Purpose — The paper aims to review current practices of road safety audits worldwide, investigate the perceptions of experts on highway work zone safety in the USA and issues of adopting work zone safety audits in the country, and propose a framework for developing guidelines for implementing work zone safety audits for safety improvements.
Design/methodology/approach — The paper was conducted by reviewing the existing literature of road safety audits and administering four-week questionnaire surveys of experts on highway work zone safety in the USA.
Findings — Road safety audits have been successfully adopted worldwide to maximize safety of the roadway environment for highway users. The questionnaire surveys have clarified leading causes of work zone safety problems and effective countermeasures, types of projects suitable for auditing and audit frequencies, audit team composition and funding sources, audit tasks and tools, and project staff safety training audits. A similar procedure for road safety audits could be adopted for work zone safety audits with emphasis on mitigating work zone safety impacts.
Research limitations/implications — Additional survey participants from the highway user group may add valuable insights into the use of highway work zone safety audits for safety improvements.
Practical implications — The paper findings would assist in preparing strategies and methodologies for developing the national highway work zone safety audit guidelines in the USA.
Originality/value — The work zone safety audit guidelines to be developed could help transportation practitioners effectively conduct work zone safety audits for safety improvements in the country.