Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

Development of a Connected Smart Vest for Improved Roadside Work Zone Safety



Roadside work zones (WZs) present imminent safety hazards for roadway workers as well as passing motorists. In 2016, 764 fatalities occurred in work zones in the United States due to motor vehicle traffic crashes. A number of factors (aging highway infrastructure, increased road work, increased levels of traffic and more nighttime WZs) have led to an increase in WZ crashes in the past few years. Consequently, WZs are becoming increasingly dangerous for workers as well as passing motorists. The standard work zone safety signage and personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by workers at roadside WZs have not been completely effective in controlling work zone crashes. A viable solution to this problem is to design a wearable device to accurately localize, monitor, and predict potential collisions between WZ actors based on their movements and activities, and communicate potential collisions to workers, passing drivers, and connected and automated vehicles (CAVs). This project aims to develop a wearable worker localization and communication device (i.e., Smart Vest) that utilizes the previously developed Threat Detection Algorithm (Safe-D project 03-050) to communicate workers’ locations to passing CAVs and proactively warn workers and passing motorists of potential collisions. As a result, this research is expected to significantly improve the safety conditions of roadside WZs through prompt detection and communication of hazardous situations to workers and drivers.

Project Highlights

Coming Soon!

Final Report

04-104 Final Report

EWD & T2 Products

Coming Soon!


Coming Soon!

Research Investigators (PI*)

Nazila Roofigari-Esfahan (VT)*
Elizabeth White (VTTI/VT)
Mike Mollenhauer (VTTI/VT)
Jean Paul Talledo Vilela (VTTI/VT)
Wenjun Han (VT)

Project Information

Start Date: 03/01/2019
End Date: 11/30/2020
Status: Active
Grant Number: 69A3551747115
Total Funding: $591,945
Source Organization: Safe-D National UTC
Project Number: 04-104

Safe-D Theme Areas

Connected Vehicles
Automated Vehicles

Safe-D Application Areas

Operations and Design
Risk Assessment
Planning for Safety
Vulnerable Users

More Information

UTC Project Information Form

Sponsor Organization

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
University Transportation Centers Program
Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590 United States

Performing Organization

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
3135 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-3135