Best Practices in Traffic Incident ManagementAuthor/Presenter: Carson, Jodi L.
Traffic incident management (TIM) is a planned and coordinated program to detect and remove incidents and restore traffic capacity as safely and quickly as possible. Over time, various tools and strategies have been developed and implemented in an effort to improve overall TIM efforts. This report describes task-specific and cross-cutting issues or challenges commonly encountered by TIM responders in the performance of their duties, and novel and/or effective strategies for overcoming these issues and challenges (i.e., best practices). Task-specific challenges may include obtaining accurate information from motorists, accessing the scene, and condemning a spilled load. Cross-cutting challenges may include interagency coordination and communication, technology procurement and deployment, and performance measurement. The reported tools and strategies for improving TIM range from sophisticated, high-technology strategies to simple, procedural strategies. Information to support this investigation was obtained through (1) a review of published and electronic information sources and (2) input from TIM personnel in Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington representing law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, transportation, and towing and recovery agencies. For many of the individual tools and strategies, a wide range of effectiveness was reported by locale, challenging the explicit identification of best practices and suggesting that local conditions related to the nature and extent of operation, maintenance, marketing, etc. have a significant impact on the perceived or measured success of specific TIM efforts. The National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC), in cooperation with FHWA, provides a unique forum for not only disseminating the information presented here but also for standardizing practices to consistently maximize the effectiveness of TIM efforts.