Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program

Work Zone Awareness Week: Outreach Ideas and Strategies Webinar
February 6, 2013

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Missouri Department of Transportation Presentation, by Julie Stotlemeyer, Missouri Department of Transportation

slide 1

Work Zone Awareness 2012

Screenshot of the cover of a work zone safety awareness week outreach document warning drivers 'Don't Barrel Through Work Zones, Drive Smart to Arrive Alive' and a photo of a post-mounted sign on a Texas highway that reads 'Hit a Worker, $10,000 Fine, Lose Your License.'

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slide notes:

slide 2

National Work Zone Kickoff in MO

  • April 23, Chesterfield, Route 141 Relocation project
  • Featuring national work zone memorial wall
  • Featuring: FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez
  • Missouri was awarded this honor from ATSSA & NWZAW executive committee – based on past history of safe work
National Work Zone Memorial

slide notes:

2012 National Work Zone Awareness Kickoff Event was in St. Louis, which is the first time away from the Washington D.C. area. We were awarded the kickoff by ATSSA & NWZAW exec committee because of our safety efforts in work zones and work zone awareness – American Traffic Safety Services Association & National Work Zone Awareness Week executive committee.

MoDOT continue the theme Don't Barrel Through Work Zones in 2012. Our education efforts last year, started Work Zone Awareness Week April 23-27 and continue through Labor Day weekend.

slide 3

Selection Reasons

  • Measurable Results
  • Project Selection
  • Education & Outreach Efforts
  • Innovations
  • New Communication Strategies
  • Partnerships

slide notes:

slide 4

Chart depicts number of work zone fatalities in Missouri for 2008-11 and a comparison of 3rd quarter 2011 with 3rd quarter 2012. There were 12 fatalities in 2008, 14 in 2009 and 2010, 10 in 2011, and 6 as of the third quarter of both 2011 and 2012.

slide notes:


The 10-year average for fatalities is in work zones is 17, so we are making progress. In all of the past five years we have been below that number.

  • Fatalities fell from 14 people in 2010 to 10 in 2011.
  • There were 878 people injured in 2010 work zones, compared to 536 in 2011.
  • This is a decrease in injuries of over 39%.  
  • Crashes were down 30% while our number of work zones increased by 3%.

slide 5


  • Rt. 141 – Missouri's Largest ARRA Project
  • Enhance Traffic Flow, Reduce Congestion & Generate $ 1B in Economic Impact
  • Intelligent Compaction, Two-lift Paving & "Smog-eating Concrete"

slide notes:

Rt. 141 project was Missouri's largest American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project of $45 million. The project upgrading will enhance traffic flow through the region, reduce congestion and generate $1 billion in economic impact over the next 20 years.

The project had its own website and blog sites to promote the projects and listen to concerns.

With this project, MoDOT tested several innovative techniques of intelligent compaction, two-lifting paving and photocatalytic additive for the concrete which absorbs and breaks down pollution into harmless elements ("smog-eating concrete").

With the project, the continual effort MoDOT emphasizes for work zone including education, engineering practices and enforcement.

slide 6

Outreach and Education

  • Work Zone Awareness Week April 23-27, 2012
  • Messages via radio, internet, social media
  • Truck ads, and ads on televisions on top of gas pumps
  • Barrel Bob continues...
Back of an 18-wheel commercial truck with a 'Don't Barrel Through Work Zones' poster mounted to the back door.

slide notes:

Research shows most of the people in work zone crashes are males 25-54. So, to most effectively get the work zone safety messages to them, we'll be using ads strategically in many places including the back of trucks on the interstate like the one in this picture, gas stations video gas pump toppers, on the internet and radio stations.

Last year, MoDOT added a BRAND NEW component with the wildly popular Barrel Bob personality (thanks to Kansas City District). He was added to all our media components and has his very own Facebook page (which you can become a fan of) and also Twitter posts.

slide 7

Barrel Bob

  • 6 Barrel Bob characters across Missouri
  • Barrel Bob Facebook page continues with more than 5,300 followers
  • 1st Place – WZ Safety – Outreach Program/State – ARTBA
  • 2nd Place – NAGC Facebook Award
Three versions of the Barrel Bob character. The character is made up of orange work zone barrels and conveys the message for drivers to slow down in work zones.

slide notes:

Barrel Bob became wildly popular across the state. We will continue to promote his facebook page that has more than 5,300 followers as well as using him to encourage motorists to rate our work zones.

We now have six Barrel Bobs to watch over work zones and spread the message about work zone safety.

1st Place – 2012 Work Zone Safety Awareness Award Competition in the Outreach Program/State category in a contest sponsored by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

2nd Place – National Association of Government Communicators Facebook Award

slide 8

Screenshot of MoDOT's website with a banner advertising MoDOT's traveler information smart phone app.

slide notes:

The new Traveler Information Map App gives work zone information and Rate Our Work Zone button on MoDOT's mobile site for use on any smart phone.

In addition the traditional electronic map on the MoDOT website provides great information and continues to be one of the most visited pages on the website.

slide 9

Other Outreach & Education

  • Posters, fliers, placemats & banners
  • District memorial events
  • Partnership with Labor Unions at rest areas
  • Changeable message board messages
  • MoDOT Close Calls video for YouTube

slide notes:

We also used all non-paid options we can including partnering with the Laborer's Union at many of our rest areas to hand out work zone safety materials (an event we've done for many years), messages on our own electronic message boards, updating work zone safety information on our website, and providing other materials like posters and placemats for kids.

Another new item this year is a close calls video for YouTube that features some MoDOT employees talking about their experience in the work zone.

slide 10

Dynamic Message Signs

  • Work zone awareness and distracted driving messages rotated throughout the state
  • Only incident, work zone, and distracted driving messages to appear on rural message boards during the week

Three messages displayed on a rotating bases on dynamic message signs. They read 'Work Zone Awareness Week MoDOT Cares,' 'Please do Not Text and Drive MoDOT Cares,' and 'Don't Barrel through Work Zones MoDOT Cares.'

slide notes:

Dynamic message signs (DMS) was used across the state to promote Work Zone Awareness Week. At the same time, the opportunity will be taken to discourage distracted driving. These two types of messages (work zone awareness and distracted driving) will be rotated throughout the state in conjunction with one another.

On the 66 rural message boards, the entire week will be dedicated to the rotation of these types of messages along with any real incidents or construction impacts that need to be communicated to motorists.

slide 11

Work Zone Customer Survey

  • Rate work zones on MoDOT website, postcards at rest areas, welcome centers, public meetings, signs on projects and mass mailings
  • Results so far: 1700+ submitted in 2012
  • Meeting customer expectations: 87%

Rate our Work Zone at

slide notes:

Customer surveys are available on the internet and are distributed in hard copy at rest areas and welcome centers. Also distributed at public meetings and even in the work zone. We started mass mailings for projects. The response information from the survey is distributed in the same day that it is received.

This tool has prompted changes to our temporary traffic control based on public feedback.

Also received national recognition as the only state providing customers with a voice about our work zones.

slide 12

Work Zone Management Focus

  • Work Zone Planning efforts
    • Proactive on congestion
    • Predictive Modeling
    • New technologies
    • Portable cameras
    • Improved Traffic Management Plans
  • No delays without warning
    • Message boards
    • Static signs
Portable and permanent message boards displaying work zone information messages.

slide notes:

The planning of our work zones starts in the very early stages of design. The Work Zone efforts must be considered along with the design of the necessary scope of work in order to minimize impacts to our motorists.

Our project core teams include District and Central Office staff that provide the expertise for suggesting the appropriate temporary traffic control.

Our designers are using effective modeling tools that help forecast queue length during certain volumes of traffic. These tools help us establish any needed work hour restrictions.

MoDOT continues to improve Work Zones by mitigating congestion or potential delays.

We are using more Real Time technologies with in the work zones to detect and notify our staff the instant that any delays happen. Portable Camera units will help us monitor WZ's too on certain locations without any current Camera technology.

Congestion mitigation plans are pre-established so that the response is known by all stakeholders if/when congestion or a delay occurs. Under no circumstances do we want any motorist to experience a delay without having adequate advanced warning through electronic or static signs.

slide 13

TMC Monitoring of Mobile Work Zones

  • Notify TMC of Mobile Operation
  • Dynamic Message System will notify public
  • TMC will monitor and inform the operations of travel delay, crashes, etc.

One photo of a bank of wall-mounted TMC monitors and one of a staff person manning a computer terminal in a TMC.

slide notes:

Both Kansas City and St. Louis had an average 34% decrease of crashes from 2010 to 2011. St. Louis and Kansas City saw a 32% and 35% decrease of injuries, respectively.

Our Traffic Management Centers will continue to provide direct support to all Mobile Operations in the Metro areas.

A protocol for consistent communication will aid in this support.

Motorists will be provided with timely and accurate information well in advance of the mobile operation via electronic message signs.

Additionally, the mobile operation will be notified of other delays or vehicle crashes in the area that could be problematic for the operation.

slide 14

Sequential Lights

  • Provide a continuous light sequence along the taper of a work zone
  • Recommended for nighttime interstate projects

Collage depicting sequential lights on cones creating a taper to close a travel lane in a work zone, a single yellow beacon, and a nighttime work zone equipped with sequential lighting.

slide notes:

For lane closures on our interstate routes at night you can expect to see a new sequential light system.

This device is a relatively new product that was recently approved as a Focus Technology by AASHTO's Technology Implementation Group. (The "Tow plow" was also a Focus technology as an example of what this means)

Missouri will chair the lead states team for promoting this technology around the country.

slide 15

Increased Law Enforcement

MSHP Operation Protect – 27 agencies

  • Total hours worked 2011 – 3,940
  • Total Violations – 2,310
  • DWI – 12
  • Speeding – 1,244
  • Careless and Imprudent – 11
  • Occupant Restraint Violations – 409
  • Drug Arrests – 18
  • Felony Arrests – 16
  • Suspended/Revoked Licenses – 94
Missouri State police cruiser in a work zone.

slide notes:

Law enforcement always plays a key role in keeping our work zones safe. We continue to fund additional hours for increased law enforcement when we can. Here are a few statistics on the law enforcement efforts from 2011.

Current efforts are to ensure that we are maximizing our STIP commitments for the use of law enforcement in work zones.

slide 16

Lessons Learned

  • Start early identifying all key people, partners (ATSSA, AGC, etc.) groups, companies, etc.
  • Meet regularly as a TEAM
  • Identify resources that different groups can provide

slide notes:

MoDOT and FHWA started working with different groups almost a year before the event, mostly identifying all the different people and groups for the event – example Law Enforcement, Laborers Union, Private companies, local agencies.

The groups started to meet regularly as a TEAM, started monthly and toward the end about weekly, normally over the phone.

FHWA and MoDOT provided resources and people for the promotion of the event around the state besides in St. Louis. One example which was out of the box for MODOT was a private company promoting the Work Zone Customer Survey by donating fuel card to be used in a drawing. If the traveling public filled out a Work Zone Customer Survey within the Work Zone Awareness Week their name could be selected to win a fuel card for a certain amount.

slide 17


  • Largest event by attendees, speakers and media
  • Speakers – FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez, congressional, St. Louis city/county, industry, highway patrol, and family members of fallen MoDOT worker Josh Slatten

slide notes:

Building the different groups, MoDOT was able to increase the number of interested parties for the event.

slide 18


Julie Stotlemeyer

Daniel Smith

slide notes:

The bottom line on all these efforts is the safety of everyone who drives through work zones or works on or along Missouri roads. We tip our hats to those who put their lives on the line every day and we urge motorists to slow down and pay attention in work zones.

Office of Operations