Improving Night Work Zone Traffic Control

Report No: 00-R8

Published in 1999

About the report:

The objective of this study was to examine traffic control for night work zones from the perspective of both agencies and motorists. This was accomplished by investigating practices of state departments of transportation, identifying the problems associated with traffic control for night work zones, and identifying potential strategies to resolve them. Reduced visibility, driver impairment or inattention, inadequate lighting, and difficulty in maintaining traffic control devices are common problems identified with night work zones based on surveys of state departments of transportation and residencies within the Virginia Department of Transportation. Having police present, making workers more visible, using drums in the taper, maintaining traffic control devices, and providing adequate lighting were common solutions. Based on the review of work zones, traffic control for night work zones is generally adequate. Common problem areas were properly establishing work zones based in accordance with the Virginia Work Area Protection Manual, maintaining the traffic control devices, and properly aiming and aligning lighting to avoid glare. Although there is a perception that night work zones are less safe than daytime work zones, evidence to substantiate this perception, such as higher accident rates, was not available because of a lack of accurate traffic exposure data. Based on a limited amount of data, there was no evidence of the perceived higher speeds at night.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Last updated: December 11, 2023

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