Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Improving Transportation Systems Management and Operations – Capability Maturity Model Workshop White Paper – Collaboration

6. Best Practice Examples

Widespread and improved collaboration is most evident in incident and planned special event management among State DOTs and public safety entities. These activities often involve local government and private towing and recovering companies, stimulated by the National Traffic Incident Management Responder Training Program and related TIM coalition activities. Among workshop participants, there also were a few instances of limited collaboration in systems development and planning with local governments, often through MPOs or special coalitions. This collaboration is increasing as State DOTs become more involved in arterial network development and ICM.

AZTech – Phoenix Metropolitan Area. AZTech is a regional traffic management partnership in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area involving all the major governmental transportation agencies in the region, as well as public safety agencies and several private technology and media companies. AZTech is led by the Maricopa County Department of Transportation and the Arizona DOT. AZTech has no operational responsibilities but acts as a forum for policy development and collaboration via a series of committees and working groups that develop and coordinate TMCs activities through their members. AZTech has several key programs:

  • Regional Emergency Action Coordinating Team (REACT), a regional traffic management response team focused primarily on emergency traffic management support for arterial incidents. REACT collaborates with ADOT’s freeway response team (ALERT) for major incidents.
  • The development of regional operations guidelines, including a shared concept of operations, regional architecture, center-to-center standards, and data sharing and archiving.
  • Traveler information support, including advancing arterial-focused traveler information and implementing a unique travel-time initiative at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Rental Car Center.

The AZTech Timeline summarizes the major initiatives completed by the partnership. Recently, AZTech has been developing a regional performance measurement program and developing an ICM pilot and connected vehicle initiative. AZTech also has hosted its own CMM workshop and TSM&O summit.

Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation (FAST) – Las Vegas Metropolitan Area. The FAST organization is a partnership of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) and Nevada DOT (NDOT) that focuses on freeway and arterial management. FAST operates under the policy jurisdiction of the Regional Transportation Commission-elected board that initiated the program, and serves as the Southern Nevada freeway operations entity through a contractual agreement with NDOT. Transportation strategies are set by the Operations Management Committee (OMC), comprising the Regional Transportation Commission, Clark County, NDOT, and the cities of Henderson, Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas. The organization coordinates regional development and operations of TMCs programs across multiple jurisdictions working through the FAST TMC. It focuses on signal coordination, ramp metering, incident detection, surveillance and response, and traveler information reporting. The FAST OMC recommends policy, establishes operational procedures and principles, and monitors the day-to-day operations of the freeway and arterial system.

CHART – Maryland State Highway Administration. CHART (Coordinated Highways Action Response Team) was initiated in the mid-1980s as an initiative to improve summer beach traffic conditions and has evolved into the Maryland State Highway Administration’s (SHA) freeway operations program. CHART is governed by a board consisting of senior technical and operational personnel from SHA, Maryland Transportation Authority, Maryland State Police, FHWA, the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technology, and various local governments. CHART has a long-standing program of short- and long-range plans and develops capital, operating, and maintenance budgets that are approved by the legislature. The Board meets periodically to review progress and planning activity.

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Region Traffic Incident Management. DVRPC’s TIM Program is one of the few regional programs organized by an MPO. It currently administers and supports a set of largely corridor-oriented, county-based incident management task forces that are collaborative efforts with the Pennsylvania and New Jersey DOTs and Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Police Departments. DVRPC also serves as the regional clearinghouse for incident management activities and provides software to improve incident management responses and support interagency collaboration. DVRPC sponsors quarterly meetings among incident and emergency responders to improve personal relationships. To date, DVRPC has offered training to nearly 1,000 responders in the region. DVRPC’s TIM program also is integrated into DVRPC’s planning processes through the long-range plan, the congestion management process, and a transportation operations master plan.

Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC)  – Buffalo-Ontario Region. NITTEC’s mission is to maintain a regional, cooperative approach to transportation management and improve regional and international transportation mobility, promote economic competitiveness, and minimize adverse environmental effects related to the regional transportation system. It coordinates a number of regional operations functions among its member agencies, including traveler information; border traffic management; traffic and congestion management; incident management; planned special event planning and management; transportation system monitoring; emergency management; weather system monitoring; construction coordination; performance measures reporting; and multiagency collaboration. Member agencies, which include New York State DOT, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, cities, counties, and other transportation agencies, cite NITTEC’s strong ability to engender a collaborative environment in which to address regional operational issues and acknowledge its absence would make reaching solutions far more challenging. Both agency-specific and regional considerations are applied to decisions on operational project implementation. A strategic plan, regional concepts of operations, and planning for ICM provide sound direction and priorities among member agencies.

Rapid Incident Scene Clearance (RISC) Program – Florida DOT. Florida DOT, in conjunction with Florida Highway Patrol, manages an incentive-based public-private partnership for heavy-duty towing and recovery processes design to substantially improve incident clearance time. The program is based on Florida’s Open Roads Policy, which establishes a 90-minute goal for clearance of a motor vehicle crash or incident on Florida’s roadways. It was pioneered by the Florida Turnpike Enterprise. RISC is an incentive-based program that pays qualified, participating tow companies with monetary bonuses for meeting quick-clearance goals for the rapid removal of heavy-vehicle incidents, which often cause complete roadway closure. The program is being applied statewide on major freeways. To participate in the program, private towing and recovery companies must meet specialized towing equipment and training standards and be available on a 24-hour basis. Like conventional towing programs, the program works on a rotational basis among qualified entities. To receive an incentive payment of $2,500, the RISC contractor must arrive within one hour and open all travel lanes within 90 minutes. If the RISC contractor fails to perform the recovery within 90 minutes, no performance payment will be issued. If the incident is not cleared in 180 minutes, liquidated damages may be assessed. The program is considered highly cost effective, and the department recovers some of the costs from the responsible parties’ insurance companies. The implementation of the program has resulted in dramatic reductions in heavy-vehicle incident clearance times, averaging almost 30 minutes. The program is now being expanded to cover major arterials.

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