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Smarter Work Zones (SWZ) 

Effective traffic management during construction is necessary to minimize travel delays, enhance motorist and worker safety, maintain access to local businesses and residences, and complete roadwork on time. SWZ provide a better design, plan, coordination, and operation of work zones. SWZ is a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Every Day Counts Round 3 (EDC-3) innovation that Pennsylvania championed. 

How Does It Work? 

SWZ provide a wide range of technologies and measures that lead to safe and efficient work zones. These applications use intelligent transportation systems to manage work zone traffic dynamically and to minimize work zone impacts to the traveling public. Some of these safety measures include queue warning systems, dynamic lane merge, variable speed limits, automated enforcement, and performance measurement.  

What Are The Benefits? 

SWZs reduce travel delays and improve the safety for those working in the work zone and the motorists. They also help minimize work zone impacts by coordinating construction activities within a corridor, network and region.  

Innovation in Motion 

PennDOT has integrated smarter work zone strategies and new technology to dynamically manage traffic in work zones, minimize travel delays, and help maintain motorist and worker safety. For example, PennDOT District 10 deployed sequential lighting on the State Route 422 and South Sixth Street Bridge projects in Indiana County to increase visibility and safety for motorists in the work zone. 

In 2015, PennDOT District 10 used an Automated Queue Warning (AQW) System on the multi-year Interstate 80 Clarion County Preventative Maintenance project. Speed sensors, a queue warning server, and dynamic message boards alerted motorists to slowed and stopped traffic.  

In 2018, following legislation enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission partnered with the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) to implement a statewide Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program. AWZSE uses portable, electronic speed timing systems to detect and record vehicles driving faster than 11 miles over the posted speed limit. The purpose of the program is to: reduce speeds in work zones; improve driver behavior; save worker and traveler lives; complement existing PSP enforcement; and promote work zone safety.