E.M. Choueiri, R.A. Valenti, D. Sandhu, G.M. Choueiri, B.M. Choueiri
FHWA has established the STOP/SLOW paddle as the primary hand-signaling device in work zones. Although their clear messages provide motorists with positive guidance, they are cumbersome to use. Flags are much easier to handle, but should generally be used only in spot locations for emergencies because they do not provide such guidance. Highway Maintenance employees in NYSDOT's Region 9 have developed a hand-held flag displaying STOP and SLOW legends, combining the maneuverability of flags with the positive guidance of paddles. NYSDOT received FHWA permission to evaluate its effectiveness, and comparative field tests indicated that drivers reduce speed earlier as they approach the new flag -- for example, at about 120 m motorists averaged 4.9 km/h slower in approaching the new flag than the paddle. There were also fewer erratic driver movements or violations of instructions when using the new flag. Based on this evidence of improved compliance and legibility, the new hand-held flag displaying STOP and SLOW legends warrants consideration as an alternative to the STOP/SLOW paddle.
Keywords: STOP/SLOW paddle; experimental STOP/SLOW hand-held flag; driver recognition and compliance