Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program

Traffic Analysis Toolbox Volume VIII:
Work Zone Modeling and Simulation - A Guide for Decision-Makers


Work zone planning and management has become increasingly challenging because of increasing travel demand and an aging roadway network infrastructure facing both more frequent maintenance and major rehabilitation projects. These two factors have sharpened interest in analytical tools to assist in better understanding projected work zone mobility impacts. An understanding of projected mobility impacts is critical for two reasons. First, the work zone planner/manager must be able to consider mobility impacts in a complex balance of life-cycle costs, safety, environmental, and other impacts. Second, mobility impact measures are used to support the analysis of other impacts (e.g., environmental impacts).

This document is intended to provide guidance to decision-makers at agencies and jurisdictions considering the role of analytical tools in work zone planning and management. It is often unclear what kind of analytical approach may be of most value, particularly in light of complex data requirements and staff training. The decision to create an analytical capability to support decision making can be a significant investment, and deserves careful consideration. In the end, work zone analysis should never be used to make key decisions but instead developed as a trusted resource for understanding the potential mobility impacts and using this information to inform key decisions.

This document serves as Volume VIII in the FHWA Traffic Analysis Toolbox. Preceding volumes in the toolbox include: Volume I: Traffic Analysis Tools Primer, Volume II: Decision Support Methodology for Selecting Traffic Analysis Tools, Volume III: Guidelines for Applying Traffic Microsimulation Modeling Software, Volume IV: Guidelines for Applying CORSIM Microsimulation Modeling Software, Volume V: Traffic Analysis Tools Case Studies - Benefits and Best Practices, Volume VI: Definition, Interpretation, and Calculation of Traffic Analysis Tools Measures of Effectiveness, and Volume VII: Predicting Performance with Traffic Analysis Tools: Case Studies.

Robert Arnold
Office of Transportation Operations

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