Growing traffic on US roadways and heavy construction machinery on road construction sites pose a critical safety threat to construction workers. This report summarizes the design and development of a worker safety system using Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) to specifically address the workers’ safety for the workers working around the heavy machinery. The proposed system has dual objectives. First objective is to improve workers’ safety by providing visual guidance to the operators of the construction vehicles about the workers’ presence in the vicinity. This visual guidance keeps the operators of the heavy machinery well informed about the whereabouts of the workers in close proximity while operating the heavy vehicle. The second objective of the proposed system is to improve the work-zone traffic mobility by dynamically posting suitable speed limits and other warning messages on the DSRC-equipped variable message signs (VMSs) depending on the workers’ presence in an active work-zone to appropriately warn the drivers of the passing-by vehicles.
A prototype was developed and field tests were conducted to demonstrate and evaluate the performance of the proposed system. The evaluation test results show that the system can successfully show the presence of workers around a construction vehicle on an Android tablet with acceptable distance (1.5 — 2 m) and direction (15 — 20 degrees) accuracies. Furthermore, the test results show that a DSRC-equipped VMS can successfully post a suitable speed limit corresponding to the presence of workers in its vicinity.