USDOT issues new workzone data sharing guidance to improve safety


The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has just released version 2 of the Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx) Specification, which enables infrastructure owners and operators to further harmonise workzone data for third-party use.

The new specification aims to make data more scalable, by eliminating nested tables; open, by using the GeoJSON geographical open standard format; simple, with three, clear road statuses (partially close, fully closed or fully open); and accurate by focusing on lane-specific data.

The WZDx Specification is intended to make travel on public roads safer and more efficient through ubiquitous access to data on workzone activity.

In 2019, the Work Zone Data Working Group (WZDWG) was established under the Federal Geographic Data Committee Transportation Subcommittee to develop version 2 of the WZDx Specification based on lessons learned from version 1.1 and new insights from the user community.

The WZDWG spent the latter half of 2019 encouraging discussion on the WZDx GitHub site, identifying and prioritizing changes to the WZDx Specification for version 2, and holding meetings with data producers and users representing various constituencies across the workzone ecosystem to review proposed changes for version 2 of the specification.

The proposed changes passed by a majority vote of the WZDWG in December 2019 and were merged into the specification to form WZDx version 2. The changes were made to the WZDx Specification:
• Adopted a relational data model approach to eliminate nested tables and make the specification more scalable
• Required feeds to be published in GeoJSON to facilitate data consumption and use
• Simplified road closure impact reporting to indicate whether a road is partially closed, fully closed, or fully open
• Captured lane-level restrictions (when available) to specify work zone impacts for each lane of a roadway

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).