Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program

CDOT's Work Zone Safety and Mobility Process Review

FHWA Webinar October 2011

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Slide 1: CDOT's Work Zone Safety and Mobility Process Review

Dahir Egal – FHWA

KC Matthews – CDOT

San Lee - CDOT

Speaker notes:

Dahir: Good morning or afternoon everybody, my name is Dahir Egal, I am the FHWA Colorado Division Safety and Traffic Engineer.  It is my pleasure to introduce you to the CDOT safety and traffic engineers who are responsible for the WZSM policies and procedures  and compliance with Subpart J & K.  They were the leaders of CDOT's Process Review Team and I'm going to let them share with us their recent experience with the WZSM Process Review.  I believe that they have done an excellent job and I wanted them to share their experiences with you. 

Before I do the introductions, I would like to say few things about the Process itself in general.  CDOT's Process Review involved a lot of work and dedication by a lot of people.  In order to be successful this included completing many tasks and reaching many mile stones for example, it included:

  • Holding many multidisciplinary meetings, including FHWA
  • Reviewing  all current WZ Policies  and Procedures
  • Field Visits
  • Brainstorming sessions – this is where the Q idea originated from
  • Creating Questionnaires
  • Compiling Results of the questionnaires
  • Creating Draft Report of Best Practice and areas of improvement
  • Getting Stakeholder, management, and FHWA  buy-in of the for the draft report - at the end we wanted to make sure the State was in compliance with Subpart J & K.
  • Submittal of the WZPR to FHWA 

I think I have said enough already ..and I want you to hear it from the horse's mouth- KC Matthews and San Lee - are  both were responsible for both the implementation of the WZSM Rule, preparing, and leading the Process Review.

Gentlemen, take it from here

KC Matthews and San Lee: We are here to present CDOT's method for conducting our WZSM Process Review that is required every 2 years.

slide 2: Topics

  • Purpose
  • Scope
  • Process
  • Project Selection
  • Questionnaire
  • Questionnaire Evolution

Speaker notes:

We will be going over the purpose of our review

The Scope the task force created

The process we went through to complete the review, including how we assembled the team

How the projects were selected to be part of the process review

The questionnaire the task force created

And how the questionnaire will change over time. There is always room for improvement

slide 3: Purpose

  • Assess Effectiveness and Consistency
    • WZSM Policies
    • Procedures
  • Assess Project Level Practices in Traffic, Design and Construction
  • Focus to Improve the Safety and Efficiency of Work Zones
    • Speed Reduction Practices
    • Lane Closure procedures
    • Positive Protection
    • Transportation Management Plan Implementation

Speaker notes:

Our goal was to assess how CDOT was doing with regards to our WZSM Policies and Procedures that were created as a result of the Updated Rule for J and K.

We not only looked at our policies and procedures, but mostly concentrated on Project level practices to ensure that we were complying with the Rule and look for areas of improvement.

  • We focused on Safety and Efficiency of work zones that included:
  • Speed Reduction Practices and how standard they are across our Regions
  • Lane Closure procedures and compliance with our Region Lane Closure Strategies.
    • Our Region Lane Closure Strategies contain minimum Traffic Operation strategies, as well as working hours. They are tailored for each Region and area and take into account accident data, traffic volumes, and other factors that pertain to traffic.
  • Positive Protection methods and techniques
  • Ensuring all projects have TMP's implemented on their projects.

slide 4: Scope

  • Review CDOT's Processes and Procedures Related to WZSM at the Program and Project Levels.
  • Assemble a Multidisciplinary Review Team with Representation from:
    • Project Development
    • Safety and Traffic
    • Region Traffic
    • Residencies
    • Project Management
      • Design
      • Construction
      • Traffic Operations

Speaker notes:

We looked at the intention of the Process Review and reviewed CDOT's processes and procedures for both the Program and Project Levels.

It was vital that we assembled a team with a broad range of experience that had involvement with the Program and project levels. This included representation from the following areas:

(see slide)

slide 5: Process

  • Continue to Conduct the Traffic Control Reviews Yearly
  • Create a Questionnaire for Projects to Complete
    • Design
    • Construction
    • Traffic/Safety
  • Select Projects to complete the questionnaire
  • Compile the Results for the Review Team to Review
  • Document Commendable Practices and Recommendations
  • Create Follow-up Actions and Assign to the Responsible Parties
  • Issue WZ Process Review Report and Present to every CDOT Residency

Speaker notes:

Once the team was assembled we reviewed the purpose and scope of the review.

We currently conduct yearly Traffic Control Reviews to assess our work zones. It is only required every 2 years by FHWA, but CDOT will continue to conduct them yearly.

We decided the best method to obtain the information for the process review was to create a questionnaire that targets each area, being Design, Construction, and Traffic/Safety.

The projects selected were based on our yearly traffic control reviews. We selected one project in each region where both the designer and the project engineer would received the questionnaire.

Results were compiled and reviewed by the team. Commendable practices and recommendations were documented. Areas of improvement had follow-up actions that were assigned to the responsible personnel.

Each year all results of the process review will be presented to all (50+) CDOT residencies (face to face).

slide 6: Project Selection

  • Traffic Control Reviews
    • Six Construction Projects in Each Region
    • One Nighttime Operation Field Review
    • Two Maintenance Project Field Reviews
    • One Full Office and Field Review
    • One No Notification Field Review
    • One Notification Field Review
  • WZ Process Review used the "One Full Office and Field Review" Project to Receive the Process Review Questionnaire
    • Six Projects Statewide

Speaker notes:

Let me share with you a little more about our yearly Traffic Control Reviews. We review six projects in each region. The types of reviews are shown here.

The reason "One Full Office and Field Review" is bolded, is because this is what the review team decided would be the best candidate for the questionnaires. This means six projects across the state were selected.

We will now talk about the format of the questionnaire.

slide 7: The Questionnaire

  • General Questions
    • Addressed to Project and Design Personnel
  • Design Questions
  • Construction Questions
  • Safety/Traffic Operations Questions

Speaker notes:

The questionnaire was divided into four sections.

  • General
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Safety/Traffic Operations

The purpose of this questionnaire was to ensure that every level of our projects from design through construction knew what the WZSM policies and procedures were and making sure they were implemented at the project level.

Now we will show you a small sample of our questionnaire.

slide 8: General Question Examples

  • What TCP and WZSM Procedure required strategies are commonly utilized on this project?
  • Please explain any overall concerns you have with the WZSM Procedures?
  • Do other elements of work phasing, and environmental requirements, affect your WZSM procedures?

Speaker notes:

Here are a few of the General Questions that were sent to our Design and Construction Engineers

Our goal was to find out:

  • What strategies are being used?
  • What issues or concerns were coming up as a result of implementing the WZSM.
  • If there were any other or outside factors affecting implementation.

slide 9: Design Question Examples

  • During project scoping is the minimization of road user impacts considered?
  • Has the implementation of WZSM procedures caused you to consider additional or different strategies that what has been used in the past?
  • For projects on the Interstate within a Transportation Management Area, have any exception requests been submitted to FHWA?

Speaker notes:

Here are the Design Personnel Questions...

Here we wanted to:

  • Verify that the process for WZSM began with project scoping
  • Find out if WZSM procedures influenced strategy selection
  • Find out if any project surveyed applied for an exception – such as those on interstates in low volume areas (near our stateline)

slide 10: Construction Question Examples

  • Are TMP's being implemented as designed? If not, what changes are commonly made?
  • Is the designer notified?
  • What criterion is utilized to adjust speed limits during the course of a project?

Speaker notes:

Here are some Construction question examples.

Here we were looking to improve the initial TMP's.

We wanted to improve the collaboration between construction and design personnel, if necessary

And we wanted to make sure that we were uniformly approaching the setting of project speed limits statewide.

slide 11: Traffic Operations Question Examples

  • Are projects sequenced to consider the overall network and region-wide impacts?
  • When is public information used and what methods do you use?
  • Who makes the final decision on work zone speed limits?

Speaker notes:

Here are the Traffic Questions

With the first question wanted to verify that network and region-wide impacts were considered during project scheduling. Especially when it comes to coordinating two concurrent projects in the same area or corridor.

We wanted to find out how and when our PI spec was being utilized

Here we wanted to ensure a consistent approach to the setting of speed limits and again, that there was a central point of decision making.

slide 12: Successful Practices

  • Projects are utilizing custom operation strategies that exceed required minimum CDOT traffic control and operations strategies
  • Well coordinated public outreach and relations efforts
  • Variable Message signs are being used in the cases of extended delays and to notify the public of upcoming construction

Speaker notes:

After compiling the results, we found the following were successful practices across the majority of the projects.

We found that projects were exceeding our minimum traffic control and operations strategies.

Our public information efforts were above and beyond the requirements of the WZSM requirements and our Regions had some type of method of public outreach for long projects or projects that affect a large number of travellers.

One tool, VMS signs were set out before large projects to notify travellers of upcoming work or possible delays that could be expected by work going on.

slide 13: Follow-up Actions

  • Some confusion on the updated WZSM rule and the purpose, even though information sessions were held.
    • CDOT will continue to provide information sessions and make the presentation available online.
  • Some Project Designers are not being notified of adjustments to the TCP.
    • CDOT will update the Construction Manual to require Project Engineers to notify the designer.
  • Contractors were not surveyed for this Process Review. CDOT will develop contractor questions during the 2013 review

Speaker notes:

Here are some Follow-up Actions that came as a result of the Process Review:

We found new project and consultant project engineers are still coming up to speed on WZSM so we found the initial training on WZSM needs to be continued. We initially rolled out the WZSM training for the J and K rollout. As a result of this Process Review, we decided to continue the information sessions and share the presentation online.

Speaking of online, we also have a central website for all our staff and the public to access all documentation related to WZSM. We found that having all this in a central location was beneficial for those who needed assistance or clarification.

We also found Project Designers need to be notified of adjustments to the TCP as a best practice to improve our product at the design level for future projects.

One missing piece we found was that we did not survey our contractors. The next Review team will create questions to measure performance.

slide 14: Questions

Speaker notes:


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