The study team found up to 28 percent reductions in mainline traffic volume during congested periods.

August 26, 2008

LINDON, UT—The Federal Highway Administration has released preliminary findings in a study of work zone detection systems, including a Texas deployment that uses the Wavetronix SmartSensor as the primary detection device. The study, "Benefits of Using Intelligent Transportation Systems in Work Zones," looked at a five different systems in use around the country, "to quantify the mobility and safety benefits of using ITS applications for work zone traffic management."

The Texas deployment utilizes solar-powered SmartSensors installed on portable trailers from ASTI Transportation Systems, Inc. SmartSensor monitors traffic in two separate construction zones on portions of Interstate 35 in Hillsboro County near Waco; when problems are identified, drivers are alerted to alternate routes via variable message signs.

The FHWA study found that drivers did respond to the signs and chose alternate routes, especially in times of heavy congestion. "Large percentages of traffic diverted on several occasions when the system recommended the alternate route," according to the published results. In fact, the study team found up to 28 percent reductions in mainline traffic volume during congested periods.

The response from Texas drivers has been very good. In May, Bradley Miller, a system analyst and ITS coordinator for the Texas Department of Transportation, told Pulse, "Public feedback has all been positive, and we intend to deploy other work zone systems on future projects."

A summary report of this study can be requested by emailing workzonepubs@dot.gov.