Researchers: Gerald Ullman, LuAnn Theiss, Melisa Finley
Daytime lane closures for reconstruction, restoration, and rehabilitation work result in heavy congestion on roadways that already operate at capacity. As a result, more construction and maintenance work is being performed at night when traffic volumes are lower. Lighting is one of the most important factors for nighttime construction as it affects motorist and worker safety, quality of work, productivity, and worker morale. However, currently TxDOT only requires contractors to provide “adequate” lighting during nighttime work activities. Thus, decisions pertaining to temporary work zone lighting are usually left to the discretion of the site engineer and the contractor.
This research project will develop work zone lighting guidelines for nighttime operations, considering both worker and motorist needs. Work zone illumination guidelines for nighttime highway work do exist, but they are solely based on the visual needs of workers. Research is needed to assess the impact of work zone lighting on motorists approaching and driving through the work zone. The two critical tasks we plan to conduct are:
- the conduct of a series of human factors-based driver evaluations of work zone lighting to determine its impact on a motorist’s ability to safely navigate through the work zone and adequately detect workers and
- to identify and assess potential methods of maintaining compliance in the field.