Work zones can be dangerous. According to workzonesafety.org, there were 842 fatalities in work zones in 2019. Between speed changes, lane closures, and individuals working onsite, the risk of crashes is inherently higher, but we don’t have to accept the status quo.
Technology, like our NueGOV platform, has the potential to improve safety and communication for work zone workers and travelers with real-time data collection. Not to mention, it’s compliant with the Federal Highway Administration’s Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx) standard.
Put simply, the more we know as agencies, the more we can share with the public. Traveling through work zones can be tricky, especially when drivers are essentially going in blind. Currently, we only know scheduled start and end times for work zones and anticipated lane closures, so that’s all we can share with drivers. Technology allows for real-time data collection so actual start and end active work zone times can be logged and sent to traveler devices through apps like Waze or to nearby Dynamic Message Signs (DMS).
Similarly, the same is true of lane closures. Rather than travelers relying on an anticipated lane closure report that agencies typically receive a week ahead of time, they can actually be fed the real-time data of which lane is closed as soon as it is closed. When relying on a weekly anticipated schedule, any number of things from weather events to traffic could change lane closures for a day, or even the entire week.
In essence, by improving communication, safety should inherently increase. If drivers are alerted on their vehicle or mobile device that a work zone is active, there are workers present or that a new lane has closed, they can be more attentive. The added attention from the driver will decrease the likelihood of a crash, and therefore injuries and fatalities as well, which we all know is the ultimate goal.
Collecting real-time data in your work zones will provide your agency and the travelers a better road map for safe success. Additionally, once your agency has accurate data, you can also more accurately assess and plan for future work zones.