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 'Enforcement-Friendly Work Zones' PowerPoint Presentation

Slide 1

Gerald Ullman
Michael Fontaine
Steven Schrock

Making Work Zones Work Better Workshop

Texas Transportation Institute

Transportation Operations Group

Slide 2

The Problem….

Photo of an empty highway

  • Enforcement areas often eliminated
  • Legislation hampers enforcement efforts

Slide 3

What Can Be Done?

  • Better DOT/enforcement coordination during planning/design/construction
  • Better use of technology?
  • Better enforcement-friendly designs

Slide 4

When Does Coordination Begin?

Diagram: Pie chart that displays the time at which DOT and enforcement coordination begins during planning, design and construction phases. 30% of the time it occurs during the planning review, 25% of the time it occurs during pre-construction meeting, 10% of the time it occurs once the project starts, and 35% of the time there is not coordination at all.

Slide 5

Innovative Arrangements

  • NJ State Police Construction Unit
    • OSHA-certified officers
    • Traffic control plan training
  • South Dakota DOTCOP
    • Officers hired as DOT employees
    • Special DOT vehicles
    • Authority limited to work zones

Slide 6

Innovative Arrangements

  • Operation Hardhat
    • Florida Highway Patrol Officers
    • Construction vehicles provide better vantage point
    • Extensive publicity, advance warning to motorists

    Photo of a worker with a hardhat on top of a construction vehicle

Slide 7


  • Providing "real-time" information
    • Portable CMS
    • Permanent CMS
    • Active warnings
  • Use of Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) Technology
Photo of sign warning ' Work Zone Traffic Fines Now Double Use Caution'

Slide 8

Active Warnings (Tennessee)

  • "Workers present" stipulation in double-fine laws
  • Problems
    • consistency
    • driver
    • understanding
Photo of sign warning 'Workers Present When Flashing Reduce Speed Max $500 fine'

Slide 9

Automated Speed Enforcement

  • High DOT/contractor/enforcement interest
  • Requires legislative changes to transportation code
  • Significant public/political opposition to ASE systems in the U.S.

Slide 10

Modified ASE?

Screen capture displaying ASE technology

  • Use in a real-time, remote mode
  • Move enforcement activity outside of work zone

Slide 11

Technically Feasible?

  • 85-88% of vehicles correctly identified 0.5 to 1.5 miles downstream
  • Wireless transmission of up to two images per minute

Photo: Various pieces of ASE technology

Slide 12

Is It Practical?

  • Legal/political challenges
    • Continuous vehicle tracking
    • Visual verification of a violation
    • "Speed trap" perceptions
  • Financial challenges (ASE $50,000+)
  • Deployment/maintenance challenges

Slide 13

"Enforceable" Work Zone Designs

  • Limit allowable work zone lengths
  • Enforcement pull-out areas

Photo of a police officer ticketing an offending driver in a work zone

Slide 14

Enforcement Pull-Out Areas

Diagram: 2 lane highway with a Work Area in the left lane and an Enforcement Pull-Out Area on the right shoulder.

How long?
How far apart?
How best to incorporate?

Slide 15

Pull-Out Area Length

  • AASHTO HOV Design Guide
  • Typical driver deceleration/acceleration values
  • Observed driver behavior after receiving a citation
  • Conclusion:
    Pull out areas should be ¼ mile long on high-speed facilities

Slide 16

Pull Out Area Spacing

Direct MOEs and costs difficult to assess

General hypothesis:
Not too closely spaced (constructability)

Not too widely spaced (enforceability)

Slide 17

Building a Consensus

Diagram: Trend diagram that shows how the Perceived Constructablility and Enforceability increases, for Contractors, as the Pull Out Area Spacing increases in miles. Conversely, the Perceived Constructablility and Enforceability decreases, for Law Enforcement, as the Pull Out Area Spacing increases in miles.

Slide 18

Other Considerations

  • Enforcement buy-in
  • Appropriate sight distances
  • Advance signing
  • Look for ways to incorporate into standard construction phasing
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