Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
A guide for practitioners!

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Planning for Road Works

A survey of all planned roadworks will provide important data for the Traffic Control Centre to assess the duration and the time-line of forecast obstructions and develop the least disruptive master plan. This task requires control centre operator awareness and proficient scheduling.

There are some drawbacks and constraints - such as:

  • the need for control centre staff to have training to carry out this work
  • uncertainty in predicting the combined effect of roadworks in more than one location on traffic demand over the wider network
  • uncertainty over actual periods of construction work
  • lack of information on work performed by utilities (water, electrical, telephone and TV cable, gas)
  • difficulty in controlling the time and space taken by roadworks where plans are changed by the contractors
  • difficulty integrating unplanned, emergency work into any plan

The objective will be to schedule roadworks to minimise their impact and reduce disruption to road users, for example by avoiding:

  • multiple work zones in close succession on the same roadway
  • simultaneous work causing disruption on two parallel routes
  • work requiring lane closures during times of peak-hour or peak season traffic

Operations during construction

The goal is to minimise the actual or probable disruption to users caused by major construction works by initiating consideration of:

  • roadwork logistics, layout and design (as far in advance as possible)
  • operating measures to be implemented
  • choice of timing for work, based on traffic flows

The optimum plan for roadworks operations can be developed by progressively focusing on the best approach for executing the roadworks, incorporating safety concerns and traffic flows, and integrating these considerations and the results into the plan.
This requires knowledge of:

  • historical traffic demands
  • residual capacity at the site
  • potential disruptions
  • various potential work techniques
  • opportunities for diversionary routes
  • possibilities for displacing traffic in time and space
  • other potential planned roadwork nearby
  • other major constraints, such as unavoidable periods of high traffic demand

Sometimes several solutions will be available (local detour, alternative routes, alternating open lanes). The choice will be based on total cost, including the cost of work and cost of delays. While work is in progress it is important to check compliance of signalling and operating methods with the content of the operations plan.

Reference sources

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