traffic management practices and polices on a statewide/area-wide basis? 4.4 4.6 5.6 2.9
4.6.4 Does agency develop strategies to improve work zone performance based on work zone performance data and customer surveys?  5.0 4.0 6.3 3.4

[1] Federal Highway Administration Office of Transportation Operations. Meeting the Customer's Needs for Mobility and Safety During Construction and Maintenance Operations:  Work Zone Traffic Management State of the Practice. Evaluation Report. September 28, 2001.

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