Nighttime work-zone safety has become a concern among state transportation agencies due to an increasing number of work-zone fatalities and the high percentage of roadwork performed at night. Speed control has been determined by numerous researchers to be one of the best ways to improve safety on nighttime work zones. This paper presents an empirical analysis of speed control strategies for nighttime interstate construction and maintenance projects in Indiana. The analysis considers the effect of various speed control measures on the mean speed and the standard deviation of speed through nighttime work zones. Using a seemingly unrelated regression modeling approach, our analysis revealed that the presence of police enforcement, a high percentage of semi trucks in the traffic stream, and a high traffic flow significantly reduced mean work-zone speeds. Factors found to significantly increase mean work-zone speeds included an increase in the number of open lanes, an original speed limit of the road section greater than 60 mph, an increase in the distance between the work-zone speed limit signs and the first cone/barrel in the construction zone taper, and the progression of time through the night. The standard deviation of vehicle speeds was found to be significantly lower before midnight and as the number of vehicles queued increased. And it was found to be significantly higher with an increase in the number of open lanes through the work zone, an increase in the number of work-site speed-limit signs, a high percentage of personal vehicles in the traffic, and an increase in total traffic flow. The results from this research demonstrate a useful analysis methodology (seemingly unrelated regression estimation) and provide some empirical results that can provide guidance for transportation agencies and contractors to improve speed-control strategies in nighttime work zones.
Publisher: Transportation Research Board
Publication Date: 2008
Source URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Books, Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Maintenance Practices; Night Work; Road Construction; Speed Control; Speed Limits; Temporary Traffic Control; Traffic Flow; Work Zones