The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has unveiled a new software system to help highway engineers in estimating traffic delays caused by work zones and the subsequent cost in time to drivers.
QuickZone runs on a personal computer and furnishes the information in spreadsheet format. It is designed to compare the traffic impacts for work zone mitigation strategies and to estimate the costs to motorists of delays and potential backups associated with the different strategies or scenarios, FHWA said.
For example, QuickZone enables road owners and contractors to compare the effects of doing highway work at night instead of the day or of diverting the traffic to one road versus another road at various stages of construction. These effects can be estimated for periods as short as one day or for the entire life of the construction project.
A survey released by FHWA last year showed that improvements in traffic flow, pavement conditions and work zones can result in the greatest rise in traveler satisfaction. The survey highlighted work zones as especially critical. Travelers view road repairs as a major contributor to traffic delays, the agency said. Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin are currently evaluating the $195 software package.