Work zones are prevalent in the United States as the infrastructure is increasingly in need of maintenance. Lack of reliable data is one of the main obstacles in work zone research. Reliability suffers because of underreporting of crashes and inclusion in the analysis of irrelevant activities that are not attributable to work zones. In addition, the work zone environment is very dynamic, resulting in differing reasons for crashes. These are barriers to gaining an accurate understanding of safety in work zones. The objective of this paper is to design, develop, and deploy a mobile application (app) for real-time work zone data collection to address these issues. The development process consisted of the following steps. First, a user interface was designed to enable users to collect various work zone activity information. Second, taking advantage of recent advances in cloud computing, a real-time database was designed for efficient storage and instantaneous communication of work zone activity data. Field tests were then conducted at 13 work zone sites in Columbia, Missouri. Finally, the performance of the app was evaluated based on scalability, precision, and user friendliness. The app was able to respond to queries at real-time speeds even as the size of the database and the number of users increased. The precision of sensors was within appreciable accuracy for the geolocation. The app’s user friendliness was acknowledged by the users. The successful deployment of this mobile app would lead to accurate work zone data which is very useful for work zone management, traveler information, contract monitoring, safety analysis, and project coordination.
Publisher: Transportation Research Board
Publication Date: 2020
Full Text URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Books, Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Data Collection; Field Tests; Mobile Applications; Real Time Information; Work Zone Safety; Work Zones