Interstate widening projects are commonplace in Kentucky, and safety is of primary concern within the project work zone. Past experience with long work zones revealed two critical safety issues: driver confusion due to unclear pavement markings and a lack of continuous work zone signage for motorists indicating they are still within a work zone. This concern is heightened in transition and taper areas. Highly visible markings in an alternative color other than standard yellow or white might better distinguish the proper travel path for motorists and prevent drivers from returning to normal driving behavior and speeds once they get through the initial transition area. To address these safety issues, the research team applied orange edge and lane lines in a work zone and studied the effects on speed, crashes, and driver behavior. Due to retroreflectivity requirements, retroreflectometer data was also collected, and researchers gathered feedback from the public and contract/construction personnel. The results of testing orange pavement markings in one work zone offer evidence that further studies should be performed, but the study was not large enough to provide conclusive evidence that orange pavement markings should be regularly employed. Retroreflectivity thresholds of the markings can be met if a high-end bead package is used. Crashes increased with the use of orange pavement markings, but there was evidence that the crashes were less severe. Specifically, wet and nighttime crashes were reduced. The speed data collected in the study indicates that very few drivers lower their speed as they travel through a work zone, even when orange pavement markings are added as a reminder. The public opinion survey revealed positive results that indicate the public would be receptive to the use of orange pavement markings in future work zones.
Publication Date: February 2021
Full Text URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Books, Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Color; Crash Analysis; Crashes; Evaluation and Assessment; Pavement Markings; Speed Control; Surveys; Work Zone Safety; Work Zones