More than 31,000 work zone injuries and 669 work zone traffic-related fatalities occurred in 20141 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). FHWA also reports that work-zone crashes cost heavy and civil engineering construction industries up to $3.5 billion annually. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports in their May 2017 Road traffic injuries fact sheet that road traffic deaths are at 1.25 million per year worldwide with road traffic crash costs for most countries at 3% of their gross domestic product2.
Street, highway and interstate construction work-zone accidents can be reduced by providing drivers, pedestrian and cyclists with the information they need to safely navigate in a work zone environment in a process called Positive Guidance, as reported in the “Guidelines on Ensuring Positive Guidance in Work Zones (PDF, 5.30 MB)” published by the FHWA3.
Positive Guidance provides travelers with the information they need to navigate safely through a work zone. The “Guidelines” PDF contains a significant amount of information on measures that contribute, when properly applied, to enhancing positive guidance in work zones. Those measures include but are not limited to:
According to the guidelines, “failure to meet positive guidance principles leads to travel confusion and can increase crashes in the work zone”. For information on how retroreflective technologies contribute to enhancing positive guidance, go to Materials for Work Zone Signage & Traffic Control Devices.
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1 U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration. Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program, National Work Zone Awareness Week, Don’t Be that Driver. April 2016.
2 World Health Organization. Road traffic injuries fact sheet. May 2017.
3 The Roadway Safety Consortium, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. Guidelines on Ensuring Positive Guidance in Work Zones. Publication date 2011.