If you work near, walk on, or drive on highways and public roads, then you’ve likely seen a variety of traffic control equipment. Specialized equipment is commonly used in construction zones where workers must direct traffic around certain areas and warn drivers of upcoming and immediate risks.
These devices are part of an overall effort to make the roads safer for everyone, and we will discuss the most common types below.
The Importance of Traffic Control Equipment
According to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, traffic control devices are used to:
- Meet users’ needs
- Draw drivers’ attention to construction zones
- Convey messages
- Give drivers enough time to act accordingly
With the right type and placement of traffic control equipment, road workers and municipalities can keep the roads safer for all involved.
Traffic channelizing drums consist of flexible and lightweight materials, which makes them ideal for use in areas where vehicles travel at high speeds. Drums must be at least 36 inches tall and 18 inches wide so they get drivers’ attention. The MUTCD, or Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, says that the drums can’t be made of steel and markings must follow strict requirements.
Traffic delineator tubing is tall, slender, and comes in various colors. This type of traffic control equipment also includes white segments, ensuring better visibility at night and in inclement weather. Unlike other devices, delineator tubing is best for use in low-traffic and pedestrian areas.
Traffic barricades are fixed or portable devices that come with various markings. Barricades are commonly used to control traffic by outlining, restricting, or closing the right of way for motor vehicles. Certain variables dictate the use of different types of barricades, including:
· Type I. These barricades are used in temporary construction areas.
· Type II. This type of traffic barricade has more reflective tape for additional visibility.
· Type III. These are used on roads that are permanently or temporarily closed, and they may extend across the entire road.
Portable Traffic Barriers
Oftentimes, road workers use portable barriers to restrict pedestrian and driver access. The need for movable barriers is determined based on the location’s engineering and protective needs.
For instance, portable barricades are sometimes used to keep pedestrians out of construction sites or to direct traffic. In the latter case, channelizing devices and delineators are also used.
Road safety cones are a common type of traffic control equipment that’s often used on construction sites. Cones are versatile enough to outline traffic lanes and point out areas of ongoing utility and maintenance work.
They’re best for areas where traffic moves at low speeds, and they must follow certain marking, size, and width requirements. Depending on the location, some cones may be outfitted with weights for increased stability.
Traffic Control Devices Make the Roads Safer for Drivers, Pedestrians, and Workers
As the economy evolves and more vehicles hit the country’s roads every day, different types of traffic control equipment will be needed to keep road workers, drivers, and walkers safe. In work areas, drivers must be fully aware of detours, blockages, moving equipment, and lane closures that may inhibit access.
Project planners and transportation authorities can use these devices to make jobsites safer for employees and minimize the risk of serious accidents, property damage, and personal injury.