Roles of Transportation Management Centers in Incident Management on Managed Lanes
Managed lanes are growing in popularity as a transportation strategy to address increasing congestion in urbanized areas. This guidebook provides a framework for successful development and implementation of a TIM program using a TMC in the managed lane environment.
The role of TMCs in TIM on managed lanes is an important topic for transportation professionals and incident responders with jurisdiction over managed lane facilities to understand. While much is known about TIM, TMC operations, and managed lanes, the confluence of these subjects is a specialized topic worthy of its own guidebook. Managed lanes present a unique operating environment for TIM activities, due to the unique physical designs, the presence of enhanced ITS assets, the potential need to coordinate between multiple transportation agencies operating in the same corridor, and financial considerations for TIM in priced managed lanes.
The TMC plays an important role in the operation of managed lanes. In order for managed lanes to function properly, the facility must operate reliably with minimal downtime. The TMC supports this by properly preparing for TIM activities that will occur on the managed lanes, and then by supporting the real-time TIM activities that occur during an incident.
Preparation activities should begin early in the conceptual stage of the managed lanes in order to ensure that the facility is designed with TIM activities in mind and that the TMC's assets will work properly alongside existing ITS assets in the region. Interagency coordination plans, an enforcement plan, and communication protocols between the stakeholders should be established prior to the opening of the managed lanes. Having a properly prepared TMC will ensure that when an incident occurs, the TIM activities involving multiple agencies occur seamlessly and smoothly.
During an incident, TIM procedures are conducted in the specialized managed lane environment. If multiple agencies are involved, each should have designated responsibilities. Detection and verification of an incident can often occur more easily in the managed lane environment due to robust deployment of ITS technology, but the response may be complicated by difficulty in accessing the managed lanes. In some cases, special coordination between the TMC and ground crews will be necessary to allow for provision of access to the managed lanes, diversion, and scene management at the incident site. Traffic control at an incident scene can be enhanced in the managed lane environment using an ATM system, which will allow for immediate and direct control directly from the TMC. Ideally, traffic control will occur on a system and corridor level, to effectively manage traffic long before it arrives at the incident scene. One of the most important goals of TIM in managed lanes is quick clearance and recovery in order to allow the managed lane facility to return to normal operations and minimize the loss of revenue. The TMC is instrumental in coordinating and directing all TIM activities and supporting the goals of quick detection, response, and clearance to an incident.
The guidebook presented an overview of the eight case studies that were examined during the course of researching managed lane facilities. Three case studies were examined in greater depth in the guidebook to highlight areas where the managed lane facility performed especially well in the context of using the TMC for TIM purposes. The first case study highlighted the use of an ATM system to manage an incident scene in a constrained environment. It was found that ATM can be used as a mitigation tool for managed lane facilities that do not have ideal geometrics. The second case study highlighted interagency coordination where two different public sector transportation agencies manage the corridor from two TMCs. It was found that the robust coordination agreements in place among multiple TMCs along the same stretch of freeway allows for extremely efficient TIM practices. The third case study examined a privately operated managed lane facility existing in the same right-of-way as publicly operated general purpose lanes. It was found that private and public TMCs can operate as partners and allow for successful roadway operations and TIM practices. Privately operated managed lane facilities are expected to grow as transportation agencies notice the benefits of public-private partnerships.
The TMC is instrumental in coordinating and directing all TIM activities and supporting the goals of quick detection, response, and clearance to an incident.
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration