Florida Launches Alert System for Work Zones, Lane Closures
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Truckers and others driving through Florida have a new alert system for lane closures with real-time updates from work zones along interstates and state roads that’s being billed as the first of its kind in North America.
The new Lane Closure Notification System is a $200,000 yearlong pilot project (financed with state transportation funds) resulting from a partnership with Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Transportation Builders Association and cloud-based platform company One.network.
The system leverages the latest GPS and mapping technologies to alert drivers.
FDOT is excited to offer drivers a hands-free option for real-time & accurate lane closure info on Waze and other GPS apps. This new tech, the Lane Closure Notification System, will improve worker safety by alerting drivers of active work zones: https://t.co/bzXNiityUk pic.twitter.com/gZMyoLD1je — FLORIDA DOT (@MyFDOT) August 22, 2022
The Waze navigation app has been active since the project was launched statewide Aug. 22 after a test phase. Other notification platforms will be online in following months.
“Truckers will benefit by receiving lane closure alerts from navigation apps such as Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps, etc., and potentially from in-cab truck systems such as Drivewyze and PrePass,” Michael Williams, FDOT deputy communications director, told Transport Topics. “These alerts give truckers information to slow down prior to construction work zones, as well as potentially avoiding a congested road segment by detouring to an alternate route.”
Work zone supervisors tap into LiveLink’s smartphone application to geometrically map out lane closures and deliver near real-time notices.
The project’s goal is to increase worker safety while helping drivers navigate around the sites safely, efficiently and in a timely manner. More construction lane closures are expected to be identified and tracked in real time.
Other potential benefits are decreasing work zone crashes, fatalities and serious injuries.
Jared Perdue, Florida transportation secretary, said when announcing the project that the system “will be essential for improving construction worker and motorist safety in work zones” throughout the state.
According to Williams, FDOT will collect and analyze data to evaluate the safety and mobility benefits. He credited the state Builders Association as playing a vital role in the project, which would have been impossible without its assistance.
“With FTBA’s support, the road builder industry has been trained by One.network and FDOT on the process and implementation of the lane closure notification system,” Williams said. “Those supervisors on the ground who input the construction lane closure information into the One.network LiveLink app provide real-time accurate data that makes the system successful.”
FDOT has started staff and contractors on using the system in all planned construction sites across more than 12,000 miles of state roads in FDOT’s seven regional districts and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise during the yearlong pilot.
Over the next few months, the system will be rolled out to more than 500 construction projects statewide, with alerts to be published to navigation apps as the mapping companies opt to use the system.
“FDOT’s mission and vision are to provide a safe and efficient transportation system for Florida’s citizens and visitors. To assist with this mission, FDOT is leveraging technologies for the safety of workers in work zones and the safety and mobility of Florida’s road users,” he added.
Florida’s complex state road and highway network and high traffic volumes made it an ideal location for the project, according to a One.network announcement. “At any given time in Florida, there are hundreds of active FDOT roadway construction sites, which puts an overwhelming number of people in daily contact with ever-changing work zones. Statewide crash data from 2017 to 2021 indicates that Florida experienced more than 53,000 work zone-related crashes, including 356 fatalities and 1,904 severe injuries,” the company stated.
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