Emergency Transportation Operations
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Managing Travel for Planned Special Events Handbook: Executive Summary

Traffic incidents, planned special events, and other types of non-recurring events generally result in congestion and delays that travelers are not expecting. These delays are unlike congestion caused by routine traffic during daily peak travel periods. More than half of all congestion that motorists encounter is non-recurring. The frequency and severity of the impacts resulting from these disruptions are increasing significantly in both metropolitan and rural areas. The impacts and challenges agencies face may be more severe if the planned special event is located in a rural area. To advance or improve upon current practices will require new local initiatives focused on improving the planning, coordination, and traffic management for all planned special events in a region, or for specific events. The use of these recommended practices provides an opportunity to incorporate these techniques, concepts, and practices into the day-to-day policies, procedures, and practices of an agency.

  • About Planned Special Events Traffic Management
  • Proceedings from National Conference on Managing Travel for Planned Special Events - December 1-3, 2004, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Watching It All Come Together: Case Studies Report on Special Event Planning and Management

    "Watching It All Come Together: Case Studies Report on Special Event Planning and Management," produced by Public Technology Institute. This case studies report (Publication number: FHWA-HOP-04-029) includes useful strategies include cross boundary leadership needed to direct transportation, law enforcement, emergency management and agency professionals who might be unfamiliar with these ideas or have a difficult time working together. This report is designed to help those involved in planning, managing or operating a planned or unplanned event.

    The cities and the events included in the report are:
    • Dallas, Texas: State Fair of Texas; Los Angeles
    • California: 2000 Democratic National Convention
    • Monroe County, New York: Weather-Related Emergencies
    • New York City, New York: New Year's Eve in Times Square
    • Northern Virginia: July Fourth After the Fireworks
    • Phoenix, Arizona: Bank One Ballpark
    • San José, California: Compaq Center

    For more information or how to obtain a copy of the publication, please contact:

    Paul Jodoin
    Office of Operations, Federal Highway Administration
    Department of Transportation

Tabletop Exercise Instructions For Planned Events and Unplanned Incidents/Emergencies

When planned special events are held, they generally increase traffic demands in or near the location of the event. In order to address this influx of traffic, transportation management plans are developed with the intent of minimizing the effect the event has on the transportation system. For a transportation management plan to be successful, however, it is strongly recommended that the plan be tested and reviewed prior to the event. One of the most effective ways to test a transportation management plan is through a tabletop exercise. Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-08-005.

  • Tabletop Exercise Instructions For Planned Events and Unplanned Incidents/Emergencies (HTML, PDF 160KB)

Managing Travel for Planned Special Events Handbook

Individual Handbook Chapters

  • Table of Contents (HTML, PDF 339KB)
  • Introduction (HTML, PDF 231KB)
  • Chapter 1 - Background (HTML, PDF 567KB)
  • Chapter 2 - Characteristics and Categories of Planned Special Events doc (HTML, PDF 965KB)
  • Chapter 3 - Overview (HTML, PDF 879KB)
  • Chapter 4 - Regional and Local Coordination (HTML, PDF 472KB)
  • Chapter 5 - Event Operations Planning (HTML, PDF 1.05MB)
  • Chapter 6 - Traffic Management Plan (HTML, PDF 2.62MB)
  • Chapter 7 - Travel Demand Management and Traveler Information (HTML, PDF 685KB)
  • Chapter 8 - Implementation Activities (HTML, PDF 424KB)
  • Chapter 9 - Day-of-Event Activities (HTML, PDF 489KB)
  • Chapter 10 - Post-Event Activities (HTML, PDF 485KB)
  • Chapter 11 - Discrete/Recurring Event at a Permanent Venue (HTML, PDF 386KB)
  • Chapter 12 - Continuous Event (HTML, PDF 404KB)
  • Chapter 13 - Street Use Event (HTML, PDF 429KB)
  • Chapter 14 - Regional/Multi-Venue Event (HTML, PDF 391KB)
  • Chapter 15 - Rural Event (HTML, PDF 436KB)
  • Appendix A - Sample Special Event Permit Regulations, Applications, and Agreements (HTML, PDF 1.05MB)
  • Appendix B - Event-Oriented Risk Scenario Contingency Plans (HTML, PDF 199KB)
  • Appendix C - Interagency Agreements for Special Event Planning (HTML, PDF 103KB)
  • Appendix D - 2003 Fair Saint Louis Event Patron Survey (HTML, PDF 266KB)
  • Appendix E - Regional Directional Distribution for 2001 NASCAR Kansas 400 (HTML, PDF 197KB)
  • Appendix F - Parking and Pedestrian Accommodation Plans - Lambeau Field Reconstruction (HTML, PDF 481KB)
  • Appendix G - Wisconsin DOT Organization and Dissemination of Inter-Jurisdictional Road Construction (HTML, PDF 377KB)
  • Appendix H - Example Site and Parking Maps (HTML, PDF 428KB)
  • Appendix I - Example Traffic Flow Maps (HTML, PDF 830KB)
  • Appendix J - Example Protocol for Planned Special Event Traffic Signal System Operations (HTML, PDF 73KB)
  • Appendix K - Example Traffic Control Plans (HTML, PDF 842KB)
  • Appendix L - Public Agency and Event-Specific Web sites (HTML, PDF 2.65MB)
  • Appendix M - Venue Transportation Guides (HTML, PDF 840KB)
  • Appendix N - Sample Implementation Plans (HTML, PDF 259KB)

Planned Special Events: Checklists for Practitioners

Planned Special Events: Checklists for Practitioners presents a total of six checklists on event-specific planning for planned special event travel management. These checklists follow the order in which the topics are presented in Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of the Federal Highway Administration handbook, Managing Travel for Planned Special Events, Publication Number: FHWA-OP-04-010.

Outreach Material

  • Frequently Asked Questions (HTML, PDF - 375KB)
  • Presentation (HTML, PPT 15MB)
  • Fact Sheet (HTML, PDF 188KB)
  • Tri-Fold Brochure (HTML, PDF 375KB)

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