Digital work zone signs will continue to transform freeway technology in the future, and machine learning and artificial intelligence will likely both play supporting roles in helping drivers maneuver through work zones, accident sites, and road maintenance projects.
Today, a smart work zone uses intelligent, real-time data to establish safe working areas for road construction. This includes Smart Message signs that offer insight into the day-to-day operations of the work zones with up-to-date routing information – so motorists can choose an alternate route.
Work zone cameras mounted on solar-powered trailers offer around-the-clock, live-streamed, and recorded surveillance to assist in DOT roadway management centers, along with the continuous collection of traffic data, day or night, that can affect vehicle speeds and classification.
The future of smart work zones and work zone signs will highlight the use of technology to create safer road construction and maintenance areas, along with better accident clearance practices.
Smart Work Zones in The Future
Cloud Computing and Traffic Management Systems
An efficient smart work zone depends on reliable, real-time data to help motorists adjust to changing traffic conditions. In the future, unique cloud computing solutions will allow for faster data analysis and transmissions that can more quickly resolve traffic congestion. In the future, expect registered drivers to receive text messaging updates to know well ahead of time that they may need to take a different route to avoid congestion.
Crash reports and other roadway incidents may take weeks or months to compile, but with cloud computing, this timely data can be instantly read into a traffic management system for near real-time traffic control.
Smart Work Zone Signs
Work zone signs will play a greater role in reducing accidents and increasing road worker safety. The future of work zone signs includes signage equipped with sensors and data collectors, so they can dynamically reflect current travel times or give advanced warning of upstream bottlenecks – all without human intervention.
Smart work zone signs equipped with IoT or Internet of Things sensors and controllers will act as more than information boards. Still, it will also be able to assist with collecting traffic statistics like vehicle speeds, vehicle classifications, traffic volumes, and even how pedestrians are in the area at any given time.
Machine Learning and AI technology
Often, it is not the current traffic conditions that road and construction workers need to be aware of but how much congestion they can expect later as they plan to move machinery or change lane patterns. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are the two digital technologies that can accurately predict the future flow of vehicles, people, or goods at various points along transport highways.
The control of traffic lights is also a job that can be accomplished dynamically by using AI technology to decide the best time endurance for 4-way stop-and-go lights to keep traffic moving consistently.
Looking to the future
Future technology will produce smarter smart work zones to deliver information to improve decision-making for current and future highway projects. For example, the Arizona DOT is currently testing the use of a traffic management system that is controlled remotely.
The goal of the smart work zone system is to mitigate potential hazards that are caused by lane closures. The study closely investigates dynamic merging and the time it takes to merge into alternate lanes to avoid injury to road workers and delays in construction projects.
This will be accomplished with intelligent work zone signs placed at appropriate distances ahead of the work zones when traffic is light. When traffic increases, the dynamic lane merging system will kick in to encourage motorists to remain in the closed lane for as long as possible in what is known as a “zipper merge.”
Visit Worksafe Traffic Control Industries to learn more about smart work zones and the products we carry to make your roadway projects run smoothly and hassle-free. Work zone signs protect the public and road crews, which is why we carry signs produced in accordance with the Model Uniform Traffic Code, so you can be assured you are providing the most visible signage with the most accurate information. Contact us today!