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Use of Fluorescent Orange Delineators in Temporary Traffic Control Work Zones

Started: July, 2020 Ended: June, 2022 Project ID #4W8537 Status: Terminated


This project aims to examine the effectiveness of new non-MUTCD delineation devices using fluorescent orange delineators in temporary traffic control work zones.


Road maintenance and reconstruction often present serious safety challenges to highway agencies due to the dynamic and variable work environment which may well be inconsistent with drivers’ expectations. As such, proper delineation of the travel path through work zones is critical for safe and efficient work zone operations. Currently, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) only allows white and yellow delineators within temporary traffic control (TTC) work zones (section 6F.80, MUTCD 2009). Field observations suggest that using conventional white and yellow delineation may not be adequate to effectively delineate traffic through work zones. The proposed research aims to evaluate a new alternative fluorescent orange delineation devices for their effectiveness in guiding traffic through work zones. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) used the new proposed devices (larger, 6” x 12”, retro-reflective fluorescent orange delineators) in lieu of the MUTCD approved white delineators in two rural reconstruction projects during summers 2015 and 2016.  Pictures and observations were taken and recorded for the original and proposed delineation devices.  MDT project inspectors report the new devices to offer better visibility even when the delineators become dusty and dirty. The fluorescent orange delineators are much more visible during nighttime, adverse weather conditions, and construction activities. Further, road users are familiar with the fluorescent orange color within wok zones which may aid in identifying traveled ways that are not self-explaining.


Sponsors & Partners

  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Sponsor

Part of: Safety and Operations, WTI-SURTCOM

Project Tagged In: temporary traffic control, delineators, MUTCD, work zones

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