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


Communication among Agencies

PennDOT officials reported that PennDOT, Pennsylvania State Police, and the media used their TMC during the NSSE.  The DPW TMC used its normal capacity and required no added staff or labor hours for the G-20 Summit.  This coordination helped facilitate smooth and continual communication among stakeholders involved in the NSSE.  In addition, PennDOT extended the hours of its Parkway Service Patrol during the NSSE to assist motorists and support any additional requirements of the NSSE.

Communication to the Public

As mentioned above, the media had representatives at the PennDOT TMC.  PennDOT provided a conference room outside the TMC for the media to broadcast traffic reports throughout the G-20 Summit.  To provide the media a place to work while the operations personnel performed their functions uninterrupted, PennDOT did not allow the media in the TMC’s Operations Control Room and required the media to stay in their respective rooms.  In addition, the media had immediate access to the latest information while the operations personnel were able to communicate openly among themselves without concern that the media was monitoring their conversations.  However, the glass in these rooms allowed the media to see into the Control Room.  The media remained in the PennDOT TMC until the last dignitary left the city.  When the parkway re-opened following the last closure, the media left the facility.  This co-location of media with transportation officials allowed for transparency and accurate reporting of real-time traffic conditions and incidents and quick, precise delivery of government press releases and/or statements. 

The Office of the Mayor for the City of Pittsburgh provided notifications to the public of all road closures.  The City of Pittsburgh distributed news releases coordinated through the USSS, Pennsylvania State Police, and the City of Pittsburgh Police Bureau that described in detail which roadways, ramps, and city streets would close during the NSSE.  This was done in an effort to ensure the safety of both the world leaders and dignitaries attending the G-20 Summit and the public.  All road closure information was coordinated with transportation officials.  The City of Pittsburgh provided all notifications to the public approximately a week in advance.  The media received information to inform the public on road closures and available detours.  City officials also conducted outreach to businesses affected by the NSSE.

Two local televisions station, WTAE and WPXI, provided traffic reporters at the PennDOT TMC to do their live traffic reports.  In addition, two local radio stations, KDKA and KQV, also provided up-to-the-minute traffic reports broadcast from the PennDOT TMC.  However, these stations are usually present for normal operations.  This ability to provide real-time information and access highlights the importance of relationship building far in advance of the onset of an NSSE.  By cooperating with the media, PennDOT was able to help ensure the necessary information reached the public.  As a result, reporters were able to see PennDOT traffic cameras in real time.  These reporters were able to report what they saw when it happened, in addition to any field information that was provided to the TMC for transit and parking.  As a result, PennDOT transportation officials felt comfortable about not having to control what their media partners broadcast. 

Signage (e.g., DMS, traffic signs, overhead message signs, and parking signs) was used to provide notifications to the public.  PennDOT employed road-closed signs and other devices at all ramps to indicate closure locations for the interstate.  DMS also provided advance notice of which ramps into the City of Pittsburgh were going to close during the NSSE.

The state police staffed the PennDOT TMC during the entire NSSE.  As mentioned earlier, this enabled ease of coordination between PennDOT managers, who were on site to monitor activities during the NSSE, and the media.  Reports from PennDOT indicate that the operational tempo was normal in the TMC during the G-20 Summit. 

Co-location was beneficial at the County’s EOC where federal, state, and local jurisdictions were present and working in coordination.  The ease of communication created by working in the same location helped resolve any potential issues more quickly.  While there were several command centers operating during the NSSE, positioning representatives from each organization at these centers can strain organizations’ resources.  However, the G-20 Summit demonstrated how co-locating different organizations can contribute to a successful NSSE. 

Calls for complaints, roadside service, and information were minimal because of the closure of many downtown businesses during the NSSE.  Traffic volumes in and around the venue areas were lower in Pittsburgh during the G-20 Summit.  Because notification concerning the NSSE was made well enough in advance and because road closure notification was distributed a week prior to the G-20 Summit, many people heeded the advice to use public transportation or stay away given that the city would not be as accessible during the NSSE.  The CCTV cameras monitored traffic on PennDOT parkways; however, usage of these cameras was standard, and there were no additional requirements.

Use of ITS Equipment/Advanced Technology

The NSSE used ITS and advanced technology.  PennDOT reported using its CCTV in the TMC to track incidents and general traffic issues and concerns.  Both federal and local law enforcement were notified and aware of the use of these CCTV cameras during the G-20 Summit.  CCTV cameras were located along all three major parkways in the City of Pittsburgh from the north, east, and west.  The City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and the USSS had access to and viewed PennDOT CCTV cameras from the command center located near the venue location.  Responses to any detected incidents came in through the TMC and were handled in a normal fashion. 

The City of Pittsburgh DPW reported that CCTV was not a significant factor for them, as there are no traffic cameras downtown on surface streets.  The Police Bureau did have some cameras in place, but these were used solely for their purposes and not for traffic control or traffic monitoring.

Coordination and Decision Making

Transportation requests/requirements were coordinated throughout the entire NSSE primarily from the EOC.  On the transportation side of planning and implementation, the Pennsylvania State Police, PennDOT, City of Pittsburgh DPW, and Police Bureau worked in collaboration with the USSS.  The USSS assumed the lead for the planning, and the transportation planning partner agencies scheduled meetings to address NSSE planning and development from a purely collaborative approach. 

As of early 2011, Appendix 2 of the 2007 City of Pittsburgh’s Emergency Operations Plan was available on the City of Pittsburgh website, highlighting the city’s organizational chart for emergency management operations during an incident.  Figure 3-5 depicts the structure Pittsburgh uses to handle large-scale incidents.  This organizational chart demonstrates the established relationships between partners within the city government and how they would support the city’s Emergency Management Agency.  The City of Pittsburgh would employ the NIMS structure for the management of an incident.  While it is unclear whether this structure was employed during the G-20 Summit when protestors became disruptive, it demonstrates how the city’s organizational structure could have been used if an incident occurred during the NSSE. 

Despite the compressed timeline, the USSS, working in close coordination with the city’s Emergency Management Agency, established committees that included state and local jurisdictions as well as organizations involved in or affected by the committees’ decisions. 

As shown in Figure 3-5, the DPW (referred to as Public Works in the figure) has a primary role under the City of Pittsburgh Organization for Emergency Management in the Logistics Group and a support role in the Operations Group.  Under the Logistics Group, Public Works responsibilities are to:

  • Develop and maintain the checklist for the Public Works function
  • Assist in the development, review, and maintenance of the Emergency Operations Plan
  • Respond to the EOC or the field as needed
  • Maintain a list of Public Works assets and resources
  • Serve as a liaison between Public Works and other agencies within the city
  • Coordinate the assignment of Public Works resources
  • Provide information on water, sewage, road construction and repair, engineering, building inspection, and maintenance
  • Advise elected officials and the Emergency Management Director about Public Works and Engineering activities.

The support roles for Public Works were not immediately available through the Office of Emergency Management.  Based on the National Response Framework, typical operations can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Provide emergency repair of damaged infrastructure and critical public facilities
  • Provide technical advice in the clearance, removal, and disposal of debris
  • Coordinate management of contaminated debris.

The City of Pittsburgh’s Emergency Operations Plan notes that it coincides with the National Response Plan (superseded by the National Response Framework in 2008) and groups the types of assistance that the city is likely to need based on the 15 federal Emergency Support Functions.  As such, the plan discusses transportation as a component of Operations under this format with a primary role, despite not being present in Figure 3-5.  The City of Pittsburgh includes many of the traditional transportation functions that fall under Public Works as a component of Operations including the responsibility to:

  • Develop and maintain the checklist for the Transportation Services function
  • Assist in the development, review, and maintenance of the Emergency Operations Plan
  • Respond to the EOC or the field as needed
  • Maintain a list of transportation resources and contact information including capacities in the city
  • Coordinate the supply of transportation resources within the city during an emergency
  • Advise elected officials and the Emergency Management Director about Mass Care – Shelter activities.

Figure 3-5: City of Pittsburgh Organization for Emergency Management[4]

City of Pittsburgh Organization for Emergency Management

At the operations centers, transportation agency representatives were present and available to make decisions requiring immediate action.  PennDOT reports that the primary operation center where they had staff was the Allegheny County 911 Call Center.  PennDOT representatives were housed in that facility during the NSSE to make decisions on any incidents that occurred. 

[4] Pittsburgh Public Safety Emergency Management

May 2011
Publication #FHWA-HOP-11-012