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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Very Short Duration Work Zone Safety for Maintenance and Other Activities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25512.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Very Short Duration Work Zone Safety for Maintenance and Other Activities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25512.
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Page 4

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3 Background The objective of NCHRP 20-05 Topic 49-04 was to synthesize the current state of practice on the selection and setup of VSDWZs where the traffic control setup may take longer than the actual work activities. The researchers sought to identify current practices and lessons learned in the following areas: • Road or roadside activities considered to be of very short duration. • Thresholds for use of VSDWZs. • Current practices at different agencies for VSD road or roadside activities to minimize workers’ exposure. • Innovative practices or new emerging technologies used for these activities to reduce exposure or increase visibility and safety. • Current agency experience with use of different types of equipment, signage, and setups. • Current agency work zone setup practices for conducting very short duration maintenance activities. • Practices that have been changed due to crashes, injuries, and/or fatalities. • Training. Synthesis Scope and Methods The information provided in this synthesis was gathered through a review of the literature, a survey of state departments of transportation (DOTs), and follow-up interviews to produce case examples for four agencies that have developed specific guidance on the topic for their jurisdictions. The surveys were conducted through NCHRP in cooperation with the American Associa- tion of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). AASHTO provided an email distribution list of members of the SCOM. Fifty state DOTs were invited to participate in the survey. The survey method consisted of the following steps: • Step 1: An initial invitation was sent to SCOM members through email. • Step 2: Approximately 2 weeks later, email reminders were sent to those state DOTs that had not responded to the initial invitation. • Step 3: Follow-up phone calls were made to state DOTs that had not responded to either email invitation. • Step 4: Panel members encouraged unresponsive states to participate in the survey. • Step 5: Surveys were completed with 41 agencies, for an 82% participation rate. C H A P T E R 1 Introduction

4 Very Short Duration Work Zone Safety for Maintenance and Other Activities Report Organization This synthesis of practice is organized into five chapters and three appendices: • Chapter 1—Introduction. The chapter introduces the synthesis by providing background information and summarizing the scope and organization of the synthesis report. • Chapter 2—Literature Review. The chapter provides a review of the existing federal guide- lines on TTC for short duration, mobile, and VSD work zones. It also includes a review of relevant literature. • Chapter 3—State DOT Practices and Experiences. The chapter summarizes and discusses the findings of the surveys of state DOTs. • Chapter 4—Case Examples. The chapter provides more detailed information for selected state DOT practices that address VSDWZs. • Chapter 5—Conclusions and Suggestions for Future Research. The synthesis concludes with key observations and findings as well as suggestions for future research and outreach to share TTC strategies for VSDWZs within state DOTs. • Appendices—Appendix A provides the questionnaire used for the survey. Appendix B pro- vides the job titles of the survey respondents from each state. Appendix C provides a summary of the responses obtained from each state.

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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 533 identifies the current state of practice among state departments of transportation (DOTs) regarding selection and setup of very short duration work zone (VSDWZ).

The report presents case examples of four state DOTs along with an in-depth analysis of the VSDWZ policies of these states. The case example agencies have developed specific guidance on the topic for their jurisdictions.

VSDWZ activities are those activities not defined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) under short duration work zone or temporary traffic control (TTC) zones. These activities are usually 1 to 20 minutes long and include maintenance activities (e.g., performing temporary patching, picking up debris, or placing traffic count tubes) where TTC is not set up.

VSDWZ activities reduce the exposure of workers to risk and the inconvenience to traffic that standard TTC zones would create. Current policies and practices in place at various agencies for VSDWZ activities vary substantially. The work-zone setup also varies by the type of maintenance or other very short duration activity and roadway classification (e.g., speed, AADT, and number of lanes). Historically, during those activities, a large number of worker fatalities have occurred.

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