Emergency Transportation Operations

Best Practices in Traffic Incident Management
September 2010

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Executive Summary

several photos showing traffic incidents requiring emergency personnel or road assistance

Cover Image Acknowledgment
Cover images courtesy of © Monkeybusinessimages, Dreamstime.com (left); © Hypedesk, Dreamstime.com (center); and © Rpernell, Dreamstime.com (right).

September 2010

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

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

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Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.
FHWA-HOP-10-050
2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
BEST PRACTICES IN TRAFFIC INCIDENT MANAGEMENT
5. Report Date
September 2010
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)
Jodi L. Carson, Ph.D., P.E.
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
Texas Transportation Institute
The Texas A&M University System
College Station, Texas 77843-3135
10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.
DTFH61-06-D-0007
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Emergency Transportation Operations
Office of Transportation Operations
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Technical Report
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes
Mr. Paul Jodoin (COTM), Ms. Kimberly Vasconez (COTM), and Mr. Barry Zimmer (COTR)
Project performed under contract to Battelle for the Federal Highway Administration.
16. Abstract
Traffic incident management (TIM) is a planned and coordinated program to detect and remove incidents and restore traffic capacity as safely and quickly as possible. Over time, various tools and strategies have been developed and implemented in an effort to improve overall TIM efforts. This report describes task-specific and cross-cutting issues or challenges commonly encountered by TIM responders in the performance of their duties, and novel and/or effective strategies for overcoming these issues and challenges (i.e., best practices). Task-specific challenges may include obtaining accurate information from motorists, accessing the scene, and condemning a spilled load. Cross-cutting challenges may include interagency coordination and communication, technology procurement and deployment, and performance measurement. The reported tools and strategies for improving TIM range from sophisticated, high-technology strategies to simple, procedural strategies. Information to support this investigation was obtained through (1) a review of published and electronic information sources and (2) input from TIM personnel in Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington representing law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, transportation, and towing and recovery agencies. For many of the individual tools and strategies, a wide range of effectiveness was reported by locale, challenging the explicit identification of best practices and suggesting that local conditions related to the nature and extent of operation, maintenance, marketing, etc. have a significant impact on the perceived or measured success of specific TIM efforts. The National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC), in cooperation with FHWA, provides a unique forum for not only disseminating the information presented here but also for standardizing practices to consistently maximize the effectiveness of TIM efforts.
17. Key Words
Traffic incident management, best practices, detection and verification, traveler information, response, scene management, traffic control, quick clearance, training, communications, performance measurement
18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions.
19. Security Classif.
(of this report)

Unclassified
20. Security Classif.
(of this page)

Unclassified
21. No. of Pages
123
22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

Table of Contents

LIST OF TABLES

SI* (MODERN METRIC) CONVERSION FACTORS

APPROXIMATE CONVERSIONS TO SI UNITS
Symbol When You Know Multiply By To Find Symbol
LENGTH
in inches 25.4 millimeters mm
ft feet 0.305 meters m
yd yards 0.914 meters m
mi miles 1.61 kilometers km
AREA
in2 square inches 645.2 square millimeters mm2
ft2 square feet 0.093 square meters m2
yd2 square yard 0.836 square meters m2
ac acres 0.405 hectares ha
mi2 square miles 2.59 square kilometers km2
VOLUME
fl oz fluid ounces 29.57 milliliters mL
gal gallons 3.785 liters L
ft3 cubic feet 0.028 cubic meters m3
yd3 cubic yards 0.765 cubic meters m3
NOTE: volumes greater than 1000 L shall be shown in m3
MASS
oz ounces 28.35 grams g
lb pounds 0.454 kilograms kg
T short tons (2000 lb) 0.907 megagrams (or "metric ton") Mg (or "t")
TEMPERATURE (exact degrees)
°F Fahrenheit 5 (F-32)/9 or (F-32)/1.8 Celsius °C
ILLUMINATION
fc foot-candles 10.76 lux lx
fl foot-Lamberts 3.426 candela/m2 cd/m2
FORCE and PRESSURE or STRESS
lbf poundforce 4.45 newtons N
lbf/in2 poundforce per square inch 6.89 kilopascals kPa
APPROXIMATE CONVERSIONS FROM SI UNITS
Symbol When You Know Multiply By To Find Symbol
LENGTH
mm millimeters 0.039 inches in
m meters 3.28 feet ft
m meters 1.09 yards yd
km kilometers 0.621 miles mi
AREA
mm2 square millimeters 0.0016 square inches in2
m2 square meters 10.764 square feet ft2
m2 square meters 1.195 square yards yd2
ha hectares 2.47 acres ac
km2 square kilometers 0.386 square miles mi2
VOLUME
mL milliliters 0.034 fluid ounces fl oz
L liters 0.264 gallons gal
m3 cubic meters 35.314 cubic feet ft3
m3 cubic meters 1.307 cubic yards yd3
MASS
g grams 0.035 ounces oz
kg kilograms 2.202 pounds lb
Mg (or "t") megagrams (or "metric ton") 1.103 short tons (2000 lb) T
TEMPERATURE (exact degrees)
°C Celsius 1.8C+32 Fahrenheit °F
ILLUMINATION
lx lux 0.0929 foot-candles fc
cd/m2 candela/m2 0.2919 foot-Lamberts fl
FORCE and PRESSURE or STRESS
N newtons 0.225 poundforce lbf
kPa kilopascals 0.145 poundforce per square inch lbf/in2

*SI is the symbol for the International System of Units. Appropriate rounding should be made to comply with Section 4 of ASTM E380. (Revised March 2003)

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AAA
American Automobile Association
AASHTO
American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials
ACNS
Automated Collision Notification Systems
AEGIS
Advanced Emergency Geographic Information System
AFD
Austin Fire Department
AIMHigh
Austin-Area Incident Management for Highways
ALERT
Arizona Local Emergency Response Team
AMPO
Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations
ANSI
American National Standards Institute
APD
Austin Police Department
AR
Arkansas
ATIS
Advanced Traveler Information System
ATMS
Advanced Traffic Management Systems
ATSSA
American Traffic Safety Services Association
AVL
Automatic Vehicle Location
AZ
Arizona
CA
California
CAD
Computer-Aided Dispatch
CAMPO
Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
CapWIN
Capital Wireless Information Net
CARS
Condition Acquisition and Reporting System
CCTV
Closed-Circuit Television
CFR
Code of Federal Regulations
CHART
Coordinated Highways Action Response Team
CITE
Consortium for ITS Training and Education
CJSTC
Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission
CMAQ
Congestion Mitigation And Air Quality
CO
Carbon Monoxide or Colorado
COP
Community of Practice
CT
Connecticut
CTECC
Combined Transportation, Emergency, and Communications Center
DC
District of Columbia
DE
Delaware
DHS
Department of Homeland Security
DMS
Dynamic Message Sign
DPS
Department of Public Safety
DVRPC
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
E-CAD
Enhanced Computer-Aided Dispatch
EMS
Emergency Medical Services
EOC
Emergency Operations Center
ERSI
Emergency Responder Safety Institute
ETC
Emergency Traffic Control
ETP
Emergency Traffic Patrol
FEMA
Federal Emergency Management Agency
FHP
Florida Highway Patrol
FHWA
Federal Highway Administration
FIRST
Freeway Incident Response Safety Team
FL
Florida
FSI
Focus State Initiative
FSP
Freeway Service Patrol
GA
Georgia
GEMA
Georgia Emergency Management Agency
GIS
Geographic Information Systems
GJXDM
Global Justice Xml Data Model
GPS
Global Positioning System
HAR
Highway Advisory Radio
HC
Hydrocarbon
HELP
Highway Emergency Local Patrol
HERO
Highway Emergency Response Operators
IA
Iowa
IACP
International Association of Chiefs Of Police
IAFC
International Association of Fire Chiefs
ICS
Incident Command System
IDRuM
Interactive Detour Route Mapping
IEEE
Institute of Electrical And Electronics Engineers, Inc.
IL
Illinois
IMAP
Incident Management Assistance Patrol
IMCC
Incident Management Coordinating Committee
IMRT
Incident Management Response Team
IN
Indiana
IN-TIME
Indiana Traffic Incident Management Effort
ISEA
International Safety Equipment Association
ITS
Intelligent Transportation Systems
JOPS
Joint Operations Policy Statement
KY
Kentucky
LA
Louisiana
M&O
Management and Operations
MA
Massachusetts
MCCV
Mobile Command/Communications Vehicle
MD
Maryland
ME
Maine
MI
Michigan
MN
Minnesota
MO
Missouri
MOT
Maintenance of Traffic
MPO
Metropolitan Planning Organization
MS
Mississippi
MUTCD
Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways
NC
North Carolina
NCHRP
National Cooperative Highway Research Program
NCTCOG
North Central Texas Council of Governments
NEMA
National Electrical Manufacturers Association
NFPA
National Fire Protection Association
NG 9-1-1
Next Generation 9-1-1
NH
New Hampshire
NHI
National Highway Institute
NHTSA
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NIJ
National Institute of Justice
NIMS
National Incident Management System
NJ
New Jersey
NM
New Mexico
NOx
Nitrous Oxide
NTIMC
National Traffic Incident Management Coalition
NUG
National Unified Goal
NV
Nevada
NVFC
National Volunteer Fire Council
NY
New York
NYSP
New York State Police
OEMC
Office of Emergency Management and Communications
OH
Ohio
OR
Oregon
OSHA
Occupation Safety and Health Administration
PA
Pennsylvania
POST
Police Officers Standards and Training
PSAP
Public Safety Answering Point
REACT
Regional Emergency Action Coordinating Team
RI
Rhode Island
RISC
Roadway Incident Scene Clearance
RoIP
Radio-Over-Internet Protocol
RTSC
Responsive Traffic Signal Control Systems
SC
South Carolina
SEWCRSG
Southeast Wisconsin Communications Resource/Support Group
SHRP
Strategic Highway Research Program
SIRV
Severe Incident Response Vehicle
SMRPC
Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission
SOPs
Standard Operating Procedures
SQC
Safe, Quick Clearance
TCLEOSE
Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education
TCME
Travis County Office of the Medical Examiner
TERI
Transportation Emergency Response Institute
TIM
Traffic Incident Management
TIME
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement
TIMSA
Traffic Incident Management Self-Assessment
TMC
Traffic Management Center
TN
Tennessee
TRAA
Towing and Recovery Association of America
TSSE
Total Station Surveying Equipment
TTY
Text Telephone
TX
Texas
U.S.
United States
UDOT
Utah Department of Transportation
URM
Unified Response Manual
USDOJ
U.S. Department of Justice
USDOT
U.S. Department of Transportation
UT
Utah
VA
Virginia
VDOT
Virginia Department of Transportation
WA
Washington
WaTIMCo
Washington's Traffic Incident Management Coalition
WI
Wisconsin
WSDOT
Washington Department of Transportation
WSP
Washington State Patrol

Contact Information

United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

For additional information on this report,
contact Kimberly Vasconez, via email at
Kimberly.Vasconez@dot.gov
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

September 2010
FHWA-HOP-10-050

Office of Operations