Using Capability Maturity Frameworks for Transportation System Management and Operations (TSMO) Program Advancement:
Case Studies and Lessons Learned
Chapter 6. Traffic Incident Management Capability Maturity Framework
As part of the Traffic Incident Management (TIM) CMF, the TIM Capability Maturity Self-Assessment (CMSA) tool was developed with input from State DOTs, law enforcement, and other TIM responders. The TIM CMSA allows an agency to assess and benchmark its existing capabilities and, upon completion, provides an action plan with tangible actions for the agency.
Use of the Framework
Recommended for agencies looking for ways to improve TIM institutional capability in the region.
Link to the CMF
Level of Deployment
The deployment of the TIM CMF is handled differently than the other program areas. Starting in 2015, the TIM CMF was integrated with an existing national assessment tool called the TIM Self-Assessment. Since 2015, the top 75 urban areas have recognized the value of the TIM CMSA and have been conducting them voluntarily on an annual basis. Results are shared annually with the national TIM community.
Sample of Actions from the Framework
The TIM CMF is slightly different from the other TSMO program area CMFs due to its emphasis on a national-level aggregation of results. The TIM CMSA includes about 50 questions to benchmark TIM programs. Some sample questions are provided below:
- Is there a formal TIM program that is supported by a multidiscipline, multiagency team or task force that meets regularly to discuss and plan for TIM activities?
- Is roadway clearance time being measured using FHWA's standard definition— "time between first recordable awareness of an incident by a responsible agency and first confirmation that all lanes are available for traffic flow"?
- Is an authority removal law in place and understood by TIM stakeholders?
- Is a driver removal law in place and understood by TIM stakeholders?
- What activities are in place to outreach and educate the public and elected officials about TIM?
- Is there a safety service patrol program in place for incident and emergency response?
- Are TIM stakeholders aware of and actively using TMC/TOC resources to coordinate incident detection, notification, and response?
- What TIM data (e.g., number of involved vehicles, number of lanes blocked, length of queue) are captured via TMCs or public safety computer-aided design systems, or both, and are they shared with other disciplines for real-time operational purposes?
Case Study 6: Oregon Department of Transportation
Representatives from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and FHWA met for the TIM CMF assessment in Salem, Oregon. Oregon already had a particularly strong TIM program, but ODOT was looking for a more structured means of further advancing the program. The assessment timing coincided with ODOT's efforts to make its program more multidisciplinary and to involve more stakeholders.
ODOT's workshop used the 2015 TIM Self-Assessment to guide participants through a discussion that covered (a) the state of the TIM program; (b) possible ways to improve the TIM operations; and (c) prioritized action items to enhance TIM in Oregon. The workshop resulted in a high-level description of Oregon's TIM program and identified actions for program enhancement.
Snapshot of TIM CMF Use at ODOT
Timeframe: May 2015.
Sponsoring agency: ODOT.
Motivation: Looking for a structured means of further advancing the program to be more multidisciplinary and to involve more stakeholders.
Feedback on CMF: The CMF assessment was critical in formalizing TIM-related processes rather than initializing them. Still, several key actions arose specifically from the CMF, and many others, while not directly attributable, were considered to have been aided by the assessment.
Message for other agencies: CMF offers an off-the-shelf structure to advance TIM activities.
For More Information
Figure 8. Image. ODOT's interest in the TIM CMF was to formalize TIM processes and make its program more multidisciplinary (Source: ODOT).
Identified actions included updating the State's TIM strategic plan, streamlining the TIM responder training program, and setting up a clear after-action review process. Details of these actions are provided below:
- ODOT was able to formalize and take meaningful steps on many of the priority action items from the assessment. Notably, the first item on the list was to update the Oregon TIM strategic plan, which was updated for the entire State in 2015 and is slated to be updated again in 2020. This was the first time in which the agency had done a TIM plan that involved stakeholders from across the State rather than just within ODOT.
- ODOT also continued to improve its TIM responder training program after 2015, with the implementation of an online registration site, marketing documents, and a refined process to register trainers and advertise courses.
- TIM performance measures and data collection have also been improved in recent years since the CMF. The State has increased data collection and analysis efforts. Oregon has progressed from having only two regional TIM teams to having six to seven teams by the end of 2018. While the TIM strategic plan has not yet begun in all parts of the State, other teams will help expand its reach.
- Each of the above teams has an ongoing goal to track performance measure data for its activities. Further, ODOT has started releasing a quarterly TIM newsletter with key measures and a preview of the coming quarter.
- ODOT started a TIM-specific Facebook page with the goal of building a community of drivers and responders to promote TIM messaging.
- Oregon's diversity in urban form, culture, and political climate across the State complicates the task of creating a statewide, unified approach to handling TIM. Still, ODOT and other entities have taken significant steps toward advancing interagency communication and harmonization.
- ODOT has had recent success in growing the understanding of TIM among senior leadership across several State agencies. In 2017, for the first time, an executive-level meeting was held with staff from organizations across the State, such as fire departments, the sheriff's department, towing authorities, local police forces, and transportation planning agencies. While multiagency TIM meetings occurring regularly, hosting a meeting with executive-level attendance from all these agencies required a heightened momentum on TIM.
- ODOT is looking to capitalize on its improved performance measure data by making it more readily available, understandable, and actionable. The agency is planning to create intuitive performance dashboards for public and agency communication. Ideally, useful information on incident hot spots (geographically and temporally) could be provided to law enforcement.
- While the TIM responder training is already advanced within the agency, ODOT intends to expand its outreach and training efforts by contacting fire department rosters and advertising on stakeholder websites.
Overall, ODOT expressed positive reviews of the CMF and its ability to facilitate growth. For ODOT, the staff buy-in on TIM development was largely present, so CMF was critical in formalizing that process, rather than initializing it. Still, several key actions arose specifically from the CMF, and many others, while not directly attributable, were considered to have been aided by the workshop.