STRIDE Project Evaluates the Impact of Work Zone Operations on Users through the Use of Traffic Control Strategies

A STRIDE-funded project at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will evaluate traffic control strategies at interstate work zones and how they impact the scheduling of construction work. The study is led by Dr. Virginia P. Sisiopiku and her post-doctoral scholar, Ossama E. Ramadan. The study aims to identify traffic control strategies that would allow agencies to schedule work zones at any time during the day with minimal interruption to traffic.

“The pressing need for maintenance and upgrading of our aging transportation infrastructure heightens the importance of examining traffic operations and safety at work zones,” Dr. Sisiopiku said. “This project examines impacts from nighttime scheduling of work zones, and addresses the apparent gap between research and practice when it comes to traffic control at work zone locations,” she added.

How will they do this? The UAB research team will perform a comprehensive literature review and a survey of practice to identify the current practices, needs, and concerns related to various types of traffic control at work zones. Also the team will gather data from a freeway corridor in the Birmingham, Ala., metro area necessary for model development and calibration. The data will be used to develop microscopic simulation models of the study corridor under work zone operations with various traffic control options.  CORSIM, a traffic simulation software from UF’s McTrans Center will be used as the modeling platform.

“CORSIM and almost every other microscopic simulation platform has no explicit provisions for simulating work zones,” Ramadan said. “The research team will develop and test a methodology to address this issue. Such methodology can be considered for incorporation in future releases of CORSIM.”

The project will produce a decision support tool that will assist practitioners and researchers in harmonizing work zone transportation management plans with construction plans and schedules. The tool will allow added flexibility for scheduling construction activities around the clock without compromising operational efficiency and quality of service.

For more information, contact:

Virginia P. Sisiopiku, PhD, F. ITE
Associate Professor
Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Phone: 205-934-9912
E-mail: vsisiopi@uab.edu