Colorado Department of Transportation
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In April 2013, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) activated a Smart Work Zone (SWZ) system as the first part of a long-awaited bore widening of the eastbound Twin Tunnels project on I-70 west of Denver. This project was the first of several highway improvements proposed along this corridor to address the heavy traffic congestion that occurs every weekend and holiday in the eastbound direction as motorists are coming home from their recreational trips in the mountains.

The Smart Work Zone (SWZ) system consisted of several devices linked together in a wireless network to perform as one unit. The components included portable non-intrusive traffic sensors, portable pan-tilt-zoom cameras, portable message sign panels (PMSPs), and software with user-defined parameters to collect and analyze data and trigger new messages on the system and/or send warnings to appropriate personnel. It also included a central control system for various data processing and communication functions, and a website for user interface and data display.

The main purpose of the SWZ system was to collect real time vehicle data at various locations, in advance of and within the work zone. The data would be used to inform the affected motorists a well as the Colorado Transportation Management Center (CTMC) personnel, the SWZ Project Engineer, and the Region 1 Traffic Engineer of operational conditions and historical data related to traffic delays, stopped conditions, queuing, and other pertinent traffic information. The ultimate goal was to assist the affected drivers in reacting accordingly and/or planning their travel through the work zone.
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Colorado Department of Transportation
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Smart Work Zone (SWZ) Lessons Learned
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