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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH DIGEST

ARIZONA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

e-mail jsemmens@cox.net

NOVEMBER 2005

Traffic Control Devices and Practices to Improve the Safety of Mobile and Short Duration Maintenance Operations by Melisa D. Finley, Brooke R. Ullman, and Nada D. Trout, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3135 (Texas Department of Transportation, Research and Technology Implementation Office P. O. Box 5080, Austin, Texas 78763-5080; ph. 979-845-1713) (Dec 2004)

Highlights

Researchers conducted a study to assess motorist comprehension and the operational effectiveness of current and innovative traffic control devices.

A number of changes were recommended.

Researchers conducted a synthesis of previous research, three focus groups, 241 motorist surveys, and a field study to assess motorist comprehension and the operational effectiveness of current and innovative traffic control devices used to inform motorists about:

o

the number of vehicles in a work convoy,

o

the speed differential between the work convoy and traffic,

o

passing a work convoy on two-lane, two-way roadways with unimproved shoulders,

o

passing a work convoy on two-lane, two-way roadways with improved shoulders, and

o

the LANE BLOCKED sign.

Based on the results of these activities, researchers recommend the following traffic control devices to improve the safety of mobile work zone operations. These recommendations should be incorporated into the Texas MUTCD and TxDOT traffic control plans for mobile operations.

o

The # VEHICLE CONVOY sign should be used instead of the WORK CONVOY sign. The number needs to be adjustable and easy to change.

o

On two-way roadways, the DO NOT PASS sign (R4-1) should be placed on the rear of the trail vehicle when motorists are not allowed to pass the work convoy.

o

The LANE BLOCKED sign (FCW20-6) should be required on divided highways with four or more lanes in each direction.

o

A PCMS can be substituted for the LANE BLOCKED sign (FCW20-6) on divided highways with three or less lanes in each direction. TxDOT should require the use of the PCMS messages shown in Figure 31 and a minimum letter height of 12 inches.

In addition, researchers recommend the use of the following items, developed as part of this research project, to improve the safety of mobile and short duration operations:

o

maintenance traffic control plans for the selected operations,

o

guidance for the use of trail and shadow vehicles for selected operations based on the roadway volume (ADT) and posted speed, and

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