Globally, there are over 1 billion cars on the road today. By some estimates, that number is set to double by 2040.¹ As the number of vehicles sharing the roads and the miles traveled increase, the need for global investment in roadway infrastructure also increases. According to some estimates, $900 billion needs to be invested annually in road infrastructure to keep up with increasing traffic.²
Roadway infrastructure projects mean more work zones. This can increase risk and exposure for workers, drivers and pedestrians. In fact, it’s estimated that the crash rate increases by nearly 25% in work zone conditions.³ Every year in the United States, there are more than 80,000 work zone accidents causing injuries to more than 40,000 motorists, workers and pedestrians.⁴
With Work Zone Safety Week approaching, it’s a good time to take a closer look at simple, effective ways we can increase work zone safety for everyone sharing the road.
Work zones can be particularly dangerous because they present drivers and pedestrians with changing, unfamiliar and unexpected conditions — including sudden speed and lane changes, new routes, unfamiliar signage and increased distractions. To help mitigate these factors, conspicuous and easy-to-follow temporary traffic control (TTC) devices are used to provide work zone traffic control for drivers and pedestrians — making them a key part of a safe work zone. Two important TTCs in work zones are pavement markings and traffic signs.
Around the world, nearly 1.25 million people die in traffic accidents every year — about 3,287 people a day — and another 20 to 50 million are injured or disabled.⁶ At 3M, we think that’s unacceptable.
“3M is committed to improving safety for everyone on our roads — motorists, pedestrians and workers. That’s why we invest so much of our time, energy and resources into developing new road safety solutions. And that’s why we signed the Toward Zero Deaths pledge.”
— Dan Chen, Ph.D., P.E., Vice President, 3M Traffic Safety Division
Toward Zero Deaths is an effort to put an end to fatal traffic accidents by providing road safety guidance and calling for key stakeholders to work together to build safer roads. 3M is proud to contribute to the initiative, both by signing the Toward Zero Deaths pledge and using our 80+ years of experience developing traffic infrastructure to engineer the highest visibility, most durable, most retroreflective traffic safety products on the market.
We are committed to helping you design safer work zones through the use of highly visible sheeting for devices and removable pavement markings for roadways.
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¹ Smith, M. N. (2016, April 22). The Number of Cars Worldwide is Set to Double by 2040. World Economic Forum.
² Woetzel, J., Garemo, N., Mischke, J., Hjerpe, M., & Palter, R. (2016). Bridging Global Infrastructure Gaps. McKinsey Global Institute.
³ Ozturk, O., Ozbay, K., & Yang, H. (2013). Estimating the Impact of Work Zones on Highway Safety. 5 Transportation Research Record, Journal of Transportation Research Board (PDF, 1.4 MB).
⁴ Work Zone Fatal Crashes and Fatalities.
⁵ Source: Evaluation of Fluorescent Orange Signs, Texas Transportation Institute, TDOT, TX-00/2962-S, 2000.