Paul Lorton, Safety Programs Unit Chief for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Safety Engineering, currently serves as Technical Review Panel (TRP) co-chair on R27-155, “Improving the Effectiveness of Smart Work Zone Technologies,” an ICT/IDOT research project related to work zone safety and mobility.
The objective of this project is to investigate the potential for improving the effectiveness of smart work zone applications, including queue detection, travel time/delay estimation, and speed estimation, through evaluation of the performance of various sensing systems. The project is expected to result in development of guidelines for incorporation of smart work zone technology in certain interstate highway projects to better manage and mitigate traffic queuing.
“The recommendation will be based on cost versus performance analyses,” says Lorton. Ultimately, these guidelines may lead to development of policy regarding the use of this strategy to mitigate work zone mobility issues and to enhance safety performance in work zones on the interstate highway system.
“It is anticipated that this effort will identify what sensor type is most effective for specific applications; how many sensors will be needed to most effectively capture traffic conditions; and what the expected performance of the system will be for various applications,” he adds.
Lorton also served as TRP chair for ICT/IDOT projects R27-109, “Effects of Flaggers and Spotters in Directing Work Zone Traffic for Illinois Freeways and Expressways”; R27-110, “Training and Implementing Findings of Queue and Users’ Costs in Highway Work Zones (Phase 2)”; and R27-SP24, “TrafficTurk Evaluation.”
For the past two years, Lorton has been working with an IDOT task group charged with combining the Work Site Protection Manual, Supplement to the Work Site Protection Manual, Flaggers’ Handbook, and Quality Standard for Work Zone Traffic Control Devices into a Traffic Control Field Manual for IDOT employee use. He has also been assisting in the annual review of traffic control in active work zones in five IDOT districts across the state and in preparing a summary document for each district, outlining observed elements that can provide better guidance to IDOT on designing and implementing temporary traffic control for future projects. The districts rely on the results of the annual review for making necessary changes on existing projects, examining current standards and specifications for possible revisions, and identifying best practices.
Lorton is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he received a bachelor’s degree in urban and environmental engineering. Before joining IDOT’s Bureau of Safety Engineering, he served as Director of Public Works and City Engineer for the City of Collinsville, Illinois. He is licensed as a Professional Engineer in Illinois, Missouri, and Georgia.