Flagging operations are a critical part of construction and maintenance activities on our highways. Flagging personnel are trained to effectively and safely communicate the location of construction or maintenance activities to the traveling public. Due to the nature of the work, flagging personnel are located on the roadway near the work zone, which can result in dangerous situations. With the increasing levels of distracted drivers, safety of flaggers and workers in work zones is an increasing concern. Unfortunately, flagging personnel deaths and near misses continue to occur on our highways during each construction season.
Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs) are portable traffic control devices used by flagging personnel instead of traditional flagging equipment. The Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services section purchased three sets of AFADs for district use. The objective of this research project was to explore the use of the equipment and demonstrate utility. Research shows that it is safer to pull flagger personnel out of traffic using these devices. However, based on conversations with MnDOT personnel, there has been resistance in the past using these devices on a regular basis.