Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program
Photo collage: temporary lane closure, road marking installation, cone with mounted warning light, and drum separated work zones.
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FHWA Work Zone Facts and Statistics

Introduction

Access Comprehensive Work Zone Data Sets

For additional data visit the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse.

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Work zones play a key role in maintaining and upgrading our Nation's roadways. Unfortunately, daily changes in traffic patterns, narrowed rights-of-way, and other construction activities often create a combination of factors resulting in crashes, injuries, and fatalities. These crashes also cause excessive delays, especially given the constrained driving environment.

This page highlights work zone-related data insights. Understanding trends in the data is the first step to making changes to improve work zone safety, mobility, and constructability. For additional information and data, please visit the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse.

Work Zone Exposure. In the US, one work zone fatality occurs for every 4 billion vehicle-miles of travel1 and for every $112 million worth of roadway construction expenditures.2, 3

Work Zone Fatalities. Between 2016 and 2017, fatal crashes in work zones increased by 3 percent while fatal crashes outside of work zones decreased by 1.5 percent.4

Work Zone Congestion. Work zones account for an estimated 10 percent of overall congestion5 and 24 percent of unexpected freeway delays.6

Work Zone Fatalities by Transportation Mode7

Total Work Zone fatalities by transportation mode- Total: 2016 (782) 2017 (799) % Change (+2%), Drivers and Passengers: 2016 (652) 2017 (658) % Change (+1%), Pedestrians and bicyclists: 2016 (125) 2017 (136) % Change (+9%), Others: 2016 (5) 2017 (5) % Change (0%).

Worker Fatalities in Road Construction Sites8


Worker fatalities in road construction sites: 2016 (143), 2017 (132). footnote 8.

Work Zone Fatal Crashes by Type of Highway


First Pie chart: Total Work Zone Fatal Crashes by type of highway in 2016.  Total 668; Interstate 261; Arterial 355; Collector 51; Local 20; and Other 1. Second Pie Chart: Total Work Zone Fatal Crashes by type of highway in 2017.  Total 710; Interstate 283; Arterial 348; Collector 54; Local 15; and Other 10.

Fatal Work Zone Crashes Involving Large Trucks and Buses


Fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks or buses: 2016 (189), 2017 (222).

Work Zone Fatal Crashes where Speeding was a Factor


Fatal work zone crashes where speeding was a factor: 2016 (194), 2017 (203).

Sources:

1 Bureau of Transportation Statistics – 799 fatalities in work zones in 2017 and 3,174,408,000,000 VMT in 2016. Accessible at: https://www.bts.gov/. [ Return to Note 1 ]

2 Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Economic Data - Average estimate of total US road construction expenditures of $89,316,083,333 in 2017. Accessible at: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/. [ Return to Note 2 ]

3 National metrics do not exist for the number of work zones occurring annually or the vehicle-miles of exposure to work zones. [ Return to Note 3 ]

4 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) 2016 Final and 2017 Annual Report File, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). FARS data shown here are from the 50 States and the District of Columbia. Accessible at: https://www.workzonesafety.org/crash-information/work-zone-fatal-crashes-fatalities/#national. [ Return to Note 4 ]

5 Cambridge Systematics, Inc. and Texas Transportation Institute. Traffic Congestion and Reliability: Linking Solutions to Problems. Final Report prepared for FHWA. July 19, 2004.  Accessible at: https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/congestion_report_04/congestion_report.pdf. (See Figure ES. 4). [ Return to Note 5 ]

6 Chin, S.M., O. Franzese, D.L. Greene, H.L. Hwang, and R.C. Gibson. Temporary Losses of Highway Capacity and Impacts on Performance: Phase 2. Prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.  November 2004.  Accessible at: https://info.ornl.gov/sites/publications/Files/Pub57300.pdf. (See Figure 30). [ Return to Note 6 ]

7 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) 2016 Final and 2017 Annual Report File, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). FARS data shown here are from the 50 States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Accessible at: https://www.workzonesafety.org/crash-information/work-zone-fatal-crashes-fatalities/#national. [ Return to Note 7 ]

8 2016 and 2017 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in cooperation with State, New York City, District of Columbia, and Federal agencies, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Accessible at: https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm. [ Return to Note 8 ]

Note: Figures are subject to revision, as values reported in FARS may be updated intermittently. Values shown here reflect what is reported by NHTSA as of November 2018.

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