Speed management of traffic through work zones is important for the safety of both the road user and road worker. A work zone will entail deviations from normal travel in a discrete road section and appropriate speed is needed to ensure that the driver can navigate the vehicle through the work zone routing, particularly if there are abrupt lateral deviations from road design norms. Without proper control of the vehicle, the driver may cause the vehicle to enter the restricted areas of the work zone. Infringement into these areas can cause injury to the car passengers or the road worker. Thus selection and control of traffic speeds in work zones are crucial components for road work zone speed control is not available in Europe. A common information source should be made available if European road users and road workers are to have the best level of safety, regardless of the country or region.
The ASAP project (Appropriate Speed saves All People) was designed to address the issues of speed management in work zones. The project is made up of one management and four work packages. WP1 is a horizontal activity to maintain internal and external project communication. WP2 is the initial activity looking at available practices and field data. WP3 will then collect the available raw data and analyse the data relative to the original practices identified in WP2. WP4 will then create a list of the different countermeasures for speed management and then identify a strategy to consult the relevant stakeholders and establish small field studies to provide practical data for the final report. WP5 will then develop the final project recommendations working with the results of WP2 and WP3 as well as important stakeholder inputs from WP4.
It is important that European road users are presented with consistent traffic control techniques, regardless of where they travel within Europe. The ASAP team covers a good portion of Europe for the limited resources allocated to the project. Northern, Central, Mediterranean and Eastern Europe regions are represented by the five partners. All partners are active FEHRL members and thereby have access to more European research information beyond their own national resources. VTI, the project coordinator, has exchanged offers of cooperation with consortia bidding in the other research areas of the CEDR safety call. Projects addressing work zone incident data (SINTEF), work zone layout (BBCEL), and work zone inspections and audits (BRRC) will leverage the project results if these projects are awarded. These projects share project partners addressing similar topics. Tight cooperation between these projects will allow for effective communication of information between the projects and can leverage the resources of each project.
The development of harmonised documents for European work zones has three key elements:
- Review previous successes and failures,
- Retrieve available data to confirm and monitor best practices, and
- Consult stakeholders to identify the format and scope of information needed for European applications.
The ASAP project has gathered the researchers with the research experience, linguistic capabilities, and contact networks for data and documents needed in this project. The planned research program has allocated sufficient resources to provide a good coverage of Europe with a limited number of partners. The previous cooperation of these partners in European projects ensures efficient communication within the project team to complete the assigned tasks.
The final report (D5.1) incorporates the main findings of the five work packages, including the project recommendations for efficient speed management at road work zones, which is packaged as a stand-alone document. This report links existing knowledge (literature), practical experience (projects and stakeholders) and analyses of field trials, and delivers a practical guidance for work zone designers, road operators, engineers and other professionals working in the field of road safety planning. The ASAP project is providing a guide not for setting the speed limit but for choosing the best speed reducing methods that will result in appropriate speed in work zones.
It is important that road users are presented with consistent and understandable measures, regardless of where they travel within Europe. In general it is beneficial to have suitable pre-information about the location of the work zone combined with physical measures which are leading the road user to a safer driving behaviour (appropriate speed) and is raising awareness of the on-coming variation in the road section. Important for realizing appropriate speeds is that speed limits are credible and this is achieved thru proper work zone design - so that people are willing to drive within the speed limit (forced: not only physical but as well psychological - the influence of the design and the measures itself). Different evaluated methods and measures to control and adapt speed in a proper way have been investigated.
Those evaluated measures/treatments are: Temporary speed limit reduction – Static and variable sign; Advisory speed signs; Automated speed enforcement – Spot speed camera and Section control; Driver speed monitoring display; Speed camera with worker warning; Speed camera sign; Police presence (with or without speed control); Police dummy; Graduated Fixed Penalties; Chicanes; Crossover design; Narrowed lane width; Temporary separation of directions; One-way traffic control – Manual flagger, Automated signal devices, and Pilot vehicle; Adhesive rumble strips; Portable Rumble Strips; Optical speed bars; Variable message signs; and Emotional messages.