About the research
Since construction of most of the major highway networks in the United States has already been completed, the majority of current highway work includes maintenance and rehabilitation of those highways, during which work zones are generated. In these areas disruptions to regular traffic flow are inevitable and the safety of road users and highway workers is a major concern. In the U.S. for the past five years from 2002-2006, there were nearly 5,406 fatalities occurring in or near work zones. Among other reasons, this may be partly due to ineffective implementation of preventive measures at work zones and shows that more effort must be made in order to improve safety in work zones for both highway users and workers.
The primary objective of this study is to investigate work zone crash characteristics of states currently included in the Smart Work Zone Deployment Initiative (SWZDI). These are Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Primary characteristics related to work zone crashes for individual and combined states were identified. An analysis of percentage-wise distributions was carried out for each variable based on different conditions. A cross classification of different variables was performed to find relationships between different variables using the Pearson chi-square test of independence methodology. At the end of the analysis, risk factors with respect to work zones were identified and possible countermeasures were suggested.