5.2 Successful Practices
This section provides examples of how centers are currently sharing information and the barriers that exist to successful information sharing, as well as a discussion of the processes that enable it.
5.2.1 Case Examples of Information Sharing
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) report (see footnote at the beginning of Chapter 5 of this guidebook) defines four primary means of information sharing:
The study found that the primary means of center-to-center interagency communications remains standard wireline communications. Where transportation centers operate freeway management systems by CCTV or other video systems, embedded sensors in roadways, DMS, and HAR systems, the information generated by these systems is readily shared with co-located public safety officials. In some cases, control of these systems is shared remotely.
In the case of the Kentucky Intelligence FC (KIFC) and the State TOC, both operations are not only housed in the same building but operate out of the same room. Operations are kept separate, allowing TOC staff to not need national security clearances. However, staff do undergo a thorough background check before they are able to work in this tightly secured facility.
The facility itself was assessed once it was built, and it was determined that the space, along with the common threads between the centers, warranted their co-location. While there might be a clear division between centers, there is no hesitation between center staff to share information. Any TOC data that is recorded (e.g., back-ups, crashes, other incidents) is posted to the Internet and is available to anyone who needs access to the data, including FC staff. The State Police Vehicle Enforcement Unit, formerly an operation run by the State DOT, continues to maintain its station at the TOC for coordination purposes. Vehicle Enforcement and the TOC share information through CAD. However, because the KIFC and the TOC work in the same facility, besides CAD, much of the information exchange is informal. Conversations, e-mails, and phone calls are the primary methods used to exchange data as needed. Currently, the TOC has 179 traffic cameras in the State and 38 DMS, with most of them controlled out of the TOC. For the KIFC staff, access information that can be provided by these traffic cameras or the ability to have messages posted on DMS is literally just a few steps away. It is also important to point out that while none of the TOC and KIFC systems are linked, staff at both centers feel that there is still a very good flow of information.
* Combined Transportation Emergency Coordination Center (CTECC) is operational
Another example of successful information sharing came about when a “hot truck,” a truck suspected of carrying radiological materials, alerted a sensor at a weigh station in Laurel County, Kentucky, that it may be carrying a radiological substance. Since this vehicle was not supposed to be carrying such material, the State police vehicle enforcement desk, located in the TOC, was immediately notified of the situation. As the vehicle was intercepted by State police units, the KIFC worked to gather all available intelligence on the vehicle, the driver, operating company, manifest, etc. The KIFC staff worked through the TOC and vehicle enforcement to provide the officers on the scene with all of the relevant information necessary so that they were able to safely and successfully handle the situation.
The KIFC and State DOT representatives were quick to point out that while these operations may have been unique at the time, the way the incidents are handled together has become part of their day-to-day coordination activities.
Another example of information sharing is in the District of Columbia metropolitan area, which includes the collaboration of the District, Maryland, and Virginia DOTs. Information, incident response responsibilities, and evacuation plans are all shared via the Information Sharing and Collaboration Capabilities program and the Regional Integrated Transportation Information System (RITIS), with the regional TMC as the central command center.
Many FCs across the country are members of the RISS. FCs, such as the Delaware Information Analysis Center, use this system for information-sharing purposes. According to its Web site, RISS is a national program of regionally oriented services designed to enhance the ability of local, State, Federal, and tribal criminal justice agencies. The focus of RISS is rapid information exchange for criminal activities; however, RISS also offers training to member States and enhances information sharing.
Figure 5-1: Centers’ Links
RISS is broken into six regional centers, as shown in Figure 5-1:
While criminal information sharing is the overall focus of RISS, other pieces of information are exchanged to enhance the quality of the analysis and to provide useful information to other partners.
5.2.2 Approaches to Overcoming Institutional, Operational, and Technical Barriers
Where the TRB report found the greatest successes in information sharing, formal frameworks have served as the cornerstone for those successes. The frameworks stem from broader regional cooperative efforts and include regional traffic management or incident management organizations. Examples include:
Utah’s field test aimed to demonstrate how the integration of CAD and TMC systems could improve incident response capabilities and how institutional barriers could be overcome. Utah’s technical approach was intended to include the following elements and perform the associated functions:
5.2.3 Training Examples
Overall, TMCs, FCs, and EOCs typically do not engage in cross training or analyst exchanges. However, States involved with RISS have the opportunity to engage in conferences that provide both training and information sharing. This section provides a discussion of TMC training findings as well as the differentiated training needs of FCs.
According to a U.S. DOT study, Transportation Management Center Concept of Operations, Improving Transportation Network Efficiency, training of staff is critical for ensuring successful TMC operations. In a survey of eight key centers, the report details training operations and procedures for three sample centers—Boston, Toronto, and Atlanta. Innovative training and documentation procedures observed include Boston’s plans for online procedures, Toronto’s “functionally” oriented help function, and Atlanta’s use of hypertext in help and training materials. The following are excerpts from the study’s findings on training.
Although it was not one of the three centers whose training operations and procedures were specifically studied in the report, the study reported that staff at Wisconsin DOT’s MONITOR program in Milwaukee recognized the need for a different orientation in the training of its law enforcement partner and they developed a customized training manual for its use. Milwaukee has provided a system workstation at the law enforcement dispatch site and has received positive feedback from the law enforcement dispatchers regarding this access.
Topics of training specifically for FCs focus on a different set of skills, and can include anti-terrorism training, crime-specific investigative techniques, surveillance techniques, use of specialized equipment, officer safety information, and analytical techniques. A specific example of the development of a training program at an FC is the Michigan Intelligence Operation Center (MIOC). While awaiting DHS to finish development of its field training for intelligence and information sharing, MIOC has begun to develop and offer various forms of training for local law enforcement and partners of the intelligence cycle. The MIOC considers public safety and private sector components of the fusion process to be its partners in the intelligence cycle. To the MIOC, these components represent nontraditional gatherers of information, and it views their interaction as opportunities to enhance and increase the amount of information that is shared. The MIOC has developed a recommended list of Federal training programs for its partners’ consideration; however, some of the training may not be available to agencies unless they can be sponsored by a local law enforcement entity.
 Transportation Research Board, NCHRP Report 20, Sharing Information between Public Safety and Transportation Agencies for Traffic Incident Management, 2004.
 U.S. Department of Transportation, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Computer-Aided Dispatch – Traffic Management Center Field Operational Test: State of Utah Final Report, U.S. DOT ITS Program Assessment Support Contract, July 2006.
United States Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration
Last Modified: June 22, 2010