The Texas Department of Transportation has launched two new tools to warn drivers approaching road construction zones to slow down along with a new traffic signal to improve safety during left turns, according to a report from our sister site Better Roads.
Being the guy holding the flags or signs to direct traffic on a road construction zone that requires one or more lanes be shut down on a busy highway can be one of the most dangerous responsibilities to have on a jobsite. In order to allow these guys to do their jobs from the safety of the roadside, TxDOT has launhed what are called Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs).
AFADs are portable remote control arm gates covered in reflective material and equipped with a flashing red and yellow light or a rotating Stop/Slow sign. To stop traffic, the flagger no simply pushes a button from afar, the arm gate lowers across the roadway and the sign or flashing light up top changes to read Stop or flashes red. All in all, it’s a really great way to keep these guys safe.
To warn drivers as they approach a jobsite, TxDOT has begun deploying rubber rumble strips. The strips are placed five feet apart in sets of three and resemble speed bumps but are only about 1-inch in height. They don’t jolt vehicles too badly and won’t cause damage if driven over at a high speed. Instead, the strips are meant to catch the driver’s attention through the sound and slight vibration.
The third new tool isn’t meant so much for road construction sites as it is for improving traffic safety. After successful trial runs across the nation and an OK from the Federal Highway Administration, TxDOT has begun installing flashing yellow-arrow left-turn signals at traffic lights. The yellow arrows are replacing the familiar circular green signals used at left turns where traffic can turn left only after it has yielded to oncoming traffic.
You can watch a video of the new tools in action below.