New Year’s Resolution for Work Zone ITS

Here we are once again at the start of a new year. Many of you have made resolutions to lose weight, eat better or improve your lives in some other way. I think it is time to make a work zone ITS new year’s resolution. How can we improve? What is the next step we should take as an industry?

When making resolutions, experts say we should resolve to make small improvements. It should be a goal we have a reasonable expectation of achieving. Otherwise we will find ourselves making the very same resolutions the following year. So what should ours be for work zone ITS?

How about including work zone ITS in all major projects? Is that too big? We all know that is where we should be at this point in time. The rules in the past two highway bills say we must measure performance and minimize impacts. The technology is certainly proven – I hope we don’t have to prove that to anyone anymore.

Yet we are a very long way from using ITS on all major projects, so what is a reasonable goal? 20% of all major projects by the end of 2013? 10%? I propose 5%. It is a small number, but one that I believe can be met. And once it is met, agencies and highway users will begin to see the benefits of our systems. They will learn just how cost-effective they really are.

Once we settle on a goal, we run into another important question: How many projects are using some form of work zone ITS at this time? I don’t believe anyone really knows. Is the FHWA keeping count? I wish they would as it would be a very useful indicator of the progress we are making. If anyone from DOT knows if they are keeping a total or some other measure, please leave a comment here for all to see. A link to the data would also be much appreciated.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this. And I look forward to the new year. Here’s to a prosperous and successful  and safe 2013 for all of you!

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