Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program

2.0 Process for TMP Development, Implementation, and Assessment

This section provides guidance on how and where a transportation management plan (TMP) fits into the processes and procedures that are part of a typical project delivery process for road projects. It provides guidance on policies and processes that support the development and use of TMPs and also offers examples of related practices currently in use by various State and local transportation agencies.[1] This section concludes with tips for effective TMPs.

2.1 How and When Should TMPs be Developed, Implemented, and Assessed?

TMP development begins during systems planning and progresses through the design phase of a project. Existing project development processes can provide valuable information to guide TMP development. For example, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process during project planning may be a key source of inputs or constraints for the project. Developing the TMP will involve the identification of applicable transportation management strategies to manage the impacts of the project. The costs for the management strategies needs to be incorporated in early project estimates and the budgeting process to ensure that funding is available for TMP implementation. This is especially applicable to projects likely to have greater work zone impacts. The TMP development process is iterative and evolves through project design. As the TMP evolves, it is important to reassess the management strategies to confirm that the work zone impacts are addressed and the necessary funding is available. The TMP may be re-evaluated and revised prior to and during implementation and monitoring. Finally, both project level and program level assessments of the TMP are recommended to evaluate the effectiveness of the management strategies and improve TMP policies, processes, and procedures.

2.2 TMP Development, Implementation, and Assessment Process

According to the updated Rule (the Rule), TMPs are required for all Federal-aid highway projects and consist of strategies to manage the work zone impacts of a project. Figure 2.1 presents a general TMP development process diagram that may be used as a starting point for agencies to consider when developing TMP procedures and TMPs for specific projects. The example process in Figure 2.1 shows three types of TMPs (Basic, Intermediate, and Major). Agencies may elect to develop a different number of categories of TMPs than what is described here.

Each of the eleven steps in the diagram is explained in the remainder of this section. References to the expected work zone impacts of a project are made throughout the steps. Additional information pertaining to the specifics of how work zone impacts may be progressively assessed through each stage of project delivery/development can be found in Work Zone Impacts Assessment: An Approach to Assess and Manage Work Zone Safety and Mobility Impacts of Road Projects.[2]

Figure 2-1

Figure 2.1 A Process for TMP Development

2.2.1 TMP Development During Planning, Preliminary Engineering, and Design

Two of the keys to a successful TMP are:

  • Developing it as early as possible.
  • Using a multidisciplinary approach.

Although a full TMP document is not developed until design, conducting some TMP analyses during systems planning[3] and preliminary engineering will help ensure that the TMP development and implementation costs are included in the project budget. At this early stage, more alternatives for addressing work zone impacts are available, so a broader range of strategies can be chosen. Early TMP development will also help with scheduling and coordinating projects to minimize the cumulative work zone impacts of multiple projects along a corridor or in a region. This includes examining the adequacy of detour or alternate routes and coordinating with the agencies responsible for those routes. Another strategy available in the earlier stages of project development is to consider work zone impacts in the evaluation and selection of design alternatives. For some projects it may be possible to choose a design alternative that alleviates many work zone impacts. These broader strategies cross various disciplines and highlight the need for a multidisciplinary approach.

Steps towards TMP development that might occur during planning, preliminary engineering, and design are described below. The steps to TMP development are intended to work in an iterative manner where the level of detail progressively increases from planning through preliminary engineering through design, as more project specific information becomes available.

Step 1 – Compile Project Material

Staff responsible for each stage of the project (planning, preliminary engineering, design, construction) begin by compiling available project materials such as:

  • Project definition (project scope, roadway and traffic characteristics, other factors such as public outreach, community information, etc.).
  • Construction phasing/staging approaches and plans.
  • Preliminary work zone management strategies.
  • Preliminary cost estimates for strategy implementation (when available).
  • Information from other projects in the corridor to evaluate the combined or cumulative impact of the projects.

The planning or design team should work with traffic engineering/operations personnel and other relevant technical specialists (such as right-of-way experts, pavement engineers, environmental specialists, etc.) to obtain the project information and help identify potential issues or concerns. This collaboration can help in developing the best combination of design, construction phasing/staging, and work zone management strategies. As more information and data become available, the management strategies and their costs should be refined.

Step 2 – Determine TMP Needs

The components of a TMP for a project are based on the expected work zone impacts of a project and whether the project is determined to be significant. Section 1.7 provides a definition of significant projects.

Identification of significant projects should be:

  • Based upon the agency's work zone policies and procedures, and the project's characteristics and anticipated work zone impacts.
  • Conducted as early as possible in the project delivery and development process.
  • Done in cooperation with FHWA.

Agencies may already have policies that lay out criteria and requirements for significant projects. If no policies exist, agencies are encouraged to develop policies for determining when a project is significant. The Rule is specific for one case: "Interstate system projects within the boundaries of a designated Transportation Management Area (TMA)[4] that occupy a location for more than three days with either intermittent or continuous lane closures shall be considered as significant projects." Exceptions may be requested from the FHWA if the agency can demonstrate that the project, or category of projects, does not have sustained work zone impacts.

According to the California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans) policy guidance, "Significant traffic impact is 30 minutes above normal recurring traffic delay on the existing facility or the delay threshold set by the District Traffic Manager (DTM), whichever is less."

Source: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Transportation Management Plan Guidelines, July 1, 2001. Also available in the Caltrans Deputy Directive DD-60, Transportation Management Plans, June 2000, URL: (Accessed 08/16/05).

Some of the key project characteristics that agencies may want to consider in their policies and procedures for significant projects include:

  • Type of project (new construction, major reconstruction, major rehabilitation, or bridge/pavement replacement).
  • Degree of roadway congestion at and near the project location.
  • Capacity reductions (lane, ramp, or facility closures).
  • Impacts on mobility through and within the project area.
  • Impacts on safety through and within the project/work zone impact area.
  • Impacts on local businesses and community.
  • Impacts from or on special events or due to seasonal variations (e.g., weather related, tourist traffic related).
  • Whether considerable detour and alternate routing will be necessary.
  • Whether feasible alternate routes are available.

More detailed guidance on assessing work zone impacts and identifying significant projects can be found in Work Zone Impacts Assessment: An Approach to Assess and Manage Work Zone Safety and Mobility Impacts of Road Projects, and Implementing the Rule on Work Zone Safety and Mobility [5], respectively.

If a project is expected to be significant, the TMP will consist of a temporary traffic control (TTC) plan, as well as a transportation operations (TO) component and a public information (PI) component (Step 2c – Major TMP). 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 other affected parties. If the project is not classified as a significant project, the TMP will contain a TTC in all cases (Step 2a – Basic TMP). Agencies are encouraged to consider TO and PI components for non-significant projects also, particularly those with moderate mobility or safety impacts (Step 2b – Intermediate TMP).

Agencies may elect to develop multiple levels or categories of TMPs, different from what is described here. The use of Basic, Intermediate, and Major TMP categories described below is just one example of how an agency may implement this.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) uses three levels of TMPs: blanket TMP; minor TMP; and major TMP. See Section 5.1.1 for more information.

Source: Transportation Management Plans Effectiveness Study, Robert Copp, Caltrans, TRB 2004 Annual Meeting, Session 526: Work Zone Impacts - A New Frontier.

Step 2a – Basic TMP (TTC)

Basic TMPs are typically applied on construction or maintenance projects with minimal disruption to the traveling public and adjacent businesses and community. These projects typically only involve the development of a TTC plan, often known as a Traffic Control Plan (TCP) or Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) plan. TTC plans need to be consistent with Part 6 (Temporary Traffic Control) of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), and with the work zone hardware recommendations in Chapter 9 (Traffic Barriers, Traffic Control Devices, and Other Safety Features for Work Zones) of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Roadside Design Guide. The Rule specifies that the TTC plan be:

  • A reference to:
    • Specific TTC elements in the MUTCD, or
    • Approved standard TTC plans, or
    • Agency TTC manual, or
  • Be designed specifically for the project.

Agencies may decide to implement basic TMPs (TTCs) through the use of one- or two-page forms. These forms would provide information on the location and schedule of the construction or maintenance project, plus what is traditionally done by agencies for a TCP or MOT. For Basic TMPs, the next relevant step of the process is Step 4 – Develop TMP.

Step 2b – Intermediate TMP (TTC, and some optional TO and/or PI)

Intermediate TMPs can be used for construction or maintenance projects that are anticipated to have more than minimal disruption, but have not been identified as significant projects. For example, these projects may be expected to impact a moderate number of travelers and have moderate public interest, such as single lane closures in urban areas or commercial business districts (CBDs). Intermediate TMPs could include more detailed work zone impacts analysis and management strategy information than Basic TMPs, including some element of PI and/or TO strategies, as well as cost estimates.

Step 2c – Major TMP (TTC/TO/PI)

Major TMPs are intended for significant projects. These projects, such as multiple lane-closures or total closure of an important corridor in an urban area or CBD, typically have moderate to high impacts on traffic and the local area and generate public interest. The Rule requires that TMPs for significant projects consist of a TTC plan, and also address PI and TO components. In addition to the TMP components required by the Rule, TMPs may also contain cost estimates, coordination strategies between stakeholders, secondary mitigation strategy(s), analysis of potential impacts on detour routes, and analysis of the potential effects of the management strategies. The consideration and incorporation of these additional items may help an agency develop and implement a TMP that effectively manages the work zone impacts of the project, and serves the needs of the agency, the traveling public, workers, and other parties affected by the project.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) requires contingency plans for all TMPs to "address specific actions that will be taken to restore or minimize effects on traffic when congestion or delays exceed original estimates due to unforeseen events such as work zone accidents, higher than predicted traffic demand, or delayed lane closures."

Source: Caltrans Deputy Directive DD-60, Transportation Management Plans, June 2000, URL: (Accessed 08/16/05).

Guidance for TMP components can be found in Section 3.0 of this document.

Step 3 – Identify Stakeholders

This step involves the identification of stakeholders (internal and external) that can provide valuable input to the agency on what strategies to include in the TMP to help manage the work zone impacts of a project. This is generally intended for the development of intermediate and major TMPs. Stakeholders should represent different perspectives and will vary depending on the location and nature of the project. These varying perspectives can help the agency identify and consider a broader range of concerns in deciding what to include in a major TMP.

Stakeholders may include internal agency staff from planning, design, safety, construction, operations, maintenance, public affairs, public transportation, pavement, bridge, as well as other technical specialists. External stakeholders may include local government (county, city, regional), FHWA, public transportation providers, contractors, regional transportation management centers (TMCs), railroad agencies/operators, freight operators, enforcement agencies, utility providers, emergency services, freeway service patrol, businesses, community groups, and schools.

During summer 2002, Michigan DOT (MDOT) performed full surface reconstruction, and repair, removal, or replacement of five bridges, on a 1.3-mile stretch of a busy downtown freeway in Detroit (M-10). MDOT engineers planned to close the road to expedite construction and improve safety for travelers and workers. During planning for the full closure of M-10, MDOT worked with numerous stakeholders. For example, MDOT project personnel met with local businesses, including representatives from a large casino located near M-10. Based on stakeholder input, MDOT decided to reduce the impact of traffic diversion by installing temporary signs to guide traffic to the casino. Other casinos in the area expressed concern that more signing would be available to the casino near the closed facility, so MDOT decided to erect additional signing for the other casinos to maintain equity.

Source: Full Road Closure for Work Zone Operations: A Case Study. Accelerating Construction and Reducing Crashes During the Rehabilitation of a Major Downtown Route: M-10 Lodge Freeway in Detroit, Michigan (FHWA-HOP-05-013) 2004, URL: (Accessed 07/20/05).

It is recommended that a TMP team made up of the key stakeholders be developed for major TMP efforts to see the project through from design to final assessment. The TMP team should vary depending on the project characteristics.

"[TMPs] bring all stakeholders into the discussions in advance, so we can work out the best detour routes, signal retiming, and other geometric improvements."

Source: Quote from Thomas Notbohm, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, used in Transportation Management Plans for Work Zones Fact Sheet (FHWA-HOP-05-022), URL: (Accessed 11/18/05).

Step 4 – Develop TMP

The level of detail of the TMP during early planning is largely dependent upon the type of planning activity, the expected impacts of the project, and the availability of data. At a minimum, early planning should entail a qualitative exercise to list the potential impacts of a project, along with a list of potential management strategies, and the expected costs of those management strategies. Once this information is included in transportation plans and programs, the appropriate funding may be allocated for work zone impacts management, and the thinking and rationale that went into identification of the management strategies can be carried over to the subsequent phases of the project. The same is true for the preliminary engineering phase of a project, where the project design team should work with other technical specialists, including construction, traffic engineering, and public outreach/relations personnel to jointly identify the work zone impacts issues that need to be accounted for.

Since construction phasing and staging greatly affect the safety and mobility of work zones, it is important that designers/construction engineers who develop the construction phasing and staging plans consult and appropriately involve safety experts, traffic engineers, and other technical specialists in their processes. Some agencies have expanded the scope of work to address infrastructure needs to accommodate construction traffic or future projects (e.g., shoulder widening to accommodate realigned lanes serves as a buffer after construction and may assist in later corridor reconstruction/staging).

Often times, engineers develop the construction phasing/staging plans followed by an appropriate TTC plan for the project. However, it would be beneficial if the construction phasing/staging plans and TTC plans were developed hand-in-hand. Transportation operations and management issues are often included in the plans, specifications, and estimates (PS&E)[6] late in the project development cycle, resulting in project delays and increased costs. However, if TO and PI issues are considered at the same time that construction phasing/staging and TTC issues are considered, it may result in the development of a TMP that has synergy across its different components. For example, on a particular corridor, it may be the case that a shoulder closure is desired to construct a project; it may also be the case that the corridor has a high crash history. The high crash history may prohibit the shoulder closure option. However, if someone knowledgeable in traffic operations and management is involved in the discussion of construction options, he/she could have mentioned that an incident management plan with a tow-truck based incident response program could be implemented as a TO management strategy to allow the shoulder to be closed for construction.

The essence of the TMP development process lies in developing and evaluating the best alternative combination of construction phasing/staging, project design options, TTC plan, TO strategies, and PI strategies hand-in-hand with each other.

Work zone management strategies should be identified based on the project constraints, construction phasing/staging plan, type of work zone, and anticipated work zone impacts. Some agencies may use strict lane closure policies/strategies or permissible lane closure times that must be followed. Other agencies may use analysis tools to predict delays, queues, and impacts of detours on the city arterials of various strategies. While many agencies would like to use more complex simulation tools to analyze work zone impacts and management strategies in greater detail, many end up using less sophisticated and less intensive tools such as QUEWZ and QuickZone. Cost is often a constraint in the development of a TMP, particularly for major construction projects affecting large portions of the transportation network, business districts, and community.

Some agencies, such as New Jersey and Texas, are considering road user costs in the overall costs for construction activities to capture the traveler delay costs and potentially reduce construction time by using road user costs as an incentive or disincentive in contracts.

Sources: New Jersey Department of Transportation, Road User Cost Manual, June 2001, URL: (Accessed 07/20/05).
Texas Transportation Institute, Texas Transportation Researcher, Volume 36, Number 2, 2000, URL: (Accessed 07/20/05).

QUEWZ and QuickZone are software programs designed for evaluating work zones. Additional information on work zone analysis tools can be found in:

For basic TMPs, the TMP development process will largely consist of developing a TTC or MOT plan. The TTC or MOT plan shall be either a reference to specific TTC elements in the MUTCD, approved standard TTC plans, agency transportation department TTC manual, or can be designed specifically for the project.

Finally, the TMP needs to include appropriate pay item provisions for implementation, either through method- or performance-based specifications.

Step 5 – Update/Revise TMP

This step represents the iterative aspect of TMP development, wherein the TMP is updated or revised as the project progresses through its various developmental stages, and as more project-specific information becomes available. The TMP may be envisioned as a 'dynamic document' that is maintained and revised by the TMP team, as necessary. This step also represents possible reclassification of a project as significant or not significant.

Step 6 – Finalize Construction Phasing/Staging and TMP

The PS&Es shall include either all the applicable elements of a TMP, or the provisions for a contractor to develop a TMP.[7] FHWA encourages agencies to begin TMP development early in the project development process, so in many cases agencies will have begun TMP development prior to project letting, even for design-build projects. FHWA envisions that in cases where contractors will develop TMPs, the PS&Es are likely to contain the skeleton/outline of a TMP developed by the agency during its planning process, and the provisions for completing TMP development under the contract. For example, if an agency uses performance-based specifications for a project, the performance requirements are laid out in the contract documents with the contractor being responsible for developing a TMP (working from any agency-provided skeleton) that best meets the performance specifications. TMPs are subject to agency approval, with input from stakeholders, as appropriate. Once approved, the TMP and the phasing/staging plans are finalized.

2.2.2 TMP Implementation, Monitoring, and Revisions During Construction

Step 7 – Re-evaluate/Revise TMP

If alternative construction phasing/staging plans or other management strategies have been suggested, technical specialists from the contractor or agency need to review the TMP to see if changes are needed. TMPs developed or revised during contracting or construction are approved by the agency prior to implementation.

Step 8 – Implement TMP

The TMP is implemented. In some cases, components of the TMP may need to be implemented prior to construction (e.g., public relations campaign, improvements to detour routes, etc.).

Step 9 – TMP Monitoring

Monitoring the performance of the work zone and that of the TMP during the construction phase is important to see if the predicted impacts closely resemble the actual conditions in the field and if the strategies in the TMP are effective in managing the impacts. Examples of possible performance measures for TMP monitoring include volume, travel time, queue length, delay, number of incidents, incident response and clearance times, contractor incidents, community complaints, user costs, and cumulative impacts from adjacent construction activities. Performance monitoring requirements and performance measures should be based on agency policies, standards, and procedures, and should be included in the project contract documents when appropriate. TMP monitoring and assessment are best written into the TMP during TMP development, rather than devised after the fact. Work Zone Impacts Assessment: An Approach to Assess and Manage Work Zone Safety and Mobility Impacts of Road Projects[8] contains examples and more information on monitoring work zone impacts and management strategies during construction.

Step 10 – Update/Revise TMP Based on Monitoring

If performance requirements are not met, the agency and/or contractor should revisit the TMP and consider alternate management strategies and/or phasing/staging approach(es) that meet the approval of the agency.

2.2.3 TMP Performance Assessment

Step 11 – Post-Project TMP Evaluation

Evaluations of work zone TMP policies, processes, and procedures aid in addressing and managing the safety and mobility impacts of work zones, particularly for significant projects and when performance-based contracting is used.

TMP performance assessment can aid in addressing the following concerns:

  • Which management strategies have proven to be either more or less effective in improving the safety and mobility of work zones?
  • Are there combinations of strategies that seem to work well?
  • Should TMP policies, processes, procedures, standards, and/or costs be adjusted based on what has been observed or measured?
  • Are the best decisions in planning, designing, implementing, monitoring, and assessing work zones being made?

This performance assessment may involve two tracks: 1) the overall TMP process and 2) actual field performance of the work zone and TMP.

Following construction completion, it is a good idea, particularly for significant projects, to prepare a short report that contains an evaluation of the TMP. The post-project evaluation may include successes and failures, changes made to the TMP and results of those changes, any feedback received from the public, actual measurements of conditions versus what was predicted, cost for implementation of the strategies, and suggested improvements. Section 630.1008(e) of the Rule requires agencies to perform a process review at least every two years. This review may include the evaluation of work zone data statewide and/or for randomly selected projects. The results of TMP evaluations can be useful in the process reviews, and vice versa. Collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing the findings from multiple projects can help in the development and implementation of future TMPs.

Work Zone Impacts Assessment: An Approach to Assess and Manage Work Zone Safety and Mobility Impacts of Road Projects[9] provides guidance and information for conducting a post-construction work zone performance assessment. It also contains several examples of post-construction performance assessments.

Indiana DOT's Design Manual Section 81-1.03(01) recommends that upon completion of a project, the TMP team prepare a report identifying the successes and failures of the TMP.

Source: Indiana Department of Transportation, Chapter 81 of the Indiana Design Manual, Transportation Management Plans, URL: (Accessed 8/16/05)

2.3 Tips for an Effective TMP

The following highlights some of the key tips for developing an effective TMP. These tips can be used in coordination with the TMP development steps previously described in this section.

  • Involve all of the relevant stakeholders early in the process (e.g., operations, construction, planning, design, safety, maintenance, public affairs, technical specialists, FHWA, local transportation agencies, enforcement agencies, utility providers, emergency services, local businesses, community groups, etc.).
  • Consider potential transportation management strategies and their costs early in planning and programming.
  • Consider and develop management strategies for impacts beyond the physical location of the work zone itself, for example, on adjacent roadways and on local communities and businesses.
  • Avoid limiting the number and/or type of transportation management strategies that may be considered.
  • Balance constructability and construction staging requirements with the work zone management strategies.
  • Estimate and budget for the development and implementation of the TMP early in the project development process, and update as appropriate throughout the project. Cost is often a constraint for the development of a TMP, particularly for major TMPs.
  • Update the TMP, as needed, throughout project development and implementation. The TMP is a 'dynamic document' that must be maintained and revised with changes made by the project team.
  • Monitor field conditions and use project logs during construction to identify potential safety and mobility concerns within the work zone and on adjacent roadways, and revise the TMP as necessary.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of TMPs after a project is constructed, and use lessons learned to improve TMPs for future projects.

"Effective TMPs are ones that are developed early, and address both the traffic control design and traffic operational components of the work zone."

Source: Quote from Steve Kite, North Carolina Department of Transportation, used in Transportation Management Plans for Work Zones fact sheet (FHWA-HOP-05-022), URL: (Accessed 11/18/05).

  1. Hereinafter referred to as agencies.
  2. Available at
  3. Systems planning is the stage of project delivery when short- and long-term transportation needs and deficiencies are identified, and appropriate projects are recommended and programmed.
  4. 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 (
  5. Both documents are available at
  6. PS&E package typically includes a project's plan sheets, standard and special specifications, general notes, special provisions, cost estimate, and project agreements.
  7. Depending upon the contracting and PS&E approach for a given project, agencies may choose to have contractors develop the TMP prior to the start of work.
  8. Available at
  9. Available at

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