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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Organizing for TSMO
Case Study 6: Collaboration - Partnering for Traffic Incident Management

Executive Summary

Transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) provides tools for transportation managers to address safety, system performance, and reliability. TSMO is "an integrated set of strategies to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure through the implementation of multimodal and intermodal, cross-jurisdictional systems, services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability of the transportation system.1" Through participation in the second Strategic Highway Research Program workshops, transportation agencies are working to support TSMO programs. Deploying intelligent transportation systems (ITS), hiring internal information technology staff, and using performance measures for data-driven decisions are just a few examples of the many activities a TSMO program can support.

Given the varying stages of TSMO adoption and advancement, the Federal Highway Administration identified the need for case studies to provide examples of common challenges and best practices for transportation agencies to learn from each other. This is one of 12 case studies developed to support organizing for TSMO. This case study focuses on the collaboration dimension of the capability maturity model assessment when collaborating with first responders for traffic incident management (TIM) programs.

Five agencies that frequently collaborate with first responders to improve safety and mobility were interviewed: the AZTech partnership, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the Transportation Operations Coordinating Committee (TRANSCOM), the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), and the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA). Each agency provided information on how they collaborated with first responders, their lessons learned, and the next steps to continually improve these efforts. Some of the best practices identified include:

  • AZTech's established TIM Coalition, which meets to discuss regional challenges and celebrate success.
  • GDOT's Traffic Incident Management Enhancement task force connects with first responders. Monthly and annual meetings are held to refine and improve incident management protocols and procedures.
  • TRANSCOM's approach to multi-state incident management collaboration improves safety and mobility on interstate corridors and provides consistency to end users.
  • TDOT's TIM training facility provides a space for first responders and traffic operators to prepare and train for incident response.
  • MDOT SHA's Coordinated Highways Action Response Team provides multi-agency coordination with first responder partner agencies to identify staffing, training, and dedicated funding for incident management efforts.
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