top of page


Developing FHWA Work Zone Driver Model Towards Practical Application

  • DTFH-61-15-V-00015

  • $630,000

  • POP: 31 mths

  • Jul. 2015 - Feb. 2018

  • Role: COR

  • Dates Involved: Nov. 2015 - Nov. 2017

  • Duties: Scope of Work; Project Management; Deliverable Review and Acceptance



Work zones pose operational problems. Annually, work zones account for an estimated 420 million hours of delay and 600 fatalities. Studies have shown that driver behavior in work zones is different than non-work zones. Specifically, lane-changing and car-following behaviors change when the driver is approaching and traversing a work zone.

Despite considerable research to improve work zone mobility, there has been little focus on the effective use of microsimulation tools to analyze work zone operations. Although these tools have been used by agencies and industry to predict and assess the impacts of work zone design alternatives, these tools do not include applications that capture the differences in driver behavior known to exist in work zones.

A previous FHWA-sponsored project collected car-following data from 64 drivers and developed a new framework for modeling driver behavior in work zones. The new framework recognizes the different driver behaviors found in freeway work zones and has shown that driver behavior in work zones is significantly different than in non-work zones.


This project will identify the most prevalent microsimulation tools being used by state DOTs to determine and characterize how driver behavior in work zones are quantified in the individual models. Focusing on the driver behavior component in each of the selected simulation models, this project will use the most recently developed multidimensional framework for modeling car-following in work zones to identify the software modifications necessary to make simulation models more accurately evaluate the impact of work zones. These modifications will include: (1) specific model calibration parameters that could easily be provided by users; and (2) changes to the embedded logic in the models, which would require use of application program interfaces or similar applications tools to adjust the model to accurately represent work zone operations.

Generic car-following framework of the FHWA Work Zone Driver Model


  1. Project Management

  2. Selected Microsimulation Software Tools

  3. Prepare Work Zone Data

  4. Develop Program Code for Multidimensional Driver Model

    • Calibrate and Validate the Six Regimes​

    • Develop the Work Zone Software

  5. Demonstrate Multidimensional Driver Model in Microsimulation Software

  6. Develop User Guide for Multidimensional Driver Model​

  7. Collect Data in Massachusetts Work Zones

  8. Investigate the Application of NDS & RID Dataset for Model Calibration

The I-91 NB closure, as seen from the IRV (left), satellite (middle), and MassDOT AutoCAD drawings of the lane closure (right). This closure and location was used as the case study to demonstrate the developed framework integrated into a microsimulation software.

Queue lengths and locations per run: Field vs. VISSIM (Wiedemann) vs. VISSIM (FHWA). This closure and location was used as the case study to demonstrate the developed framework integrated into a microsimulation software.

bottom of page