We Need a Place to Talk Work Zone ITS!

I have a passion for work zone ITS. And at meetings around the country I have learned that many of you do, too. That is why I have started this blog. We need a place where we can discuss ideas, where resources and lessons learned can be shared, and where we can come together to make work zone ITS as common as cones and barricades. By working together, I know we can make that happen.

When I say “work zone and rural ITS” I generally mean portable ITS. In other words, systems of sensors, message signs, cameras and other devices networked wirelessly with the server. But I would also include permanent but smaller devices and systems most of which are used in a rural application. So intersection crash avoidance systems, curve warning systems, fog warning systems, and other similar products are also in this group.

Many of us are frustrated with the slow growth of this technology. We know it works, but it has yet to be used on a consistent basis. This is due to several factors:

  • DOT decision makers’ lack of familiarity with the technology.
  • Conversely, ITS often falls within the permanent systems area in DOTs and they don’t understand work zones.
  • And, yes, some of it is due to funding and the continual effort to reduce project costs.

So, let’s do something about it. I will write one full post every month. Occasionally I will make other small posts of random thoughts, ideas or suggestions.  Please sign up to be notified when I post a new article.

These are just a few of the subjects I plan to cover:

  • Specifications- good, bad, and in between
  • Travel time versus delay time
  • What are the best metrics for work zone performance?
  • Selling the benefits of work zone ITS to key decision makers.

We will also react to news, agency statements, federal rulemaking, or anything that affects our efforts to increase the use of work zone ITS. I also hope to post articles written by many of you. So please send me your ideas. I don’t just want to share my thoughts – I want to have a conversation. So, tell me what you think. Tell me why an idea will work or why it will not. And PLEASE offer your own posts. This will be much more fun if we all share our ideas.

I want this to be fun and enjoyable and at the same time, rewarding. The direction this takes is up to all of you. There are just a few rules (and I can change them at any time):

  1. Posts and responses must focus on work zone or rural ITS or other related subjects of interest to our group. I love kayaking and good wine but we aren’t going to cover either of those subjects here.
  2. Disagreements must be reasoned and civil. Don’t sugar-coat it, but don’t resort to name calling. If you are right, your argument should stand on its own.
  3. No whining. Venting is OK, but then move on.
  4. Don’t be too serious! Let’s have some fun while we are at it.

Thanks for reading. If you like the idea, sign up now and tell your friends and colleagues. If you don’t, then tell me why. The important thing is to have this conversation. We talk at trade shows but that isn’t enough. It is time to focus on work zone ITS full time until it is used everywhere it is needed.

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