Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
Initial Paper Outline
Smart Work Zones (SWZ)
Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) before and during construction is a very important subject to understand for the workers in the transportation industry and the public traveling on the road. Establishing a proper work zone area can help both the workers on site and the public traveling. The department of Transportation (DOT) has raised a big concern on this topic due to the fact that several crashes of all types including fatalities have occurred in the past and that number of crashes have continued to increase. Previous years reports have indicated an exceeded number of crashes, in 2015 alone it was noted that the estimated number of crashes in work zones areas exceeded the 95,000.
To this major concern, DOT intents to stablish a dynamic work zone area or a Smart Work Zones (SWZ) with the help of the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and technology to be the solution to improve work zone safety and mobility.
The innovation of SWZ integrated with ITS devices can effectively detect and communicate with road users about the work zones ahead of them. A series of connected ITS devices such as Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras, Microwave Vehicle Detection System (MVDS), Dynamic Messaging System (DMS) and Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) devices can be used to notify the driver, the worker on site and the operator located at the Traffic Management Center (TMC) about the ongoing event happening during construction hours.
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The usage of technology in transportation has rapidly increased over the years that the usage of ITS within work zones is trending and its effectiveness has allowed the U.S DOT to issue an implementation notice of Smart Work Zone to all the subsequent DOTs. Via Webinars, Symposiums and other forms of presentations have been noted that at least 35 States have already begun the process of implementing and experimenting with Smart Work Zones.
The implementation of SWZ during construction consist of integration of different ITS devices and live interaction with the traveling road users and workers. The usage of simply static warning signs along with ITS equipment allow for communication between workers, drivers and operators that will be monitoring the site and dispatching road rangers and/or police officers in the instant of an accident or alert.
SWZ implementation is a process that requires technology, field analysis, MOT, temporary traffic control plans and engineering judgment. To be able to attain a successful SWZ first an study of the site needs to be performed to determine the need based on the work to be completed, second a feasibility study to determine if it is possible to implement SWZ in the desired area, third is the planning and design of a SWZ System, fourth Procurement, fifth is deployment of the SWZ followed by operations and MOT, during the fifth face the operator will be in charge of collecting data to ensure this data is analyses as a perform measures, and lastly the evaluation of the system including performance measures, times and cost.
There are a variety of ITS System and devices available for integration into a SWZ. A deployment of combination of different ITS Devices can produce the most optimal and effective SWZ system. With that goal in mind, the proposed SWZ system in this paper will consist of integration of 7 different ITS devices.
- Dynamic Message Signs (DMS): This system consists of signs capable of displaying dynamic information alerting the road user of an approaching event. Additionally, provides guiding information such as detour routes and travel times. In the state of Florida, the common method of sending this information back to the TMC is via fiber optic communication or cellular based on the location of the project
- Microwave Vehicle Detection System (MVDS): This device is capable of detecting vehicles capturing the vehicle’s classification, speed, lane by lane volume and sending that data back to the TMC for travel time analysis. Via this information the operator can determine the travel time and is able to send and broadcast that information on the DMS to alert drivers of any event. MVDS in the state of Florida has become a very important method for vehicle detection specially on freeways due to the ease for installation and being less intrusive as oppose to loop detection.
- Closed Circuit Television (CCTV Cameras): CCTV cameras serves as surveillance cameras that allows the traffic operator at the TMC to have a real time visual of the event within the work zone area.
- Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI): These devices are capable of pin pointing a single vehicle to obtain speed information and classification allowing the operator at the TMC and engineers to obtain travel times (typically used on arterials roads) and perform measures along the corridor within the work zone.
- Smart Barrels: Traffic Barrels are designed to have a sensor built in that is triggered during work zone time displaying a lighting signal to alert drivers of approaching construction.
- Static Flashing Warning Signs: These signs are static ground mountable signs that have LED lighting embedded into the signs providing a much intense sense of alert to the driver when flashing. The signs can be programed to work during work zone hours and can be manage by an operator to allow the lighting on the signs to go on and off based on the occurring event.
- Portable Lane Control System: this device is able to move, and place full size traffic signal lights attached to an extension arm anywhere in the work zone area. This system can be controlled remotely allowing the workers to control the signal display without the need of being physically on the roadway making it safer for the worker and driver.
Summary and Conclusion:
Overall, Smart Work Zone can be the future solution to work zone safety and mobility. It’s still an emerging field with more and more research and funding being poured into. Through means of alerting, signaling and traffic diverting, Work Zone road way can become fully communicative and responsive, and smartly help reduce the number of accidents per year while improving the travel conditions for all the road users.
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