Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program

1.0 Introduction

1.1 What is a TMP?

A transportation management plan (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. Transportation management strategies for a work zone include temporary traffic control measures and devices, public information and outreach, and operational strategies such as travel demand management, signal retiming, and traffic incident management. The scope, content, and level of detail of a TMP may vary based on the State or local transportation agency's[1] work zone policy and the anticipated work zone impacts of the project.

1.2 Why Develop and Implement TMPs?

Our highways are at an age where they require more reconstruction and repair, resulting in more work zones. At the same time, highway traffic volumes and congestion are increasing, with very little growth in road miles. As a result, more work is being done on roadways with pre-existing high traffic demand, adding pressure on agencies and contractors to compress schedules and sometimes perform work at night. Work zone safety continues to be a concern, with more than 41,000 injuries and 1,028 fatalities in work zones in 2003[2]. Further, travelers are frustrated with the delays, unexpected road conditions, and inconsistencies caused by work zones.

The above trends indicate a strong need for better management of the impacts of road construction and maintenance projects. 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 (the Rule). One of the goals of the updated Rule is to expand work zone impacts management beyond traffic safety and control by using transportation management strategies, as applicable to the project. Inclusion of these strategies helps to reduce traffic and mobility impacts, improve safety, and promote coordination within and around the work zone. This will be accomplished through the development of TMPs. TMPs are required by the Rule for all Federal-aid highway projects. Section 1.5 contains a discussion on the Rule and how it addresses TMPs.

Work zone impacts and issues vary, so agencies need to develop and implement TMPs that best serve the mobility and safety needs of their road users, highway workers, businesses, and community. Projects anticipated to have greater work zone impacts may warrant additional attention during the project delivery process and/or additional funding for transportation management strategies to manage the impacts. Therefore, it is important to have different types of TMPs for different projects based on the expected levels of work zone impacts.

"TMP – The use of a multi-faceted and multi-jurisdictional program of operational, communications, and demand management strategies to maintain acceptable levels of traffic flow during periods of construction activities. Typically, TMPs consist of elements from each of the following areas: Public Information, Motorist Information, Incident Management, Construction Strategies, Demand Management Strategies, and Alternative Route Strategies. A TMP can be used for either single projects or for coordination of multiple projects within a given area."

Source: Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) policy on Traffic Management in Work Zones Interstate and Other Freeways, Policy No.: 516-003(P), July 18, 2000. Available online in the Policy section of ODOT's web site. URL: (Accessed 09/08/05).

Some of the key benefits of a TMP are to help:

  • Address the broader safety and mobility impacts of work zones at the corridor and network levels.
  • Promote more efficient and effective construction phasing and staging, minimize contract duration, and control costs.
  • Improve work zone safety for construction workers and the traveling public.
  • Minimize the traffic and mobility impacts of a work zone.
  • Improve public awareness.
  • Minimize complaints from the traveling public and local businesses and communities.
  • Minimize circulation, access, and mobility impacts to local communities and businesses.
  • Improve intra- and inter-agency coordination.

"TMPs would streamline the process through which road user impacts due to work zones can be properly analyzed and addressed."

Source: Quote from Jawad Paracha, Maryland State Highway Administration, used in Transportation Management Plans for Work Zones Fact Sheet (FHWA-HOP-05-022), URL: (Accessed 11/18/05).

1.3 Purpose of this Document

This document is a compendium of guidance material, available resources, and suggested practices to help agencies develop, implement, and assess TMPs. Work zone objectives, needs, and issues vary from project to project. Therefore, it is ultimately up to agencies to establish procedures and implement TMPs that best serve the safety and mobility needs of the traveling public, highway workers, businesses, and community. This Guide is not intended to present the only possible approach to develop and implement TMPs. Rather, this Guide sets forth some basic guiding principles and describes a general approach for developing, implementing, and assessing TMPs in order to assist agencies with developing their own procedures. This document also provides support to agencies in their efforts to implement the recently updated work zone regulations in 23 CFR 630 Subpart J. Other guidance documents related to the Rule are presented in Section 1.6.

1.4 Target Audience

The target audience for this document primarily includes 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 benefit from this Guide. Agencies are encouraged to develop and implement the TMP in consultation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and appropriate stakeholders, such as other transportation agencies, law enforcement, railroad agencies/operators, transit providers, freight movers, utility suppliers, emergency responders, schools, and business communities.

1.5 TMPs and the Work Zone Rule

The FHWA published the Work Zone Safety and Mobility Rule (the Rule) on September 9, 2004 in the Federal Register (69 FR 54562). The Rule updates and renames the former regulation on "Traffic Safety in Highway and Street Work Zones" in 23 CFR 630 Subpart J. All State and local governments that receive Federal-aid highway funding are affected by this updated Rule, and are required to comply with its provisions no later than October 12, 2007. While the Rule applies specifically to Federal-aid highway projects, agencies are encouraged to apply the good practices that it fosters to other road projects as well.

The Rule updates and broadens the former regulation to address more of the current issues affecting work zone safety and mobility by:

  • Fostering systematic assessment of the work zone impacts of road projects and development and implementation of transportation management strategies that help manage these impacts.
  • Expanding thinking beyond the project work zone itself to address corridor, network, and regional issues while planning and designing road projects.
  • Expanding work zone impacts management beyond traffic safety and control, to address mobility in addition to safety, and to address the broader concepts of transportation operations and public information.
  • Advocating innovative thinking in work zone planning, design, and management, so as to consider alternative/innovative design, construction, contracting, and transportation management strategies.

An important provision of the Rule is the requirement to develop TMPs for all projects. The former Rule required the development of traffic control plans (TCPs) for all road projects. A TCP is a plan for handling traffic through a specific highway or street work zone or project. The updated Rule expands the former TCP requirement to now require the development and implementation of TMPs for all projects. TMPs must include traffic control strategies, and may also include additional work zone management strategies based upon the expected work zone impacts of a project. The specific requirements associated with TMPs are in §630.1012 of the Rule and are summarized as follows:

  • The possible components that constitute a TMP are: the temporary traffic control (TTC) plan[3], the transportation operations (TO) component, and the public information (PI) component. A TMP shall always contain a TTC plan, while the requirement for the TO and PI components varies based on the project.
  • The distinguishing factor in the TMP requirements for different projects is whether a project is a significant project or not. Simply stated, a significant project is a project that the agency expects will cause a relatively high level of disruption. The Rule provides a more detailed definition of significant project, and specifically includes certain projects on the Interstate system. Identifying significant projects is intended to help agencies effectively develop appropriate TMPs.

What is a Significant Project?

Section 630.1010 of the Rule defines a significant project as one that, alone or in combination with other concurrent projects nearby, is anticipated to cause sustained work zone impacts that are greater than what is considered tolerable based on State policy and/or engineering judgment. All Interstate system projects within the boundaries of a designated Transportation Management Area (TMA) that occupy a location for more than three days with either intermittent or continuous lane closures shall be considered as significant projects.

  • For significant projects, the TMP shall consist of a TTC plan as well as transportation operations and public information components. A TTC plan addresses traffic safety and control through the work zone. The TO component addresses sustained operations and management of the work zone impact area, and the PI component addresses communication with the public and concerned stakeholders.
  • For projects that are not classified as significant projects, the TMP may consist only of a TTC plan. However, agencies are encouraged to consider TO and PI issues for these projects as well.
  • A TTC plan shall be consistent with the provisions under Part 6 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and with the work zone hardware recommendations in Chapter 9 of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Roadside Design Guide[4]. The TTC plan may be incorporated in the TMP by reference, such as reference to elements in the MUTCD or approved standard agency plans or manuals. TTC plans may also be specifically designed for individual projects. In developing and implementing the TTC plan, the Rule requires that pre-existing roadside safety hardware be maintained at an equivalent or better level than existed prior to project implementation.
  • Agencies should coordinate with appropriate stakeholders in developing a TMP.
  • The provisions for a TMP shall be included in the project's plans, specifications, and estimates (PS&Es). The PS&Es shall either contain all the applicable elements of an agency-developed TMP, or include provisions for a contractor to develop a TMP at the most appropriate project phase, as applicable to the agency's chosen contracting methodology for the project. In the case of contractor-developed TMPs, it is expected that the contractor would incorporate the minimum TMP requirements already developed by the agency during the planning process. For example, the PS&Es for a design-build project may include the skeleton for a TMP, as developed by the agency in its planning process, and the provisions for completing TMP development under the contract. The agency must approve contractor developed TMPs and they cannot be implemented until approved.
  • Pay item provisions for implementing the TMP shall be included in PS&Es, either through method-based (pay items, lump sum, or combination) or performance-based specifications (performance criteria and standards). Examples of potential performance criteria include number of crashes in the work zone, incident response or clearance time, travel time through the work zone, delay, queue length, and/or traffic volume.
  • The agency and the contractor shall each designate a trained person at the project-level who has the primary responsibility and sufficient authority for implementing the TMP. The designated personnel have to be appropriately trained (per §630.1008(d) of the Rule).

1.6 Overview of Guidance Material for the Rule

To help transportation agencies implement the provisions of the Rule, the FHWA has developed a suite of guidance documents that address the following topics:

  • Overall Rule Implementation. Provides an overview of the Rule and general guidance for implementing the Rule, lays out fundamental principles, and presents agencies with ideas for implementing the Rule's provisions.
  • Work Zone Impacts Assessment. Provides guidance on developing procedures to assess work zone impacts of road projects.
  • Work Zone Transportation Management Plans (TMPs). The guidance material provided in this document addresses this topic.
  • Work Zone Public Information and Outreach Strategies. Provides guidance on developing communications strategies to inform affected audiences about construction projects, their expected work zone impacts, and the changing conditions on projects.

All Rule resources will be available on the FHWA work zone web site at the following URL:

1.7 Key Terminology

The following list defines some of the key terminology used in this document:

  • Mobility. For work zones, mobility pertains to moving road users efficiently through or around a work zone area with a minimum delay compared to baseline travel when no work zone is present, while not compromising the safety of highway workers or road users. The commonly used performance measures for the assessment of mobility include delay, speed, travel time and queue lengths.
  • Safety. For work zones, safety refers to minimizing potential hazards to travelers and highway workers in the vicinity of a work zone.
  • Significant project. A significant project is one that, alone or in combination with other concurrent projects nearby is anticipated to cause sustained work zone impacts that are greater than what is considered tolerable based on agency policy and engineering judgment. All Interstate system projects within the boundaries of a designated Transportation Management Area (TMA)[5] that occupy a location for more than three days with either intermittent or continuous lane closures shall be considered as significant projects.
  • Work zone. The area of a roadway with construction, maintenance, or utility work activities. A work zone is typically marked by signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement markings, and/or work vehicles. It extends from the first warning sign or high-intensity rotating, flashing, oscillating, or strobe lights on a vehicle to the END ROAD WORK sign or the last TTC device.
  • Work zone impacts. Deviation from normal range of transportation system mobility and safety as a result of the presence of a work zone. The extent of the impacts may vary based on factors such as road classification, area type, travel characteristics, type of work, temporal factors, and project complexity.
  1. Hereinafter referred to as agency.
  2. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System and General Estimates System. Washington D.C., 2003.
  3. A TTC plan is the term currently used by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for what is commonly referred to as a TCP. The MUTCD is available at
  4. MUTCD URL: Roadside Design Guide, Chapter 9 - Traffic Barriers, Traffic Control Devices, and Other Safety Features for Work Zones, AASHTO, 2002, URL:
  5. 23 U.S.C. 134 (i)(1)(A) & (B) requires the Secretary of Transportation to designate as a TMA each urbanized area with a population of over 200,000 individuals. In addition, at the request of the Governor and metropolitan planning organization (MPO) (or affected local officials), other areas may be officially designated as TMAs by the Administrators of the FHWA and the FTA. The list of TMAs is contained in the July 8, 2002 Federal Register on pages 45173 to 45178 (

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