The safety and management of road works

The everyday life of road workers is often fraught with danger. High travel speeds and disrespectful drivers are an unwanted component to the environment of road workers, making it difficult for them to accomplish their tasks. High speed means there is little time for the driver to detect the work zone and, in event of an accident, the consequences will be more severe. At the same time, road users are bothered by the road work and want to minimize any disturbances to their travel and their access to their destinations. Road works are signposted to make road users realise that road works are in progress, advise them how they must act, and how they can navigate the road works in a safe manner. In spite of these warnings, incidents and accidents do occur at road works where road users are involved. It is important to chart the problems which arise when those working on the road and other road users share the same road sections.

That is why BRRC participates in various projects contred on the safety, legibility and management of road work sites:

  • from 2011 till 2013 a project financed under the ERANET-ROAD programme and going by the acronym STARs (Scoring Traffic At Roadworks) looked at the concept of risk in three risk areas:
    • o road workers: risk of injury;
    • road users: risk of injury;
    • network performance: risk of congestion / accidents;
  • in February 2013 a two-year project named ASAP (Appropriate Speed saves All People) was started to gather knowledge on the effectiveness of speed control measures in road work zones, including both measures relating to the layout and legibility of the work zone and the use of specific means to inform road users and increase their awareness; speed enforcement (which may result in specific fines, like in Northern America) is addressed as well. ASAP is financed under a programme of the Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR);
  • also running under a CEDR programme, from February 2013 to October 2015, is the project BRoWSER (Baselining Road Works Safety on European Roads), which mainly aims to develop a harmonized framework for collecting data on accidents (due to interaction with traffic) involving road workers and to gather all useful information on rules for the organization of works and the layout of work zones on European roads, with a view to investiginging the links between work zone layout and accidents. The ultimate goal is to provide road authorities with the necessary tools for collecting and reporting road worker casualty data.