Construction and maintenance projects are costly enough without the added cost of lost human lives. Eliminating injuries and fatalities at work zones is a major concern of NTC research. Researchers have tested a number of different work zone control systems, including various positive protection methods, such as concrete barriers. Other approaches to achieving the goal of increased work zone safety have included deployment of a speed advisory system for drivers near work zones, and development of a methodology and computer-based decision tool to help evaluate the most effective and cost-effective work zone control technology on a case-by-case basis.
A leader in testing work zone safety devices is the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF). MwRSF has performed safety device testing and performance evaluation for several state departments of transportation across the country and numerous private design companies. Their faculty and graduate student researchers have participated in research projects as part of the Smart Work Zone Initiative, sponsored by the Transportation Pooled Fund Program, to investigate ways to improve all aspects of work zone safety.