Work zones in the United States have approximately 700 traffic-related fatalities, 24,000 injury crashes, and 52,000 non-injury crashes every year. Due to future highway reconstruction needs, work zones are likely to increase in number, duration, and length. This study focuses on analyzing the effect of work zone duration mainly due to its policy-sensitivity. To do so, we created a unique dataset of California freeway work zones that included crash data (crash frequency and injury severity), road inventory data (average daily traffic (ADT) and urban/rural character), and work zone related data (duration, length, and location). Then we investigated crash rates and crash frequencies in the pre-work zone and during work-zone periods. For the freeway work zones investigated in this study, the total crash rates in the during-work zone period was 21.5% higher (0.79 crashes per million vehicle kilometer (MVKM)) than the pre-work zone period (0.65 crashes per MVKM). Compared with the pre-work zone period, the increase in non-injury and injury crash rates in the during-work zone period was 23.8% and 17.3%, respectively. Next, crash frequencies were investigated using negative binomial models, which showed that frequencies increased with increasing work zone duration, length, and average daily traffic.
The important finding is that after controlling for various factors, longer work zone duration significantly increases both injury and non-injury crash frequencies. The implications of the study findings are discussed in the paper.
Asad J. Khattak, Aemal J. Khattak, and Forrest M. Council. Effects of Work Zone Presence on Injury and Non-Injury Crashes, Accident Analysis and Prevention, Elsevier Science Ltd., Vol. 34, 2002.