About the research
The ability to acquire and set up work zone related devices that are in compliance with the 2012 revisions to the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) can sometimes be difficult for smaller cities. The smaller budgets for these cities can result in a lack of inventory and/or the use of signs that are in poor condition.
The objectives of this project were to assist smaller cities in the acquisition and setup of devices to improve the safety of their work zones for their public works staff and the traveling public. The design, creation, and implementation of the small city work zone sign package program was completed to meet these objectives.
First, the content of the work zone sign package was developed. Second, the eligibility rules to apply and compete for the sign package were defined. These rules included having a city population of 10,000 or less and at least one staff person who had completed work zone related training in the last three years. Third, an application was created and distributed to the 27 cities that were deemed eligible. This application consisted of 13 questions that were designed to determine the need each eligible city had for the work zone sign package. Fourth, an evaluation and ranking process that assigned points to the answers for each question was defined and applied. This process was designed to both quantitatively and qualitatively rank each city’s need for the work zone sign package. A ranking process was needed to apply in situations where more applications were received than work zone sign packages available. For this pilot project, however, funding for 10 work zone sign packages was available and 10 applications were received.
It was concluded that this project helped meet the objective of increasing work zone safety within small cities. The questions contained in the application also appeared to measure the need of the city applicants for the work zone sign package. Based on the application results, it is recommended that the eligibility rules and distribution approach for the competition may need to be changed in order to increase participation. In addition, adjustments to the evaluation and ranking process used for each of the questions could be reconsidered based on the results of this work. Several recommended changes to the questions and the evaluation and ranking process are described in this report. Finally, it is recommended that the program be continued in order to serve the additional needs of small cities in Iowa.