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

Text from 'Smart Work Zone Deployment on I-95' PowerPoint Presentation

Slide 1

Logo: State of North Carolina Department of Transportation

Slide 2

Smartzone Deployment on I-95

North Carolina Department of Transportation

Logo: State of North Carolina Department of Transportation

Logo: Work Zone - Stay Alert.

Slide 3


  1. What is a Smartzone?
  2. How does it work?
  3. How much does it cost?
  4. What are the measurable results?

Slide 4

What is a Smartzone?

Smartzones provide the motoring public automated, real time, traffic information in workzones

Slide 5

How does it work?

Smartzones incorporate roadside speed and volume sensors to detect delay/congestion.

This information is then transmitted to an on-site computer via radio, cellular or satellite for processing.

Delay information is then transmitted from the computer to portable Changeable Message Signs.

Slide 6

How much does it cost?

Depends on how much equipment is necessary to provide the required monitoring and duration of project.

Depends on the type of communication technology that is required ( i.e. radio versus cellular and satellite).

Depends on the complexity of the individual vendors system ( i.e. software cost, communication costs, etc).

Slide 7

What are the measurable results?

Reduction of Congestion associated with lane closures.

Reduction/elimination of "rear end" crashes due to excessive queuing.

Reduction/elimination of Fatal Crashes due to excessive queuing.

Increased Productivity for the Contractor.

Slide 8

Intangible Factors

Improved Communication with the Motoring Public resulting in a more positive Department Image.

Real time, credible information resulting in better compliance with workzone information.

Slide 9

I-95 Deployment

System Requirements

  • 6 speed sensors
  • 8 Changeable Message Signs (2 used on Alternate Route)
  • 6 cameras (w/ Pan/Tilt/Zoom)
  • 1 Command Center
  • 1 Laptop Computer
  • Project Website

Slide 10

I-95 Smartzone Deployment

Workzone is located at Milepost 58 just north of Fayetteville, N.C.

Surveillance Area: I-95 between Milepost 46 and Milepost 73 in Cumberland and Harnett Counties

Preselected Alternate Route: US 301.

Northbound Exit 55

Southbound Exits 61 and 65

Slide 11

I-95 Smartzone Deployment

Contract Information

I. Contract had 3 pay items

  • Mobilization
  • Monthly Rental
  • Remobilization

II. Department Guaranteed 4 months usage with a maximum 10 month duration

Slide 12

I-95 Smartzone Deployment

  • Successful Bidder was the Scientex Corporation
  • Mobilization = $75,000
  • Monthly Rental = $15,000
  • Remobilization = $10,000

Total Bid = $235,000

Current expenditure = $135,000. The SMARTZONE equipment is currently being demobilized due to lane closure phase of project is completed

Slide 13

Traffic !@$%

Photo: Image of two-lane highway with heavy traffic congestion.

Slide 14

Project Website

Photo: Screen shot of A traffic map of I-95 is shown with intermittent CMS stations. A caption is shown at CMS 1 that reads "No Delay Next 4 Miles Sep 10 3:22 PM."

Speaker notes:

Our Mission:

To serve the public by providing the safest, most efficient, and most economical Traffic Control, Pavement Marking, and Roadway Delineation Plan Package in accordance with federal and state guidelines for all utility, maintenance, and transportation improvement projects.

Slide 15


Photo: Camera trailer with communication satellite on the side of a highway

Camera trailer with Satellite communication

Note: Cameras not needed for system operation. Department Observation Purposes Only

Slide 16

Smartzone Devices

Solar Powered CMS with RTMS and Speed Sensor


Speed Sensor

Photos: Images depicting a Solar Powered CMS with RTMS, a Speed Sensor, and a Camera

Slide 17

Smartzone-RTMS Sensor

Photo: Image depicting RTMS Sensor

Slide 18

Command Center

Photo: Image depicting Command Center: a desktop computer and monitor with a traffic information map pictured on the screen.

Slide 19

Smartzone Communications

Photo: Communications antenna

Slide 20

Smartzone Communications

Photo: Roadside Remote Station

Slide 21

Real Time Information

Photo: Image of CMS on the side of the highway displaying traffic information: "SLOW TRAFFIC AHEAD"

Speaker notes:

  • When we look at personel we consider

Slide 22

Real Time Information

Photo: Image of CMS on the side of the highway displaying traffic information: "12 MIN DELAY AHEAD"

Slide 23

Real Time Information

Photo: Image of CMS on the side of the highway displaying traffic information: "JUL 16 2:21 PM"

Slide 24

Real Time Information

Photo: Image of CMS on the side of the highway displaying traffic information: "ALT ROUTE EXIT 65"

Speaker notes:

  • postive protection/separation
  • use barrier, temporary guardrail, and temporary asphalt islands
  • barrier & temporary guardrail is used to protect motorists, dot personnel and contgractor’s personnel from construction operations
  • use barrier to separate traffic and workers

Slide 25

Real Time Information

Photo: Image of CMS on the side of the highway displaying traffic information: "20 MIN DELAY AHEAD"

Speaker notes:

  • be innovative to meet the demands of the project location
  • system is state owned & reusable

Slide 26

Real Time Information

Photo: Image of CMS on the side of the highway displaying traffic information: "ALT ROUTE EXIT 61"

Slide 27

I-95 Smartzone Results

Since deployment, traffic queues have been reduced on average to 2 miles or less. Before deployment, queues were exceeding 5 miles

No recorded "rear end" crashes and no Fatalities

Delay information was accurate

Some utilization of alternate routes

A lot of positive response from media and motorists

Slide 28

News and Observer Article

July 2, 2002

Traffic warnings make I-95 cool

By Vicki Hyman

Until now, I've never found cause to string together the words "North Carolina Department of Transportation" with "cool." The state has installed its first "smart work zone" on Interstate 95 outside Fayetteville, equipping the highway with sensors to detect speed, calculate traffic conditions and relay real time information to electronic message boards and a Web site.

I'm not talking messages like "Delays Ahead" or "Expect Congestion" that you might see on I-40 around rush hour. With all due respect to the technicians who spend hours monitoring traffic conditions via live feeds from cameras posted along the highway, let me just say, "No duh."

The messages posted on I-95 can tell drivers to the minute, how long a delay to expect.

Once the delay reaches 10 minutes, the electronic message boards offer alternate route information. The state has placed the message boards far enough ahead of the backups to give drivers a way out before they actually hit the traffic.

On the Web site,, you can even view how fast traffic is moving through the work zone.

Slide 29

I-95 Smartzone Problems

Downtime due to equipment malfunction

Under-powered camera/sensor equipment

Communication problems with cameras. Had to utilize satellite communications

Availability of speed, volume and video information

Slide 30

Future Changes

Utilize "on-site" technician

Improve Departments access to speed, volume and video information via the website

Utilize pay reduction for system downtime

Have system notify (via Page, email, cell phone) appropriate personnel if a malfunctions occurs

Improve messages on CMS's to enhance ridership on the Alternate Routes

Slide 31


You bet!

The NCDOT is very impressed with the available technology and is currently in the process of installing 2 more ' Smartzones' on I-95

Slide 32

So far. what we think we know

Smartzone "AIN'T" a substitute for sound engineering

Smartzones work well on rural interstates with AADT's up to 55,000 with available alternate routes that have a high frequency of lane closures

Smartzones may have applications on roadways with higher AADT's (55,000 to 65,000) where we traditionally restrict lane closures to nightly activity

Smartzones have limited applications on high volume roadways (above 65,000) with few reasonable alternate routes

Interstate Rehabilitation Projects are the best candidates for SMARTZONE installations due to the frequency of lane closures

Slide 33

Smartzone Configuration

Diagram: Diagram is illegible and cannot be interpreted.

Slide 34

US 301 Alternate Route

Diagram is illegible and cannot be interpreted.

Office of Operations