Next week is the National Work Zone Awareness Week and will take place from April 15-19. This annual event started in 1999 and is sponsored and coordinated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA).
The National Work Zone Awareness Week brings attention to the hazards for people in work zones as well as improving the safety of drivers and workers in those areas. This awareness week is nationwide with many states hosting their own events.
This year’s theme is “Work Zone Safety: We’re All in this Together” and focuses on the complexity of work zones, specifically those in urban areas. The goal is to create awareness which will spawn planning and education for everyone affected by work zones including DOTs, road workers, drivers, bicyclists, motorcycles, pedestrians, emergency response, law enforcement, and utility workers.
The FHWA hosted a webinar on National Work Zone Awareness Week: Outreach Ideas and Strategies in early February. The recording, transcript and presentations will be available on the National Work Zone Awareness Week page shortly.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood previously stated, “We’ve made a lot of progress reducing fatalities for construction crews working on our nation’s roads, but even one death is too many. It’s critical for drivers to slow down, look for changes in traffic patterns and watch for the men and women who are working to improve our nation’s highways and bridges.”
Although work zone deaths have been decreasing since 2002, the FHWA continues to focus on safety and provides the following strategies and ideas.
Creating Awareness Campaigns
The first National Work Zone Awareness Week was initiated by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) where the week was spent creating safety awareness amongst the employees. This campaign went state-wide the following year and included a statewide committee to develop and distribute training materials, prepare statistics, and materials for the press.
There have been radio ads, public service announcements and safety tips posted at rest stops in select states such as Virginia and Florida.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) expanded their public awareness campaign “Slow for the Cone Zone”. They have also provided various safety classes and evaluations for all 23,000 employees to take part in.
This year, the Iowa Department of Transportation and City of Ames are lighting up the Ames’ gateway on U.S. 30 near Interstate 35 as a reminder for motorists to use extra caution in work zones. This gateway was selected as they are currently are completing major reconstruction project on U.S. 30.
Training programs have been created to educate workers, drivers and the public on the dangers of work zones. VDOT created a training video, “What’s Wrong With This Work Zone,” and distributed it alongside other training materials to promote discussions of safety during daily crew meetings.
Many other state DOTs such as Florida (FDOT) provide training, folders, brochures and/or flyers with safety information and tips. These materials are also distributed by the FHWA. To broaden their reach and maximize resources, FDOT also partnered with other organizations including engineering, enforcement, and public information and education.
Tools and Materials for Safety
Campaigns have been launched to provide tools, uniforms, materials to improve work zone safety. VDOT encouraged workers to wear high-quality safety vests while in work zones.
FDOT deployed numerous message signs around the State to publicize safety tips and that it was National Work Zone Awareness Week. They funded speed enforcement operations in advance of work zones to increase police presence and encourage safer driving. They also provided portable regulatory speed limit signs and radar speed display units.
Introduce Safe Traffic Data Collection
The National Work Zone Awareness Week puts safety in these work zones front and center for the workers, drivers and public. However, there are still a lot of risks for these workers while they’re in these work zones. Eliminating the risks is the most effective way to mitigate injuries and deaths.
Miovision provides an effective method to collect traffic data using a safe, non-intrusive solution. Our Scout Video Collection Unit (VCU) is deployed to the side of the roadway on a pole or other street furniture rather than in the road way. Video collection is scheduled and does not require anyone to be on-site during this process.
Once the recording has been completed, it is uploaded and processed into industry standard reports for various traffic studies including turning movement counts (TMC) and average daily traffic (ADT). This process eliminates the need to enter into the roadway or even stand next to traffic for an extended period of time.
For agencies that outsource data collection, using Traffic Data On Demand is equally important for safety. Your traffic data is collected the same safe and non-intrusive manner using our Partner Network.
Improve your traffic data collection safety and leave your worries at the roadside.