Chapter 6. Summary – Assessing the Value of TMC/EOC/FC Information-Sharing
TMCs face on a daily basis the demands of making fast operational decisions that affect the efficiency and safety of the transportation network. The need for these decisions is paced by traffic, events, incidents, and emergencies that—with a few exceptions—cannot be anticipated in terms of exact timing and location. To maximize the quality and timeliness of the operational decisions needed, TMCs need the best possible real-time (or near-real time) situational information, communications, and detailed knowledge of the transportation network configuration. Most TMCs have significant investments in gathering and synthesizing situational information on the operational and physical aspects of the transportation network.
In many ways, EOCs and FCs have even greater decision-making challenges to address, because the right decisions have to be made quickly before, during, and after major incidents and emergencies occur—with significant potential impacts on public safety; multiple infrastructures; the economy; and often, national security. Although the centers may have some early warning on the risks of specific major incidents, events, and emergencies, the extent, location, and specific impacts on the public and infrastructure can usually not be fully assessed until the event, incident, or emergency is in process.
Although TMC managers and State DOTs understand that transportation network information is only a part of the information that EOCs and FCs synthesize, most believe that they monitor the best-available up-to-the minute situational awareness information regarding operations on the network. It is also apparent that the broader decisions and situational assessments made by EOCs and FCs have value to TMC operations before, during, and after incidents and emergencies affecting the TMC jurisdictions.
Chapter 3 of this guidebook identifies several potential kinds of data exchanges and communications that may be of value to at least two of the three center types, with discussions of the potential uses of these exchanges. The focus of this guidebook (and Chapter 3) is on transportation-related information that is used, or may be used, in achieving the missions of some or many TMCs, EOCs, and FCs. Practitioners of all three center types may review these exchange opportunities and assess the value gained through addressing and overcoming the issues and constraints involved in establishing means to implement some or many of the exchanges outlined.
What kinds of values/benefits should be considered? Some suggested considerations include:
What are the key issues and questions that should be explored by centers in evaluating information exchange opportunities? An initial checklist includes:
The center-to-center dialogue on information, beginning with suggested opportunities in Chapter 3 and the initial checklist questions above, can lead to an objective assessment of information-specific and center-specific information exchange opportunities. The intent is for each center to consider the issues in terms of its own mission, jurisdiction, management challenges, and existing operating environment.
United States Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration
Last Modified: June 21, 2010