Work Zone Safety Analysis and Modeling: A State-of-the-Art Review

Hong Yang, Kaan Ozbay, Ozgur Ozturk, Kun Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Work zone safety is one of the top priorities for transportation agencies. In recent years, a considerable volume of research has sought to determine work zone crash characteristics and causal factors. Unlike other non–work zone–related safety studies (on both crash frequency and severity), there has not yet been a comprehensive review and assessment of methodological approaches for work zone safety. To address this deficit, this article aims to provide a comprehensive review of the existing extensive research efforts focused on work zone crash-related analysis and modeling, in the hopes of providing researchers and practitioners with a complete overview.

Methods: Relevant literature published in the last 5 decades was retrieved from the National Work Zone Crash Information Clearinghouse and the Transport Research International Documentation database and other public digital libraries and search engines. Both peer-reviewed publications and research reports were obtained. Each study was carefully reviewed, and those that focused on either work zone crash data analysis or work zone safety modeling were identified. The most relevant studies are specifically examined and discussed in the article.

Results: The identified studies were carefully synthesized to understand the state of knowledge on work zone safety. Agreement and inconsistency regarding the characteristics of the work zone crashes discussed in the descriptive studies were summarized. Progress and issues about the current practices on work zone crash frequency and severity modeling are also explored and discussed. The challenges facing work zone safety research are then presented.

Conclusions: The synthesis of the literature suggests that the presence of a work zone is likely to increase the crash rate. Crashes are not uniformly distributed within work zones and rear-end crashes are the most prevalent type of crashes in work zones. There was no across-the-board agreement among numerous papers reviewed on the relationship between work zone crashes and other factors such as time, weather, victim severity, traffic control devices, and facility types. Moreover, both work zone crash frequency and severity models still rely on relatively simple modeling techniques and approaches. In addition, work zone data limitations have caused a number of challenges in analyzing and modeling work zone safety. Additional efforts on data collection, developing a systematic data analysis framework, and using more advanced modeling approaches are suggested as future research tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-396
Number of pages10
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 19 2015


  • crash data
  • crash frequency
  • crash occurrence
  • crash severity
  • model
  • safety analysis
  • traffic safety
  • work zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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