Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program

Executive Summary

In September 2004, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published updates to the work zone regulations at 23 CFR 630 Subpart J. The updated Rule is referred to as the Work Zone Safety and Mobility Rule (Rule) and applies to all State and local governments that receive Federal-aid highway funding. Transportation agencies are required to comply with the provisions of the Rule by October 12, 2007. The changes made to the regulations broaden the former Rule to better address the work zone issues of today and the future.

Growing congestion on many roads, and an increasing need to perform rehabilitation and reconstruction work on existing roads already carrying traffic, are some of the issues that have lead to additional, more complex challenges to maintaining work zone safety and mobility. To help address these issues, the Rule provides a decision-making framework that facilitates comprehensive consideration of the broader safety and mobility impacts of work zones across project development stages, and the adoption of additional strategies that help manage these impacts during project implementation. At the heart of the Rule is a requirement for agencies to develop an agency-level work zone safety and mobility policy. The policy is intended to support systematic consideration and management of work zone impacts across all stages of project development. Based on the policy, agencies will develop standard processes and procedures to support implementation of the policy. These processes and procedures shall include the use of work zone safety and operational data, work zone training, and work zone process reviews. Agencies are also encouraged to develop procedures for work zone impacts assessment. The third primary element of the Rule calls for the development of project-level procedures to address the work zone impacts of individual projects. These project-level procedures include identifying projects that an agency expects will cause a relatively high level of disruption (referred to in the Rule as significant projects) and developing and implementing transportation management plans (TMPs) for all projects.

To help transportation agencies understand and implement the provisions of the Rule, FHWA has been developing four guidance documents. This Guide is designed to help transportation agencies develop and implement TMPs. An overall Rule Implementation Guide provides a general overview of the Rule and overarching guidance for implementing the provisions of the Rule. Two additional technical guidance documents cover specific aspects of the Rule: work zone public information and outreach strategies, and work zone impacts assessment. All four of the guides include guidelines and sample approaches, examples from transportation agencies using practices that relate to the Rule, and sources for more information. The examples help illustrate that many transportation agencies already use some policies and practices that the Rule either encourages or requires, and that there is more than one way to achieve compliance with the Rule. While what these agencies are doing may not yet be fully compliant with the Rule, their current practices still serve as good examples of how to work toward Rule implementation. While the guides cover aspects of the Rule, they also contain information that can be useful to agencies in all of their efforts to improve safety and mobility in and around work zones and thereby support effective operations and management of our transportation system.

State and local transportation agencies and FHWA are partners in trying to bring about improved work zone safety and mobility. Consistent with that partnership, the Rule advocates a partnership between agencies and FHWA in Rule implementation and compliance. Staff from the respective FHWA Division Offices, Resource Center, and Headquarters will work with their agency counterparts to support implementation and compliance efforts. This guidance document is one key element of that support.

Contents of this Guide

A TMP lays out a set of coordinated transportation management strategies and describes how they will be used to manage the work zone impacts of a road project. The scope, content, and level of detail of a TMP may vary based on agency's work zone policy and the anticipated work zone impacts of the project. The intended audience for this Guide is the persons responsible for developing TMPs. Depending on the agency's processes and procedures, this may be agency personnel and/or contractors. Persons responsible for TMP-related policy/procedure development and revision, implementation, review, approval, and assessment will also benefit from this Guide.

Section 1 of this Guide goes into more detail about the definition of a TMP; provides an overview of why developing, implementing, and assessing TMPs is important; describes the purpose of the Guide; and expands on the intended audience for the Guide. Section 1 also describes how TMPs fit into the updated Rule.

Section 2 describes how and where a TMP fits into project-level processes and procedures. It provides guidance and tips to support the development and use of TMPs and offers examples of related practices currently in use by various transportation agencies. This section includes a general TMP development process diagram that may be used as a starting point for agencies to consider in developing TMP procedures and TMPs for specific projects.

Section 3 contains a list of the components that could be considered for inclusion in TMPs. The components discussed include elements of the TMP document itself, as well as elements for implementation and evaluation of the TMP. For each component, the Guide includes a definition and a description of some of the key items and issues to consider. This section is supported by Appendix A, which contains a TMP component checklist.

Section 4 describes various work zone management strategies. The strategies are grouped into categories representing the three main TMP areas: temporary traffic control, public information, and transportation operations. This section provides brief definitions for the strategies and is supported by Appendix B, which contains information to help agencies determine when to consider the strategies, pros/cons, and whether the strategies are likely to improve mobility and/or safety.

The Guide closes with Section 5, which provides a number of examples and practices describing how agencies are currently using TMPs. This section contains a table listing resource information and web links to some examples of TMPs, TMP-related policies and procedures, and other TMP practices.

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