|Abstract||Work zones are defined as road sections of which different activities such as road construction or maintenance take place. In most work zones, road alignments are different than the pre-work periods. Therefore, speed limits at work zones are temporary and lower than the speeds upstream the work zone. Work zones are considered as hazardous locations for drivers since crash rate and severity are high at these locations. This driving simulator study aimed to investigate the safety impact of innovative variable message signs (VMSs) based system at work zones. Seventy volunteers holding a valid Qatari driving license participated in this study. The proposed system (i.e. VMS scenario) was compared to a control scenario which was designed based on the Qatar Work Zone Traffic Management Guide (QWZTMG). The control scenario contains six static signs. Each sign in the control scenario was replaced with an innovative VMS of which two signs were animation-based. Each participant was tested for the two scenarios in two different situations. The first situation was to drive on the left lane, while the second situation was driving on the second lane. Results showed that VMS scenario motivated drivers to reduce their traveling speeds earlier compared to the control scenario. Moreover, compared with the control scenario, the VMS scenario significantly reduced drivers’ traveling speed by 6.3 and 11.1 kph for the first and second situations respectively. Lane position results showed that drivers in
the VMS scenario initiated lane changing maneuvers 150 m earlier than the control scenario.
Furthermore, drivers in the VMS scenario were motivated to keep larger headways with the merging
vehicle. In conclusion, the proposed VMS system has
shown high potential in improving traffic safety at work zones.