Mobile app aims to reduce work zone-related crashes
Florida is testing the Lane Closure Notification System, which allows highway workers to send notices of traffic changes to navigation services like Waze.
In an effort to keep drivers and highway workers safe, the Florida Department of Transportation is testing an app that uses GPS and mapping technologies to alert drivers of work zones and lane closures.
Between 2017 and 2021, there were more than 53,000 work-zone related crashes, FDOT reported. So far in 2022, Florida has seen nearly 6,000 similar crashes, including 49 fatalities and 168 serious injuries, according to statewide crash data.
The one-year pilot will test the Lane Closure Notification System (LCNS), which aims to protect road workers by notifying motorists of upcoming obstacles either with a visual or audio cue within their mapping application or vehicle navigation device. Drivers are then directed how to safely navigate work zones, FDOT officials said in the announcement.
LCNS will use a mobile app from one.network, a transportation data provider, that works in conjunction with the company’s cloud-based traffic management platform. With the Live Link mobile app, work zone supervisors can “geometrically map out lane closures and deliver near real-time alerts to GPS companies that will update drivers on any upcoming work zones or lane closures via smartphone navigation applications,” the announcement said.
Road workers and traffic managers in the control room can also use the app to send real-time updates on temporary work zone speed-limit changes and construction worker presence to satellite navigation services and consumer mapping services, like Waze. Other information provided by the service includes information on traffic congestion and roadside incidents.
LCNS was soft-launched in June, and a statewide rollout to over 500 construction projects is anticipated over the next few months, officials said. The pilot program will cover more than 12,000 miles of Florida’s roads, and data will be published to navigation apps such as Google Maps, Waze, TomTom and Apple Maps as the mapping companies decide to utilize the feature.
Knowing about closures and delays will increase safety for highway workers, create a better experience for motorists and keep construction projects on schedule.
“Expanding communications technology is going to be key to saving lives in work zones and out on our roadways,” said Ananth Prasad, president of the Florida Transportation Builders Association. “Live Link gives our members a way to tell drivers to slow down and be extra diligent when they enter a work zone. These construction zones are their office, and for the first time, we’re giving them a real-time voice in their own safety.”