Last Thursday (January 30th) I sat in on the webinar on FHWA’s new Work Zone ITS Implementation Guide. The guide will be published in a few weeks along with a summary of the peer exchange we discussed in earlier posts.
We got a first look and a tour from Tracy Scriba of FHWA, Jerry Ullman of TTI and Ted Nemsky of Illinois DOT. It was a very informative webinar and I encourage those of you who were unable to attend, to download it once it is posted at: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/its/index.htm .
I won’t try to repeat everything said during the webinar but I was struck by a couple of things I’d like to mention here.
Tracy Scriba lead off talking about the state of work zone ITS. I liked her choice of words. She told the audience that these systems have “evolved”. She described early “adventures” configuring, communicating with and maintaining work zone ITS systems. She told everyone there is far less adventure now. Her point being that our technology has matured.
Jerry Ullman took us through the Implementation Guide step by step. It uses a sort of Systems Engineering Light approach to choosing, deploying and evaluating work zone ITS.
Ted Nemsky closed the webinar by describing his experience using three different vendors on a number of projects. He is the first I have found who brought hard data to support the use of these systems. He compared 2010 when they did not use the systems to 2011 when they did. Projects were on the same stretch of road but the area under construction in 2011 was actually 3.6% longer and there were 52% more lane closure days. Despite that, they experienced a 13.8% reduction in end of queue crashes. This is just the first to quantify the effects of systems on work zone traffic. But it’s a good indication of the results we can expect going forward.
Congratulations to all three speakers. It was a very interesting webinar and I look forward to downloading the Implementation Guide very soon. The publication number is FHWA-HOP-014-008.