Two lane road with a diamond shaped sign that says “road work ahead” on the shoulder of the road.

Do You Need an Automated Flagger (AFAD) in Your Work Zone?

We’d like to think that this question could be answered with a simple “yes!” But, if you’re thinking about using an automated flagger assistance device (AFAD) in your work zone, you’ve probably got a few more questions like, are AFADs actually effective? Do they perform better than traditional human flaggers? Are AFADS proven to be safer than other flagging methods? Purchasing an automated flagger for your work zone is a big decision. Keep reading to learn more about why you need an AFAD in your work zone.

Are AFADs actually effective?

Yes. Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs) are proven to be an effective way of managing traffic in temporary traffic control (TTC) zones. There are a couple of questions that might arise when considering the effectiveness and efficiency of an AFAD in your work zone.

1. Are automated flaggers a hassle to haul, set-up, and tear down at the end of the workday?

Unfortunately, they can be, but they don’t have to be. At IntelliStrobe, we designed our AFADS specifically to make your life easier. IntelliStrobe AFADs are lightweight and easy to set up and tear down by a diverse workforce. They are also small enough to set up within industry regulations on the road shoulder with minimal difficulty. 

2. Do drivers passing through the work zone respond quickly to AFADs? 

Yes. In 2018, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) conducted a study to evaluate the different types of automated flagger assistance devices. The MoDOT study found that when it came to driver performance measures, they all favored an AFAD over a human flagger. In a survey distributed, 80% of participants preferred the AFAD over a flagger, and simulator results indicated that the AFAD performed better than a human flagger.

Are AFADs safer than other flagging methods?

Yes. Automated flaggers are safer for drivers passing through the work zone and for the workers within the work zone. On a basic safety level,  Section 6E.04 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) states that all AFADs must meet the “crashworthy performance criteria” as defined by the National Highway Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP).

The MoDOT AFAD performance study found that drivers passing through the work zone performed more safely with AFADs than flaggers with vehicle approach speed, stop location, intervention rate, and first vehicle approach speed.

Do AFADs eliminate the need for human flaggers?

No. AFADs require a certified human flagger to operate them safely and efficiently. Automated Flagger Assistance Devices simply exist to make work zones safer for drivers, flaggers, and workers. IntelliStrobe AFADs are operated via a handheld transceiver, with the human flagger positioned safely out of the direct line of traffic. This way, the flagger can focus on oncoming traffic and traffic going through the work zone without worrying about their safety.

Contact IntelliStrobe to learn more about how our AFADs are revolutionizing work zone safety across the country.

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