What is a Smart Work Zone?

smart work zones

Have you heard of a Smart Work Zone? Otherwise known as Intelligent Work Zones, IWZ Systems, SWZs, or IWZs. Smart Work Zones bring automation into a construction work zone making the area safer for both motorists and construction personnel.

Even if you have never heard of a Smart Work Zone, the chances are high that you have driven through one. Smart Work Zones are used by transportation agencies throughout the country to make travel through and around work zones safer and more efficient. If you’ve driven past a message board that shares traffic updates or used a website or apps like WAZE and the US Department of Transportation’s Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx) to acquire up-to-date traveler information, you have interacted with a Smart Work Zone. SWZs consist of a variety of different types of equipment and may include one or more of the following:

  • Queue Warning Systems:  A Queue Warning System, also known as a Stopped Traffic Advisory System, informs drivers of the presence of downstream stop-and-go traffic based on real-time traffic detection. The system activates warning signs and flashing lights that alert drivers to expect emergency braking and reduces collisions.
  • Dynamic Lane Merge System:  A Dynamic Lane Merge System manages the traffic approaching a lane closure. The system is placed before a lane ends to inform motorists of the need to merge. This system calms traffic and prevents collisions within highway work zones.
  • Trucks Entering/Exiting System: The Trucks Entering/Exiting System alerts motorists to slow-moving construction vehicles that are entering or exiting the highway and allows drivers to switch lanes to allow the construction vehicle to merge safely. This system features a changeable message that can be programmed remotely or flashing lights that are affixed to a static sign.
  • Variable Speed Limit Trailer: Traffic can be managed through a work zone by incorporating Variable Speed Limit trailers. Speed limits can be adjusted remotely via software and also set on a schedule to align with construction schedules.

Smart Work Zones detect changes in roadways such as lane closures, stopped traffic, slow traffic, merging construction vehicles, or significant travel delays. This information is then shared with motorists by electric signs that are placed on the side of the road. The real-time updates combined with the ability to monitor and operate the SWZ equipment remotely results in safer and more efficient work zones.

Smart Work Zone Implementation

Since 1999 Street Smart has been the nation’s most trusted resource partner for specialized traffic safety equipment, and Smart Work Zone implementation. We partner with traffic control companies, governmental agencies, general contractors, and safety-conscious professionals across every industry to foster intelligent work zones. We service the United States and Canada and our team of experts is ready to get you the equipment you need, whenever, wherever.

Smart Work Zone / Intelligent Transportation Systems / Connected Work Zone Integrator