Development and Evaluation of Speed-Activated Sign to Reduce Speeds in Work Zones

Excessive speed is one of the most significant factors contributing to work zone crashes, which, along with work zone fatalities, have increased substantially in the past decade. From the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2003, the number of work zone crashes in South Carolina nearly tripled. In 2005, the South Carolina Department of Transportation initiated a research project to evaluate speed reduction measures in work zones. Through an in-depth literature review of speed control techniques for work zones, it was found that innovative technologies are often too expensive and thus impractical for large-scale implementation. There is a need for less-expensive technologies that are effective in reducing speeds in work zones. Development and evaluation of a speed-activated sign are discussed. Data were collected in work zones on two-lane primary and secondary highways in South Carolina, and the effectiveness of the speed-activated sign was evaluated on the basis of changes in mean speeds, 85th-percentile speeds, and percentages of vehicles exceeding the speed limit. Mean speed reductions ranged from 2 to 6 mph (3.2 to 9.7 km/h) with an average reduction of 3.3 mph (5.3 km/h). This average reduction improved to 4.1 mph (6.6 km/h) at sites where more than 50% of the vehicles were speeding before a sign was introduced. Further research was conducted with two speed-activated signs on a multilane divided highway and an Interstate freeway where similar speed reductions were experienced. From this study, researchers recommend that the speed-activated sign be used in short-term work zones.


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  • Accession Number: 01049350
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309104418
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 4:35PM