News and Resources

April 12, 2022

The Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx)


If you are part of the transportation or road construction industries, you may have heard of the Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx). Initially launched in 2020, it is gaining ground, but still not commonly known in 2022, although it decidedly reaches into the future of road safety. Let’s look at what it is, how it works, its benefits, and more.


What is the Work Zone Data exchange (WZDx)?

The WZDx is a data-sharing specification. It’s a standard vocabulary and format in which real-time work zone data is collected and published. Its purpose? To improve road safety by making work zone data widely accessible in a consistent language and structure.

Ver-Mac team members serve as co-chairs on the Worker Presence and Smart Work Zone Subgroups that have developed and are refining industry standards for the WZDx.


WZDx


How does the Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx) work?

It all starts with data originating from various sources such as road construction planning software, field devices, and restriction systems. WZDx compatible software systems pull data from WZDx-formatted data feeds and assemble, complement, and enrich their local data to create complete data that will define: where and when planned and active work zones are, the impact they will have on motorists, the presence of workers and more. That information is then published in the same WZDx format so data users such as mapping companies, connected vehicles, OEM and TMS software can gather it for their own needs.

For example:

A work zone is planned on a stretch of road and a lane will be removed, speed will be reduced, and an exit ramp closed. One day, equipment is deployed at the planned location. Automatically a system will publish that the work zone is now active based on the presence of workers, and reduced speeds based on digital sped limit units are installed on the job.

Mapping companies will read that information and automatically update their map to reflect the closed ramp and reduce speed limits. From that moment on, connected vehicle routing applications will use alternate roads as they been informed that the ramp is closed. All this is possible with the WZDx.


Work Zone Data Exchange



Data Feed Types


The Work Zone Data Exchange makes 3 types of feeds available to 3rd parties:

data feed types


Ver-Mac and the Work Zone Data Exchange

Ver-Mac’s connected field hardware collects and distributes information in a format that is already compatible with the latest WZDx and SWZDeviceFeed formats. Due to our active involvement in several WZDx subgroups, we are always up to speed on proposed changes and ensuring our equipment is compliant.


Which data is transmitted from our units?

  • Arrow Boards: location & arrow pattern display
  • Camera Trailers: location & URL for latest still image
  • Portable Message Signs: location & current message
  • Flashing Beacons: location, application & message
  • Hybrid Signs: static text with dynamic LED display (ex.: digital speed limit device that communicates the new regulatory speed limit)
  • Location Markers: critical GPS location markers
  • Traffic Sensors: location & traffic data over interval


What are the benefits of using the Work Zone Data Exchange?

First and foremost, there is a need to increase road safety approaching and through work zones for both workers and motorists. Any incident is one too many. The numbers, however, are startling:

“In 2019, the most recent year for which data are available, 842 people died in highway work zone crashes compared to 757 in the previous year. The 11% increase is the largest year-over-year increase of highway work zone fatalities this century.” (Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics)



For navigation systems, connected vehicles, and other third parties


The Work Zone Data Exchange makes it easier for third party navigation systems such as Waze, and connected vehicles like Telsa, to access standard information allowing them to communicate potential traffic hazards to motorists.

This helps make work zones more secure by informing motorists BEFORE they reach a work zone. Drivers can be made aware of the presence of work zones, reduced work zone speed limits, active lane closures and the presence of workers. This enables motorists to be alert and prepared ahead of time and adjust their driving accordingly.


navigation systems



For Departments of Transportation (DOTs)


By receiving a standardized data feed, DOTs receive the same descriptions and information for all connected work zones and road events.

Normalized quality data makes it easier to analyze, sort, and interpret work zone Information such as planned projects and their impacts. It provides a real-time picture of what is happening in road work zones.

It saves time and reduces the need to deal with multiple database formats and change information. The integration of this critical real-time information can help automate historically manual input processes, freeing traffic management staff for other important activities.


DOT


Other relevant third parties

The content can also be used by Smart Work Zone clients, government agencies, barricade companies, fleet operators, advanced traffic management software, and more.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 


How do I make sure my work zone data in collected according to the WZDx standard?

In your equipment requirement, specify that you want your connected unit to push data in the WZDx format. Your Ver-Mac connected equipment will then push data in that format.

How can I access data from the WZDx?

Departments of Transportation (DOTs), companies and other third parties can pull data from the WZDx feeds through in-house IT solutions. An information architect needs to set up a system to access the feed’s information.

Who can benefit from the WZDx?

DOTs, government agencies, barricade companies, smart work zone operators, navigation companies, motorists, and more.

Where can I find more details on the Work Zone Data Exchange?

You can find more information on the WZDx here. You can see the current version of the standard and suggest enhancements to the standard with the community.

How do I get my organization more involved?

The WZDx is an open architecture, and everyone is welcome to participate and offer input. Visit this website for more information or to become actively involved.


Do you have questions about how units connect to the Work Zone Data Exchange? Contact us at connected@ver-mac.com


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