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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



work zone, conflict and event, citation, crash, safety, narrative


Work zone crashes and fatalities have been decreasing since 1994. Yet, according to Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 667 people were killed in highway work zone crashes in 2009. As the United States’ infrastructure ages and new roads and highways are constructed less frequently, the need for repairs and alterations to the nation’s roadways is continually increasing. This growth ensures that work zones will be a vital piece of design focus in the near future. In order to continue the decreasing trend in work zone crashes, and reduce the still significant number of work zone fatalities, work zones need to continually be examined to identify opportunities for improved safety.

This research explored the relationship between work zone related crashes and work zone design and setup. More specifically, existing literature and current standards, compiled with crash report form data in the UMass Safety Data Warehouse and field observations in Massachusetts were integrated to determine the causes and remedies for work zone related crashes. The research examined three critical areas: 1) causation of work zone related crashes in contrast to non-work zone related crashes along with variations of citations as a result of work zone crashes; 2) variations of the work zone definition and the impact on work zone involvement; and 3) analysis of conflict and event studies for small scale work zones to develop a methodology using surrogate measures to identify potential countermeasures leading to improved work zone safety. The results are expected to advance the current state of knowledge with regards to work zone design and setup, resulting in recommended actions for improved work zone analysis and design strategies.


First Advisor

Michael A. Knodler