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FDOT's Smart Work Zone Initiative



  • How FDOT is currently leveraging intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and connected and automated vehicle (CAV) applications to create smart work zone (SWZ) projects on resurfacing, construction, or widening projects
  • How FDOT will evaluate deployed technologies to estimate potential benefits of the SWZ, and to develop lessons learned documents to scale this concept for future construction projects.
  • How FDOT is actively undergoing testing efforts for the deployment of technology to increase work zone safety and mobility through third-party navigation systems, such as the “Waze” platform.


In 2016, Florida had the second highest number of fatal traffic crashes in work zones in the nation. Workers were present in 35 percent of all fatal crashes and 44 percent of crashes resulting in serious injuries. According to 2016 to 2018 statewide crash data, Florida experienced 10,000 work zone-related crashes, including 193 fatalities and 1,296 severe injuries. A considerable percentage of these crashes were angle and rear-end crashes, 36 percent, with the following contributing factors:

  • Back of queue
  • Failure to follow the speed limit
  • Lack of traffic control at the lane merge
  • Limited line of sight

To reduce crashes in work zone areas, current practices of FDOT include:

  • Enforcing traffic laws within the work zone area
  • Public awareness and education regarding work zone safety
  • Enforcement to strategically address driver behavior, locations, and conditions most common or hazardous in speeding-related crashes
  • FDOT is developing an Action Plan to provide guidance for implementing Smart Work Zone technologies in the work zones in Florida for improving safety and enhancing mobility. The Action Plan will be followed by the development of other standards

FDOT leverages intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and connected and automated vehicle (CAV) applications to create smart work zone (SWZ) projects. The SWZ technologies will be tested on resurfacing, construction, or widening projects using CAV and ITS applications. An evaluation of deployed technologies will be conducted to estimate the potential benefits of the SWZ, and develop lessons learned and documents to scale this concept on future construction projects.  

TSMO Planning, Strategies and Deployment

FDOT’s 2017 Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O) Strategic Plan identifies TSM&O Mainstreaming as a statewide focus area. The Strategic Plan describes the scope of TSM&O Mainstreaming as follows: Statewide and regional incorporation of TSM&O elements into all transportation projects from planning through design that also include work zone traffic management. Florida’s Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) Business Plan, January 2019, includes recommendations for near-term CAV pilot projects such as Smart Work Zones (SWZ) and autonomous truck-mounted attenuators (ATMA). Addressing work zone safety and mobility issues with AWZM strategies support the four FDOT Vital Few Objectives, namely: improve safety, enhance mobility, inspire innovation, and foster talent.

FDOT has comprehensive standard guidelines and procedures for temporary traffic control at work zones. Some of the temporary traffic control plans include ITS components. FDOT has also been including CAV and emerging technologies in more construction and road work projects. Current FDOT’s standards and guidelines for traffic control in work zones include the following.

  • FDOT Design Manual (FDM) covers maintenance of traffic in the following sections:
    • Section 240, Transportation Management Plan
    • Section 241, Lane Closure Analysis
    • Section 242, Traffic Pacing Design
    • Section 243, Portable Changeable Message Signs
    • Section 321, Temporary Traffic Control Plan
  • FDOT Standard Plans 102-600 series
  • The FDOT Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction cover maintenance of traffic in the following sections:
    • Section 102, Maintenance of Traffic
    • Section 990, Temporary Traffic Control Device Materials

FDOT is currently looking into the possibility of including smart work zone technologies in its current standards for better management of traffic in the work zones. Developing an Active Work Zone Management Action Plan was identified as an action item in FDOT’s Vital Few Mobility Implementation Plan. The Action Plan will identify how FDOT can mainstream the implementation of SWZ systems at the work zones in Florida. As part of the groundwork for SWZ technology implementations in Florida, in 2019 FDOT developed and advertised a request for information (RFI) seeking industry responses on the latest technology evolution for work zone deployments. FDOT had received several respondents for the RFI and conducted technology demonstrations with all respondents. FDOT identified several emerging technologies for implementation that include, but are not limited to:

  • Queue detection and warning systems
  • Speed monitoring and management systems
  • Construction equipment alert system
  • Travel time monitoring system
  • Over-height vehicle warning systems
  • Vehicle intrusion systems
  • Reduced speed alert systems

Communications, Planning and Execution

FDOT has organized an SWZ vendor demonstration that set the tone for the department’s desire to increase the use of emerging technologies in active work zone management. FDOT has a particular focus on keeping pace with the latest technological advancements and implementing the proven technologies at the work zone for a better travel experience for general motorists. The ongoing activities and implementation initiatives regarding SWZ deployments within FDOT include:

  • FDOT Central Office Initiatives:
    • A sample template scope of work for SWZ projects was developed and shared with the Districts.
    • Developing an Active Work Zone Action Plan that will provide guidance for mainstreaming SWZ deployments in the state.
  • FDOT Districts Initiatives:
    • FDOT District 4 is planning and designing an SWZ project titled “SR 869/SW 10th Street Connector TSMO Smart Work Zone Project” in Broward County. The planned SWZ technologies include (a) traveler information systems and (b) queue warning. The methods of communication to the motorists include (a) Portable Changeable Message Signs (PCMS), (b) smartphone applications, (c) CV technologies, and (d) arterial Dynamic Message Signs (DMSs). 
    • FDOT District 5 has implemented a traveler information system by leveraging DMSs in the construction project of I-4 Ultimate. Moreover, FDOT is conducting another SWZ pilot project on an I-4 segment that includes traveler information systems implementation by using smart arrow boards and CV technologies. District 5 also implemented queue warning systems at the interchange between I-4 and I-95 by leveraging the existing DMSs. 
    • FDOT District 6 is also equipping the Incident Response Vehicle fleet in Miami-Dade County with connected smart arrow boards and applying CAV technologies to increase the safety and efficiency of the regional transportation system. The project is intended to utilize real-time data to improve traffic incident management; promote awareness of traffic incidents and hazards by informing drivers of potential merging conditions up ahead; leverage the use of existing traveler information dissemination platforms and applications and utilize GPS and cellular communications to transfer and exchange data over a cloud network in real-time.
    • District 7 is planning and designing an SWZ project for the Tampa Bay Next (I-275 Westshore/Memorial interchange reconstruction). FDOT is using emerging technologies to implement SWZ strategies such as:
  • Dynamic Late/Zipper Merge to improve safety and reduce lane-closure induced delays.
  • Automated portable changeable message signs (PCMSs) library-based messages in response to real-time work zone conditions to support queue warning, reduced speed, zipper merge, and lane closures.
  • Variable Speed Limit postings, based on real-time 85th percentile speed, to support speed harmonization in an effort to improve both work zone safety and travel reliability. Sharing work zone information with third parties, using work zone data exchange standards.
    • FTE is planning an SWZ deployment project on Seminole Expressway for a resurfacing project. The project will include SWZ technologies such as (a) traveler information systems and (b) work zone location technologies. Work zone information will be communicated to motorists via (a) smartphone applications and (b) PCMS.

Outcome, Benefit and Learnings

The overall benefits of implementing SWZ include:

  • Consistent with the FDOT Vital Few initiatives, these pilots support the implementation of initiatives centered on improving safety, enhancing mobility, and inspiring innovation.
  • Relatively low-cost method to reach the traveling public through currently available navigation tools.
  • Create smarter and connected response vehicles on the FDOT’s road network.
  • Alert motorists of the presence of road service vehicles and personnel.
  • Reduced total work zone crashes.
  • Reduced impact from queue formation and minimize congestion.
  • Reduced secondary crashes.
  • Speed management in construction zones.

Links to Industry Resources

Following guidelines are followed across the state to advance SWZ initiatives in Florida.


Operations Area of Practice

    Connected Vehicles
    Work Zone Management

Organizational Capability Element

    Work Zone Management

Content Type

Case Studies & Lessons Learned

Publishing Organization

TOM Chapters
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