User-centered Smart Traffic Sign Development Study

Principal Investigator(s):

Nichole Morris, Director, Mechanical Engineering

Co-Investigators:

Project summary:

Flaggers protect workers by providing temporary traffic control (TTC) and maintaining traffic flow through a work zone, despite a shutdown of lanes. They are often the first line of defense to stop distracted, inattentive, or aggressive motorists from intruding into the work area. In terms of occupational safety, flaggers have one of the highest risk jobs in the country, with 41 out of every 100,000 workers killed on the job each year. While a 2019 law empowered flaggers to report dangerous drivers who intrude into their workspace to State Patrol, they still need more support to automatically detect, warn, and document when drivers breach the work zone. This project proposes to develop a smart traffic sign device using low-cost sensors that can automatically detect potential intruding vehicles and provide an audio-visual alert to warn both the driver and workers of the impending event. For success of such a system, it is critical that the design team take a human-centered approach to fully account for the needs and demands of flaggers and design the system in partnership with workers.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2022003
  • Start date: 04/2021
  • Project status: Active
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety, Traffic operations