Principal Investigator: Sunanda Dissanayake
The objectives of this study are: (a) to study crash reports over the life of several work zones and assess potential crash savings from reducing work zone durations, (b) to identify differences in characteristics and contributory causes of nighttime and daytime work zone crashes, (c) to identify the risk factors associated with nighttime work zone crashes, (d) to identify the key issues and important details to reduce nighttime crashes, and (e) to investigate the cost benefit analysis of reducing work zone durations and lighting as an effective countermeasure to reduce nighttime crashes.
Findings from this study would be helpful toward formulation of policies on incentive-based reduction in work zone durations, reducing nighttime crashes at work zones, and saving lives of workers and road users. Also, understanding characteristics and contributory causes of nighttime work zone related crashes in Midwestern States like Kansas and Nebraska fills a research gap.
Work zone safety is an important issue in the broad area of highway safety. Accordingly, this study will explore several interrelated issues with the intention of identifying effective ways of reducing the number of work zone crashes and the severity associated with those crashes. In addition to daytime operations, by undertaking construction work during the nighttime, work zone durations could be reduced. Fewer crashes may be experienced as a result of shortened work zone durations. Contractor incentives for faster completion of the project may be offset by savings due to a reduced number of crashes. However, there are special concerns dealing with work zone safety issues related to nighttime conditions due to reduced visibility. Also, traffic volumes at night are typically lower than those during daylight conditions, and lower volumes provide greater maneuverability to drivers, allowing higher nighttime operating speeds than during day time. Accordingly, the severity of work zone crashes might be related to the lighting condition of the location, which needs to be verified. Effect of these related factors on safety has not been fully explored, and this project is expected to serve that purpose.