M. Imran Hayee
, Professor, UMD-Electrical Engineering
Growing traffic on U.S. roadways and heavy construction machinery on road construction sites pose a critical safety threat to construction workers, causing many injuries and fatalities every year. This project addresses worker safety issues--especially for those working around heavy machinery--by proposing and developing a Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC)-based safety warning system that provides visual guidance to the operators of construction vehicles about the presence of workers. This visual guidance keeps the operators of the heavy machinery well informed about the whereabouts of the workers in close proximity to them. The proposed system is scalable to include passing-by DSRC-equipped vehicles in the visual guidance provided to the operator of the construction vehicle. In addition to enhanced worker safety, the system can dynamically post suitable speed limits and/or warning messages on the DSRC-equipped portable changeable message signs (PCMSs) to warn the drivers of incoming vehicles about the presence of workers in the active work zones. The researchers have developed their proposed system to demonstrate proof of concept and have conducted field tests using the developed system. Test results indicate that the proposed system can successfully show the presence of workers around a construction vehicle on an Android-based tablet with acceptable distance (1.5-2 m) and direction (15-20 degrees) accuracies. Furthermore, test results show that the DSRC-equipped PCMS can successfully post a variable speed limit depending on the presence of a worker in its vicinity.