Highway work zone safety has been a research focus for decades. Regardless of the research efforts devoted, highway work zones remain a serious safety concern for government agencies, legislatures, the highway industry, and the traveling public. In this study, the fatal and injury crashes between 1992 and 2004 in Kansas highway work zones were examined systematically and their major characteristics were compared. In addition to the similar characteristics, the comparison showed significant differences between fatal and injury crashes. The researchers found that: 1) head-on was the dominant type for fatal crashes while rear-end was the dominant injury crash type; 2) a large percent of fatal crashes involved trucks while a majority of injury crashes involved light-duty vehicles only; 3) disregarded traffic control, alcohol impairment, and speeding caused a much larger proportion of fatal crashes while followed too close caused a much higher percentage of injury crashes; and 4) unfavorable light conditions and complicated road geometries contributed to a larger percentage of fatal crashes. Based on the study results, safety countermeasures that focus on mitigating the severity of work zone crashes were recommended in terms of work zone traffic control and public education.
Publisher: Transportation Research Board
Publication Date: 2008
Full Text URL: Link to URL
Posted with permission.
Topics: Countermeasures; Crash Analysis; Crash Characteristics; Crash Data; Temporary Traffic Control; Work Zone Safety