Emergency Transportation Operations

2009 Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Self-Assessment (SA) Guide

The TIM Self-Assessment Guide and the companion scoring template is available as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (XLS, 83KB).
To view XLS files, you can use the Microsoft Excel Viewer.

Table of Contents

Introduction
What's New for 2009?
The TIM SA Questions
Testing and Completing the 2009 TIM SA Survey
After the Assessment
Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Program Self-Assessment Template, 2009

Instruction Sheet and User Guide

Introduction

Traffic Incident Management (TIM) programs continue to play a vital role in the safe and quick clearance of traffic incidents while providing a framework for reducing congestion and maximizing use of existing transportation infrastructure. A critical component of capitalizing on the success of existing programs and aiding the development of new TIM programs is periodic evaluation of the components of successful multi-agency TIM programs. The TIM Self-Assessment (TIM SA) was designed to provide an easy-to-use tool for measuring TIM program performance.

Since its inception in 2002, a number of federal initiatives have evolved to the point where synergies between those initiatives and individual TIM program progress should be evaluated and captured in the TIM SA. Among these initiatives are:

  • The National Traffic Incident Management Coalition and its National Unified Goal;
  • FHWA's Traffic Incident Management Performance Measures Focus States Initiative;
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Incident Management System (NIMS) requirements;
  • State Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) requirements.

Additionally, the 2009 TIM SA has been updated with a new format, scoring system and revised content to more accurately reflect TIM state of practice and to more easily facilitate completion of the TIM SA.

What's New for 2009?

→ The TIM SA is a tool for assessing various aspects of a TIM program. Since many different public and private sector partners are involved in TIM, it is highly recommended that assessments be conducted in meetings where the principal TIM partners are represented. Some partners may have very different understandings and views of issues covered in the SA questions. Group discussions leading to consensus "scores" for each question will be highly beneficial in identifying specific actions that are needed to address the problems or shortcomings that are identified in the group discussions.

→ The TIM SA categories have been renamed to create a tighter crosswalk to the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS). The three categories under which the questions are organized are as follows:

  • Strategic (formerly Program and Institutional Issues)
  • Tactical (formerly Operational Issues)
  • Support (formerly Communications and Technology Issues)

→ To eliminate duplication and confusion in some of the questions, and to more accurately reflect current state of TIM practice, the questions have been edited, merged and in some cases eliminated. The total number of questions is down to 30 from the previous 34. The 30 questions are organized into the following subcategories (see the 2009 Template tab):

Strategic

  • Formal TIM Programs (2 questions)
  • Multi-Agency TIM Teams (4 questions)
  • Performance Measurement (5 questions)

Tactical

  • Policies and Procedures for Incident Response and Clearance (7 questions)
  • Responder and Motorist Safety (5 questions)

Support

  • Data Collection/Integration/Sharing (5 questions)
  • Traveler Information (2 questions)

→ A new scoring scheme is being used which asks participants to rate TIM program performance in each question as High, Medium or Low. The numeric score for the subsections and the overall assessment will be automatically calculated based on the assigned scores. The following thresholds should be used when answering each question.

Scoring Scheme
Score

LOW
Little to no activity in this area. No discussions or some informal discussions with no or minimal action taken.
MEDIUM
There is some or good level of activity in this area. Has been put into practice with some multi-agency agreement and cooperation and with fair to good results.
HIGH
Activity in this area is outstanding. Efforts in this area are well coordinated with a high level of cooperation among agencies.

→ When a question is answered Low or Medium, you will be prompted to provide further clarification on the level of activity through the assignment of a supplemental score. The thresholds for the supplemental scores are as follows:

Supplemental Score

LOW
No Activity No activity or discussion of this issue
Some Activity Issue has been acknowledged and there has been some single agency activity
MEDIUM
Fair Level of Activity Some good processes exist, but they may not be well integrated or coordinated.
Good Level of Activity Efforts in this area are strong and results are promising, though there is still room for improvement.

The TIM SA Questions

The following provides background on each of the seven TIM SA subcategories and is intended to assist in your evaluation of TIM program performance for each question in the subcategories.

4.1 Strategic

4.1.1.1 Formal TIM Programs

At the core of effective TIM programs is multi-agency coordination and cooperation. For emerging programs this typically starts out as informal and ad hoc. However, as TIM programs mature, it generally requires joint responsibility among agencies for resource sharing as documented in agreements or memoranda of understanding (MOU).

Such agreements and MOU can take many forms. Among the possibilities are the following:

  • An "Open Roads" policy which declares shared responsibility among the signing agencies for keeping roads cleared;
  • A state Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) which designates in its Action Plan(s) the leveraging of partner agency resources for traffic incident management.
  • Any state or local incident management or business plan where the concepts of Incident Management and Unified Command are interpreted by the responder agencies to include all non-recurring highway incidents.

4.1.2 Multi-Agency TIM Teams

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) emphasizes planning, training and field-level exercises for incident responders as key to preparedness. Similarly, multi-agency TIM teams should meet on a regular basis to plan for TIM on-scene operations using the same protocols and resources used for anticipated and planned events.

4.1.3 Performance Measurement

Performance measurement is key to targeting limited resources and measuring TIM program performance is the means for documenting program value, identifying areas for improvement and justifying program continuation and expansion. However, measuring program performance is challenging; the program is the result of the efforts of many agencies and the data necessary to evaluate program performance resides with those multiple agencies.

To address these challenges, FHWA convened 11 states through its Focus States Initiative (FSI) to develop, implement and test TIM performance measures. Two program-level performance measures were identified by TIM Performance Measures FSI participants and are the focus of the questions in this section. The two measures are defined as follows:

  • Roadway clearance time: the time between the first recordable awareness of an incident (detection, notification or verification) by a responding agency and first confirmation that all lanes are available for traffic flow.
  • Incident clearance time: the time between the first recordable awareness of the incident and the time at which the last responder has left the scene.

4.2 Tactical

4.2.1 Policies and Procedures for Incident Response and Clearance

The questions in this subcategory focus on the basic elements of incident response and clearance including: quick clearance legislation; safety service patrols for incident and emergency response; use of the Incident Command System (as required in NIMS); and pre-staging of equipment for quick response. Additionally. the subcategory reflects a core NIMS principle calling for incident response programs to be scalable based on both the size and complexity of the incident.

4.2.2 Responder and Motorist Safety

The focus of this subcategory is the safety of responders and motorists and the processes in place to ensure both, including the presence of Move Over laws and the training and use of traffic control procedures by safety service patrols for incident and emergency response.

4.3 Support

4.3.1 Data Collection/Integration/Sharing

The NIMS requirement for integrated communication and information systems mandates that transportation and public safety integrate data collection and sharing. An assessment of how well TIM programs integrate these procedures reveals how effectively these two groups coordinate and share incident response resources and technologies.

4.3.2 Traveler Information

Providing motorists with current incident information, estimated travel times and suggested alternate routes allows motorists to make informed decisions about their travel. The infrastructure for doing so has greatly expanded over the years and now includes 511 and traveler information websites.

Testing and Completing the 2009 TIM SA Survey

The 2009 TIM SA survey is available only online and may be accessed at the following web page:
http://myata.truckline.com/TIMSA

Survey participants are encouraged to take a trial run or test of the redesigned survey. To ensure a clear distinction between survey trial runs and actual surveys, participants should enter "Test" in the "This assessment is for (fill in location)" box or any of the "Contact Information" boxes. The TIM SA webmaster will delete all test surveys on a daily basis.

The 2009 TIM SA survey features a "finish later" functionality that allows users to start the survey, exit, then complete the survey at a later date or time. To complete a survey that you have already begun, simply click on the same link as above and you will be returned to the screen you last entered a response. Please note that this functionality is only available if the same PC is used to both start and resume the survey.

Participants that access the survey shortly after a trail run and are ready to complete the survey may encounter their test version of the survey. If this occurs, please send an email to cshulz@trucking.org and your test survey will be deleted promptly.

After the Assessment

Please contact Kimberly Vasconez, FHWA ETO Team Leader, at Kimberly.Vasconez@dot.gov with any questions or additional comments. In addition, it is recommended that you forward this information to key local TIM stakeholders, regardless of their level of current or previous participation in the assessment. Respondents should also consider a post-assessment meeting to discuss assessment findings and develop an action plan and timeline to address various areas, particularly those with a "Low" rating.

Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Program Self-Assessment Template, 2009

Overall TIM Program Score

Rate each question applicable to your TIM program using the categories listed below. Also, please list any reasons why this area of the program is either particularly strong or particularly weak.

Score

Low - Little to no activity in this area.
No discussions or some informal discussions with no or minimal action taken.

Medium - There is some or good level of activity in this area.
Has been put into practice with some multi-agency agreement and cooperation and with fair to good results.

High - Activity in the area is outstanding.
Efforts in this area are well coordinated with a high level of cooperation among agencies.

Section 1
4.1 Strategic - 30%

4.1.1 Formal Traffic Incident Management Program Enter L (Low), M (Medium) or H (High) for Each Question Below: Comments
4.1.1.1 Is the TIM program supported by multi-agency agreements/memoranda of understanding detailing resource sharing (facilities, services, personnel and budget)? empty cell empty cell
4.1.1.2 Is there a process in place to ensure the continuity of these agreements/memoranda of understanding theo ugh integrated planning and budgeting across and among participating agencies? empty cell empty cell
4.1.2 Multi-Agency TIM Teams
Does the TIM program:
Enter Rating for Each Question Below: Comments
4.1.2.1 Have a formalized TIM multi-agency team which meets regularly to discuss and plan for TIM activities? empty cell empty cell
4.1.2.2 Conduct training: (Composite score for 4.1.2.2.a through 4.1.2.2.c below)
empty cell empty cell

4.1.1.1.a NIMS training?
4.1.2.2.b Training on the NTIMC National Unified Goal?
4.1.2.2.c Other training?

empty cell empty cell
4.1.1.3 Conduct post-incident debriefings? empty cell empty cell
4.1.2.4 Conduct planning for special events: (Composite score for 4.1.2.4.a through 4.1.2.4.d below) empty cell empty cell
4.1.2.4.a Construction and maintenance?
empty cell empty cell
4.1.2.4.b Sporting events/concerts/conventions/etc?
empty cell empty cell
4.1.2.4.c Weather-related events?
empty cell empty cell
4.1.2.5.d Catastrophic events?
empty cell empty cell
4.1.3. TIM Performance Measures
Does the TIM program:
Enter Rating for Each Question Below: Comments
4.1.3.1. Have multi-agency agreement on the two performance measures being tracked: (Composite score for 4.1.3.1.a through 4.1.3.1.b below) empty cell empty cell
4.1.3.1.a Roadway Clearance Time?
empty cell empty cell
4.1.3.1.b. Incident Clearance Time?
empty cell empty cell
4.1.3.2 Has the TIM program established methods to collect and analyze the data necessary to measure performance in reduced roadway clearance time and reduced incident clearance time? empty cell empty cell
4.1.3.3. Have targets (i.e. time goals) for performance of the two measures? empty cell empty cell
4.1.3.4. Routinely review whether progress is made in achieving the targets? empty cell empty cell
4.1.3.5. Track performance in reducing secondary incidents? empty cell empty cell

Section 2
4.2 Tactical - 40%

4.2.1. Policies and Procedures for Incident Response and Clearance
Does the TIM program:
Enter Rating for Each Question Below: Comments
4.2.1.1. Have "authority removal" laws allowing pre-designated responders to remove disabled or wrecked vehicles and spilled cargo? empty cell empty cell
4.2.1.2. Have "driver removal" laws which require drivers involved in minor crashes (not involving injuries? to move vehicles out of the travel lanes? empty cell empty cell
4.2.1.3 Use a safety service patrol for incident and emergency response? empty cell empty cell
4.2.1.4. Utilize the Incident Command System? empty cell empty cell
4.2.1.5 Have response equipment pre-staged for timely response? empty cell empty cell
4.2.1.6. Identify and type resources so that a list of towing, recovery and hazardous materials response operators (including operator capabilities and special equipment) is available for incident response and clearance? empty cell empty cell
4.2.1.6.a Is that list organized so that resources are identified and deployed based on incident type and severity? empty cell empty cell
4.2.1.7 Have specific policies and procedures for hazmat and fatal accident response that also address maintaining traffic flow around the incident? empty cell empty cell
4.2.2. Responder and Motorist Safety
Does the TIM program:
Enter Rating for Each Question Below: Comments
4.2.2.1. Have "move over" laws which require drivers to slow down and if possible move over to the adjacent lane approaching workers or responders and equipment in the roadway? empty cell empty cell
4.2.2.2. Train all responders in traffic control procedures? empty cell empty cell
4.2.2.3. Utilize safety service patrol for incident and emergency response resources to conduct traffic control procedures for various levels of incidents in compliance with the MUTCD. empty cell empty cell
4.2.2.4. Utilized traffic control procedures for the end of the incident traffic queue? empty cell empty cell
4.2.2.5. Have mutually understood equipment staging and emergency lighting procedures on-sit to maximize traffic flow past incident while providing responder safety? empty cell empty cell

Section 3
4.3 Support - 30%

4.3.1. Data Collection/ Integration/ Sharing Enter Rating for Each Question Below: Comments
4.3.1.1. Does the TIM program use a Traffic Management Center/Traffic Operations Center to coordinate incident detection, notification and response? empty cell empty cell
4.3.1.2. Is public safety co-located with transportation in the TMC/TOC? empty cell empty cell
4.3.1.3. Has the TIM program achieved TMC-CAD integration so that incident data and video information is transferred between agencies and applications? empty cell empty cell
4.3.1.4. Does the TIM program have specific policies and procedures for traffic management during incident response (i.e. signal timing changes, opening/closing of HOV lanes/ramp metering)? empty cell empty cell
4.3.1.5. Does the TIM program provide for interoperable, interagency communications on-site between incident responders? empty cell empty cell
4.3.2. Traveler Information
Does the TIM program
Enter Rating for Each Question Below: Comments
4.3.2.1. Have a real-time motorist information system providing incident-specific information? (Composite score for 4.3.2.1.a through 4.3.2.1.c below) empty cell empty cell
4.3.2.1.a. Traveler information delivered via 511?
empty cell empty cell

4.3.2.1.b. Traveler information delivered via website?

empty cell empty cell

4.3.2.1.c. Traveler information delivered through traffic media access to TMC/TOC data/information?

empty cell empty cell
4.3.2.2. Are motorists provided with travel time estimates for route segments? empty cell empty cell

 

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