Evaluation of the Smart Work Zone Speed Notification System
John Hourdos, Director, MN Traffic Observatory, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering
MnDOT will deploy a new system for raising the awareness of drivers approaching and traversing a long work zone of congestion and the development of queues. Systems with the same purpose have been tested in rural work zones but mostly apply to locations where backups are predictable. The new Smart Work Zone Speed Notification System (SWZSN) will follow a new approach, informing the drivers of the speed of the downstream segment, compared to the current variable speed limit system which also detects congestion but provides only advisory speeds to drivers. It is envisioned that the new system will have greater success in reducing rear-end crashes on large, urban freeway work zones. This proposal deals with the evaluation and refinement of the system which will be deployed on I-94 east of downtown St Paul during work replacing and repairing the roadway. The project will collect observations on the length, rate of growth, and speed drop at the upstream end of the work zone-generated congestion, as well as perform a safety analysis for the durations of the construction project. The project will also provide information to MnDOT engineers describing the system's operation and assist them in modifications and improvements during the system's deployment.