What is Positive Protection?


Illustration of how positive protection prevents longitudinal and lateral work zone crashes.
Positive Protection Barriers provide separation and help prevent longitudinal and lateral crashes into work zones.

Positive Protection are measures “between workers and motorized traffic” which “contain and/or redirect vehicles" and meet applicable crashworthiness criteria . 1, 2

Positive Protection may include highly mobile barrier, movable and temporary steel barrier, movable concrete barrier, traditional concrete barrier, associated cushions, and other strategies to avoid traffic accidents in work zones including full road closure. 3

Mobile and other movable barriers enable field crews to quickly create work spaces that are physically separated from moving traffic and quickly removed from the roadway once the work is completed.

Examples of Positive Protection devices

Commonly Cited Benefits

The rising number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities highlight the need for positive protection. In a 2019 survey, 67% of highway contractors reported crashes into their work zones and 89% think positive protection would improve safety on their projects. 4

New types of Positive Protection Barriers have made work zone safety practical and cost-effective. California research found a cost benefit for highly mobile barrier of $1.9 million per year, per barrier. 14

Benefits vary by product and application. Commonly cited benefits of using Positive Protection include:

  • Safeguarding Workers Against Intrusions
  • Reducing Project Duration & Cost
  • Maximizing Roadway Capacity
  • Increasing Productivity with Onboard Tools and Supplies
  • Increasing Efficiency/Saving Time
  • Increasing Employee Retention
  • Decreasing Liability and Damages
  • Reducing Risk and Exposure to Dangers of Live Work Zone
Introductory Quote

"We have the technology and 'know how' to build our roadway system to anticipate user error. It can be designed, constructed, equipped, and operated to forgive the errant user and protect the innocent victim."


"We have the technology and 'know how' to build our roadway system to anticipate user error. It can be designed, constructed, equipped, and operated to forgive the errant user and protect the innocent victim."

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Footnotes


8 Estimated Total Crashes & Injuries Data: 2013-2015 data from NHTSA National Automotive Sampling General Estimates System (NASS/GES). NHTSA retired NASS/GES at the end of 2015. 2016-2017 data from NHTSA's replacement Crash Report Sampling System (CRSS).
9 Fatalities Data: NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) Encyclopedia. 2018 is the last year with available data.
14 UC Davis/AHMCT, “A Risk Assessment and Cost Benefit Analysis for [Highly Mobile Barriers],” Technical Report Number UCD-ARR-08-09-30-01, (2008). Ibid, Attachment 3.
15 Mobile Barriers LLC internal crash analysis for Washington D.C. located highly mobile barrier.
16 Former Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).


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