About the research
The research project documented in this report was initiated in response to the expected retirements and/or position redefinitions of instructors for work zone safety and/or flagger training in Iowa. It was proposed that a comprehensive evaluation of the training in these subject areas be completed and that recommendations for the future be developed. A significant portion of those trained in these subject areas occurs during the annual Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Work Zone Safety Workshop training series. This series includes instructors from Iowa DOT and its work zone safety and flagger training partners. Work zone safety and flagger trainings available on-site, and a sample of what is available online, are also summarized and documented in this report. This summary includes some of the content from an unpublished report (see Appendices A and B) recently completed that proposed a work zone safety training program for Minnesota. A needs assessment for work zone and flagger training in Iowa was also completed online and through various other methods. These activities generally showed that the training offered in Iowa was serving the needs of those who attend. The content of these trainings, it is believed, was likely developed in response to the information provided in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD), Iowa DOT Standard Specifications, and audience need.
In general, it is recommended that the audience, content, and learning outcomes/objectives of these existing trainings be defined and documented. In the short term (i.e., during the COVID-19 pandemic), it is also suggested that there is a need to adjust the content of the existing training to a virtual format. It is also recommended, among other things, that consideration be given to the certification of instructors that offer certain work zone safety and flagger training in Iowa and also those who attend particular classes. A need to teach from the same work zone safety and flagger training instructional materials, with additional modules used for different audiences as necessary, is also proposed. These considerations or proposals could lead to changes in Iowa DOT Standard Specifications and/or Iowa code in the long term. Additional information is also provided in Appendix C about potential subject of a flagger and/or basic work zone training course.