Improving Construction Communication
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Improving Construction Communication

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    The extensive use of roads and highways in the United States results in continuous maintenance and construction activities. Work zones are inconvenient for motorists and dangerous for both motorists and transportation workers. During the period 1997-2002, non-construction highway fatalities remain about constant while highway construction zone fatalities increased by 70%. The most common complaint about construction projects from the general public is the lack of information. Improving communication with the public about construction conditions will allow drivers to make safer driving decisions and will increase their satisfaction with the construction process. The safety and satisfaction of drivers is fundamental to the expansion and maintenance of transportation systems and research that improves that safety and satisfaction is vitally important. This study explores the ADOT construction communication process and how it can be improved. This study examines data collected from ADOT customers during the State Route 51 (SR 51) project. During the $75 million project, approximately 10 miles of SR 51 between Interstate 10 and State Route 101 were renovated to include new high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and rubberized asphalt. Communication was measured by customer utilization of four direct communication channels and four indirect communication channels. Satisfaction was measured by a composite score based on customer satisfaction with traffic, dust, noise, signage, and information during the construction process. Almost all respondents relied upon at least one channel for construction communication and almost 80% of respondents reported using between one and three channels. The most frequently utilized channel was construction signs (55.9%) and the least frequently utilized channel was e-mail alerts (1.5%). Less than 4% of the respondents did not utilize any communication channel. Direct communication channels resulted in higher customer satisfaction than did indirect communication channels. Construction bulletins contributed the most to customer satisfaction, followed by the project web site. Neither television nor radio contributed to customer satisfaction. As sources of project communication, neighbors and friends had a strong but negative effect on customer satisfaction.
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