Research Activities: 2011

Effects of Road Construction Intensity and Operations on Rural Freeway Work Zone Capacity


Complete                      View Final Report: PDF

Sequential Number R307
Identification Number  00039803
Matching Research Agency Missouri University of Science & Technology, Civil Engineering
Principal Investigator Ronaldo Luna
Professor, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology
226 McNutt Hall
Rolla, MO 65401
(573) 341-4484
Student Involvement

2 Graduate Research Assistants


Project Objective
  1. Collect and analyze field data
  2. Quantify the effects of:
    1. Construction vehicle ingress/egress from the open traffic lane(s)
    2. Different construction operations adjacent to open lane(s)
    3. Presence of workers and heavy equipment operation next to open traffic lane(s)
  3. Propose recommendations to minimize the effects of the above factors on the work zone capacity, and increase the throughput of the work zone open lane.

Project Abstract

Capacity has been defined and measured by many researchers. Capacity is dependent on many variables that can be broadly categorized as traffic, geometric and traffic control conditions. Capacity is also affected by construction type and its intensity on adjacent open traffic lanes. The effect on capacity is a function of vehicles moving in and out of the closed lanes of the work zone, and the presence of heavy construction vehicles. Construction activity and its intensity, however, are not commonly considered in estimating capacity of a highway lane.

The main purpose of this project is to quantify the effects of construction type and intensity (e.g. maintenance, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and milling) on work zone capacity. The intensity of construction activity can be defined as the frequency of work zone vehicles ingress/egress from the open traffic lane, the presence of heavy construction vehicles like milling machines, etc., number of workers present at the work site. The objective will be to quantify the effects of construction type and its intensity on work zone capacity and to develop guidelines for MoDOT to estimate the specific operation type and intensity that will improve traffic flow and shorten the length of queues commonly associated with work zones.


Relationship to other Research/Projects

Missouri work zone capacity: results of field data analysis – project completed in 2011.


Transportation-Related Keywords

Work zone capacity

Technology Transfer Activities

The findings and results will be summarized and presented at the annual NUTC conference and other professional conferences as well as regular CIES meetings.


Project Deliverables

This project is part of a pool-funded initiative at Iowa State University.  The results of this research will be  focused on work zones in the sate of Missouri and the results will be combined with those from other states.  The Missouri DOT will be involved in the exchange of data and identification of work zones to conduct the study.  Many opportunities to present the findings and discuss the approach and methods are going to be available working with local district offices and central office.  At least on e presentation will be delivered within the state of Missouri to present the findings in addition to TRB and the overall project in Iowa State.

Anticipated Benefits

The results of the study will be used to reduce congestion and travel time delay by reducing the impact of construction activity on traffic flow which in turn will help the state Departments of Transportation in improving customer satisfaction.


Project Start Date: 06/01/2012
Project End Date: