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NWZAW: Improving work zones & lane closure

In honor of National Work Zone Awareness Week, we shed some light on the growing importance of shareable work zone data and automated lane closure management.

Work zones are an essential piece of maintaining and upgrading our roadways. For most, data on work zone activities and related lane closures is ad-hoc and limited in scope making it challenging to manage and near impossible to share.

This siloed nature in conjunction with changing traffic patterns and narrowed roadways, creates a deadly combination of events that cause congestion and pollution, create driver and worker stress, and claim lives every day.

Collecting data on the location, time, and impact of work zones in a standardized, distributable format is key to improving work zone safety and the purpose of the Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx).

The Work Zone Data Exchange

The Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx) aims to create standardized data definitions to facilitate ubiquitous access to work zone data, particularly by connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), for improved road and worker safety.

In addition to CAVs, this data would benefit:

  • Neighboring jurisdictions and regions
  • Law enforcement and emergency service providers
  • Traveler information systems

To pilot the specification, raise awareness, and (hopefully) encourage and facilitate adoption of the standard, the USDOT awarded $2.4 million in WZDx demonstration grants to fund projects in 13 states.

While still under wraps, we’re proud to report that we’ve been in talks with some grant recipients looking to leverage our tools in the accordance with the WZDx specification.

Taking it a Step Further

Sharing work zone data in a standardized format is necessary to improve work zone operations and safety. But as previously alluded to, all-too-often agencies do not have a sophisticated system for managing lane closures in the first place… so where will the data on work zone activities come from?

The answer could be your ATMS, smart work zone system, or integration with an automated lane closure management system, such as Q-Free’s LaneAware. LaneAware is a sophisticated tool that allows workers to request/schedule activities that are automatically checked against a set of user-defined business rules. When integrated with an ATMS, LaneAware also helps fulfill the need of “how” work zones will impact data, further supporting a work zone data feed.