Driver Perceptions of Traffic-Calming Versus Active Enforcement Efforts in Work Zones Academic Article uri icon


  • Many highway agencies wrestle with the question of how best to use enforcement personnel to improve work zone safety. Some agencies prefer to position the enforcement officer and vehicle at key locations (often upstream of a work crew) to be a visible enforcement presence and serve a traffic-calming role. Other agencies prefer to have enforcement personnel actively identify, pursue, and cite violators. Those favoring active enforcement efforts are concerned that the use of enforcement for traffic-calming purposes reduces enforcement credibility and effectiveness over time. Those favoring traffic-calming use of enforcement worry that pursuit and citation activities periodically moves the enforcement officer and vehicle away from the desired position in the work zone and so the traffic-calming effect at that location is temporarily lost. This paper presents the results of a survey of driver perceptions and self-reported behaviors when drivers encounter enforcement vehicles and personnel in work zones. Responses from regions where enforcement was deployed exclusively for traffic-calming purposes were compared with regions where enforcement was deployed exclusively for identification, pursuit, and citation of traffic law violators. The results indicate that drivers do indeed realize how enforcement is being used in a particular region, especially if it is for visibility and attention-getting purposes. However, this awareness did not translate to a difference in how drivers believed they reacted when encountering an enforcement vehicle in a work zone, nor did it affect vehicle speed reductions when an enforcement vehicle was present in a work zone.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ullman, G. L., & Brewer, M. A.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Ullman, Gerald L||Brewer, Marcus A

publication date

  • January 2014