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

Regulation and Policy

traffic sign reading "Highway Workers - Give 'em a Brake"

Work Zone Safety and Mobility Rule (Subpart J)

The Work Zone Safety and Mobility Rule was published in the Federal Register (69 FR 54562) on September 9, 2004 with an effective date of October 12, 2007. The Rule was updated to address the changing times of more traffic, more congestion, more work zones on existing roads carrying traffic, and safety issues. The Work Zone Safety and Mobility Rule web page provides examples of Rule implementation and implementation guidance, including a work zone policy library providing examples of State Work Zone Safety and Mobility policies.

Temporary Traffic Control Devices Rule (Subpart K)

The Temporary Traffic Control Devices Rule was published in the Federal Register (72 FR 68480) on December 5, 2007 with an effective date of December 4, 2008. This rulemaking is in response to section 1110 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) and supplements FHWA's Work Zone Safety and Mobility Rule (Subpart J) to address conditions for the appropriate use of, and expenditure of funds for, uniformed law enforcement officers, positive protective measures between workers and motorized traffic, and installation and maintenance of temporary traffic control devices during construction, utility, and maintenance operations.

Update on Proposed Modifications in Highway Work Zones related regulation(s)

Section 1405 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) transportation bill called for the Secretary of Transportation to revise 23 CFR 630.1008 to require the use of positive protection in work zones under certain conditions. This was repeated in Section 1427 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST).

To fulfill the regulatory impact analysis requirement of Executive Order 12866, FHWA conducted a cost-benefit analysis to estimate the impact of the revisions and found that the costs to implement are higher than the anticipated benefits. These findings are counter to the direction found in Executive Order 13563, where "each agency must… propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs." Consequently, FHWA has not taken any further action on this rulemaking.

Draft Report on Cost-Benefit Analysis for MAP-21 Section 1405 (PDF, 328KB)

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all streets and highways. The MUTCD is published by FHWA under 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 655, Subpart F. On December 16, 2009 a final rule adopting the 2009 Edition of the MUTCD was published in the Federal Register. States must comply with this rule within two years. The Federal Register notice, which provides detailed discussion of the FHWA's decisions on major changes from the 2003 edition, can be viewed at (PDF 716KB). One of the changes related to work zones was the incorporation of worker visibility requirements (previously under FHWA's Worker Visibility Rule 23 CFR Part 634) in Part 6, Section 6D.03, requiring all workers within the right of way of any public roadway to wear high visibility garments meeting the ANSI 107-2004 Class 2 or 3 standard.

High Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear Standard

In January 2010, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved a revised edition of the standard, ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 (formerly ANSI/ISEA 107-2004). This standard provides a uniform, authoritative guide for the design, performance specifications, and use of high-visibility and reflective apparel including vests, jackets, bib/jumpsuit coveralls, trousers and harnesses. On May 20, 2010, FHWA issued an official interpretation that garments labeled as meeting ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 are in compliance with sections of the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) covering workers, flaggers and adult crossing guards. The language in the MUTCD makes reference to the 2004 edition of the standard.

Work Zone Safety for Highway Construction Standard

ANSI/ASSE A10.47-2009: Work Zone Safety for Highway Construction became effective on February 24, 2010 and applies to workers engaged in construction, utility work, maintenance, or repair activities on any area of a highway. It covers practices including Flagger Safety, Runover/Backover Prevention, Equipment Operator Safety, Illumination, Personal Protective Equipment, and more.

Crashworthy Work Zone Traffic Control Devices

FHWA policy calls for the use of crashworthy channelizers, signs, barricades, barriers, etc., in work zones on the National Highway System.

Highway Traffic and Construction Noise Rule

On July 13, 2010, FHWA published the Revised Final Rule on 23 CFR 772, "Procedures for Abatement of Highway Traffic Noise and Construction Noise" (Federal Register 39820). The final rule became effective on July 13, 2011. The final rule clarified and added definitions, the applicability of the regulation, certain analysis requirements, and the use of Federal funds for noise abatement measures. It also required all state highway agencies to update their state noise policies accordingly. All 52 policies were successfully updated to meet the July 13, 2011 implementation date.

Advance Construction of Federal Aid Projects

On August 26, 2008, FHWA issued the Final Rule on Advance Construction of Federal Aid Projects (23 CFR Part 630) (PDF 55KB) with an effective date of September 25, 2008. This rule aims to increase state flexibility in spending federal-aid highway funds. Under advance construction procedures, a state may begin projects without a guarantee of federal funds but with federal approval of the project. The state may then later apply to have the project converted to federal aid funding. The rule eliminates the requirement that states reserve federal funds for advance construction projects, some of which might not end up using federal money. That flexibility frees states to use the federal money for other projects.

Special Experimental Project (SEP-15) - Innovative Approaches to Project Delivery

In 2004, FHWA created the Special Experimental Project (SEP-15) to identify, for trial evaluation, innovative public-private partnership approaches to project delivery. SEP-15 addresses, but is not limited to contracting, compliance with environmental requirements, right-of-way acquisition, and project finance. The goals of SEP-15 are to increase project delivery flexibility, encourage innovation, improve timely project construction, and promote public-private partnerships. State DOT projects approved for participation in SEP-15 may be granted flexibility in meeting FHWA's traditional project approval requirements.

National Highway Work Zone Safety Program

The (PDF 203KB) National Highway Work Zone Safety Program (NHWZSP) was established in 1995 to enhance the safety and operational efficiency of highway work zones for highway users — motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists — and highway workers by improving the quality and effectiveness of traffic operations, safety appurtenances, traffic control devices, and maintenance of traffic bidding practices.

Transportation Operations, Management and ITS Legislation Tracking Database

The Transportation Operations, Management and ITS Legislation Tracking Database was developed by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in partnership with FHWA. The database includes executive orders and passed, pending and failed legislation from 2009 and 2010 that can be searched by state, topic, keyword, year, status, and/or primary sponsor. Topics relate to congestion management, traffic operations, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), demand management (including HOV and HOT lanes), work zones, and freight management and operations.

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