Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is a regional agency responsible for maintaining roadways within the Phoenix metropolitan area in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). Both agencies share responsibility for maintaining a regionally integrated traffic data-sharing entity, called AZTech, which serves as the central data-sharing system across the region’s traffic and emergency management agencies.
Since 2015, MCDOT has developed and used AZTech to promote and enhance work zone data management practices. To help supplement the existing system, MCDOT built the Traffic Information for Road Closures (TIRC) system to collect and share lane and road closure data. The primary focus for TIRC was to provide arterial information to neighboring agencies. MCDOT soon realized that some agencies may want to control their own methods for collecting and managing data, so they developed data inputs into a central repository that allow neighboring agencies to integrate their road closure information through various means. This includes Really Simple Syndication (RSS), geographic information systems (GIS), and spreadsheets. This effort, referred to as Regional Archive Data Systems (RADS) resulted in 10 local agencies sharing lane and road closure data along arterial roadways.
To begin working with the WZDx specification, MCDOT selected a pilot project to better understand how the specification could be used. Maricopa County (MC)-85, a major freight corridor, which parallels I-10 through a large industrial area was selected for the pilot project. A major widening project along the corridor, scheduled for 1.5 years, justified the use of advanced technologies for congestion mitigation. MCDOT deployed several technologies on the corridor. These include connected vehicles with in-vehicle messaging, a series of detectors to collect travel time data, and dynamic message sign (DMS) postings of travel times along the corridor. 1
For this project, MCDOT used information from RADS to publish the MC-85 work zone data using the WZDx specification. A primary user of the RADS data, now being published in the WZDx specification, was a trucking company and its in-vehicle vendor. For the MC-85 corridor, the system vendor applied geo-fencing at entry points upstream of the work zone. This allowed the vendor supplied system to push messages to inform, advise, and alert drivers to conditions within the work zone.
MCDOT determined the project to be a success because it was able to show reduced travel times in peak performance periods; increased compliance with speed restrictions; no fatalities or worker safety issues; and no crashes or distractions from the presence of smart work zone equipment. MCDOT is now planning to expand the use of WZDx specification to all work zones in the area.
These challenges in collecting complete and timely data, coordinating resources, and integrating data sets currently stand in the way of agencies publishing well-maintained and WZDx conformant data products.
- 1Saleem, F. (2019, 4 4). MCDOT Work Zone Data Exchange (USDOT WZDx) Initial Assessment (MC-85 Project). Retrieved from https://transops.s3.amazonaws.com/uploaded_files/MCDOT%20WZDx%20Presentation_Faisal%20Saleem.pdf