Construction zones can greatly affect the traffic flow on roadways, especially when lane closures are required. Traditionally, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has used traffic management specifications that only allow lane closures and road work to be done during predetermined hours or specifications that require a certain number of lanes to be open at all times. Recently, mobility-based work-zone traffic flow maintenance has been considered. This method requires continuous monitoring of mobility-based performance data and a mechanism to send alerts to the contractors when the mobility data does not meet the standards set by the specifications. UDOT recently tested mobility-based performance specifications at an urban arterial work zone and studied issues related to implementation of mobility-based performance specifications. Parallel to this experiment, UDOT funded a study to develop guidelines for implementing mobility-based performance specifications to manage traffic flow in work zones. Dynamically collecting mobility-based data such as travel time and speed is now feasible using technologies such as Bluetooth and microwave sensors. The core benefit of using mobility-based performance specifications is that they can give the contractor more flexibility in construction work scheduling while maintaining an acceptable level of traffic flow. If the level of traffic flow is not maintained, then the contractor is assessed a financial penalty. The penalty is determined by the amount of time where the flow is not maintained at a predetermined condition. To discuss issues and develop guidelines, a task force consisting of UDOT representatives, several representatives from the construction industry, and researchers from Brigham Young University was formed. Through three task force meetings, a set of 12 guidelines were developed, including guidelines about when mobility-based performance specifications should be used and which mobility data should be used. Some of the issues were difficult for the task force members to agree on, and a decision-making theory called the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) was used to find best approaches to deal with some of the difficult issues associated with the implementation of mobility-based performance specifications in highway construction contracts. These guidelines should be reviewed as appropriate in the future as UDOT accumulates experience in using these types of specifications.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Shawn Larson, construction, mobility-based performance, specification, incentive, disincentive, work zone, TOPSIS, task force