AWP Safety is an advocate for innovative traffic solutions that help make our work zones and roadways safer. Recently, AsphaltPro Magazine interviewed vice president of AWP Safety’s north business division, Greg Ryan, on the benefits of using automated flagger assistance device (AFAD) technology in AWP Safety work zones.
Since 2020, we have implemented the use of automated flagging assistance devices across many of our work zones, and continue to see the benefits for crews, customers and drivers. AFADs provide a number of known benefits, from improving the safety of construction workers by removing flaggers from the flow of traffic, to reducing labor costs and improving operational efficiency.
Research shows that drivers are more responsive to automated flaggers than human flaggers. Plus, when a distracted driver doesn’t respond to an automated flagging assistance device, there are safety mechanisms in place to protect those in danger. The gate arm sounds an alarm to notify crews and get them out of harm’s way. Crews also have video footage of the occurrence to help identify who is at fault.
“The flagger is 100% safer if they’re operating the AFAD from a safe distance instead of standing out there for a traditional flagging operation,” Ryan said. “When we implement AFADs on appropriate jobs, it means we have additional manpower to use for jobs where AFADs don’t make sense,” for example, double lane closures or any job that calls for arrow boards or similar devices/setups.
AWP customers benefit from the additional manpower that becomes available when AFADs are leveraged for appropriate flagging operations. Our workforce capacity increases and we are more agile to support additional traffic control needs.
AFADs are also integrated with Google/Waze technology, instantly informing those apps of the active work zones so they can then alert drivers and help to reroute traffic. “Studies show that notifying drivers of an active work zone results in a 20 to 25% reduction in traffic,” Ryan said. “Anytime you can go from having 100 cars driving past a work zone to 75, I’ll take that deal.”
Leveraging AFADs in the workzone is beneficial for our customers, crews and the public. To read the full article about some of AWP Safety’s experiences using AFADs, visit AsphaltPro Magazine.
Want to learn more about automated flagger assistance devices? Visit our AFAD information page and request a free demo today!