Roadway construction projects offer real-time challenges for commuters, commercial haulers and tourists driving in and around work areas. Construction projects frequently reduce lane widths and shoulders, creating slowdowns and crashes, and exposing highway workers to hazardous conditions working close to traffic lanes. Combined with construction vehicles entering and exiting work sites intermittently, these factors cause interruptions in traffic flow and, ultimately, slowdowns. While work zones are necessary for maintaining and upgrading highway systems, Smart Work Zone (SWZ) strategies are needed to reduce work zone crashes and increase worker safety.
Since its inception in 2015, 27 states have utilized the Federal Highway Administration’s Smart Work Zone (SWZ) strategies to limit roadway congestion, reduce crashes during peak traffic flow and increase critical incident response times. As pressure mounts to comply with the rules for federal highway funding, acceptance by more state and local governments is inevitable.