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Evaluation of safety treatments at roadwork zones

Debnath, A, Haworth, N, Blackman, R

Road Environment

ARSC conference 2015

A major 3-year research project to improve safety at roadworks has recently been completed by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) and industry partners. This project involved developing strategies to mitigate roadwork hazards including speeding. This paper presents three on-road evaluation studies on the effectiveness of some current and new safety treatments: use of pilot vehicles, variable message signage (VMS), police enforcement with and without VMS, and remote-controlled traffic control devices. The speed reduction potential of pilot vehicles was evaluated at a highway site. Results showed that pilot vehicles reduced average speeds within the work area, but not at a downstream location. Combinations of VMS and police enforcement were evaluated at a motorway site and results showed that police enforcement accompanied with VMS had greater effects on reducing speeds than either of these treatments alone. Three new remote-controlled traffic control devices—red and amber lights, red light and amber arrow, and a robotic stop/slow sign—were evaluated at a highway site. Results showed that the red light and amber arrow option produced consistent effects on the speeds at the approach to traffic controls and at a location inside the work area. This paper presents the first rigorous evaluations of these roadwork safety treatments in Queensland.