The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and one.network, a road management software as a service (SaaS) technology provider, have launched a first-of-its-kind, statewide work zone safety pilot project.
Specifically, the new Lane Closure Notification System (LCNS) will allow authorized workers to update lane closure and other construction site information directly from the work zone using a mobile app. The information will then be disseminated to the nation’s major GPS providers via Live Link, one-network’s proprietary shared road platform.
The goal is to keep drivers informed in a timely and accurate manner so work zones are less congested and safer for both drivers and workers. Work zones are key to maintaining and upgrading roadways. But daily changes in traffic patterns, narrowed rights-of-way, and other construction activities often create a combination of factors resulting in crashes, injuries, and fatalities, notes the Federal Highway Administration.
Florida is a prime example of how dangerous work zones can be. Statewide crash data from 2017 to 2021 indicate that Florida experienced more than 53,000 work zone-related crashes, including 356 fatalities and 1,904 severe injuries. Simply put, the pilot is designed to save lives.
With the Live Link smart phone app, construction crews can geometrically map out lane closures for each work zone construction site, and with the push of a button, close and open the lanes in near real-time. The digital updates will include the presence of workers and any change in speed limits associated with the closure. The information will then be provided directly to GPS companies who will update their maps for the safety and planning benefit of motorists.
As the first application of the technology in the U.S., the pilot will cover all planned construction sites across FDOT’s seven regional districts. That’s more than 12,000 miles of state roads, including Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise. Over the next few months, the pilot rollout will likely include over 500 construction projects.
Nationwide, there were 857 total work zone traffic fatalities in 2020 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.