Only a few agencies have successfully implemented the work zone data specification into production. This low adoption rate exists despite a high degree of interest in the specification itself based on comments found on the official GitHub site and discussions between IOOs and the FHWA. Based on these comments and conversations, the slow adoption of the standard appears to stem from other roadblocks and challenges. Following is a list of challenges that agencies face in working with work zone data:
- WZED elements are difficult to obtain, as work zone data collection is often an ad-hoc effort. Where data do exist, they often reside in data silos (e.g., project plans, CAD databases, contract administration software) that require multiple interfaces and significant processing to standardize. This necessitates IT resources and the will to commit those resources to successfully accomplish standardization.
- In most agencies, work zone data points are manually entered by personnel in various areas of the agency. This manual data creation lends itself to collecting less precise data and/or a higher probability of errors. In addition, as data entry personnel are not necessarily connected organizationally with the group implementing the WZDx, this can lead to difficulty in coordinating the collection and entry of all appropriate fields called for by the WZDx.
- While the WZED needed are fairly straightforward (e.g., timing and location of work zone activities) the information is not always known far in advance, particularly for shorter-duration work zones and maintenance activities. In addition, keeping published data up to date requires planning and some scheduled commitment of resources. Many agencies simply do not have a good mechanism for truly verifying if a planned lane closure becomes an active lane closure, often reporting that they rely on receiving phone calls from workers onsite to verify changes in work zone status.
- Work zones that involve multiple WZED changes during the work period (e.g., changing from one lane closed to two lanes closed later in the work shift) can similarly be difficult to obtain in real-time for updating agency or third-party information dissemination.
- The WZDx specification includes optional fields due to the inability by some agencies to create and maintain any additional data from what they already produce. Because of this, any given dataset conforming to that specification may not have all of the expected data fields available.