Traffic Incident Management
Various traffic incident management scenes - heavy traffic after accident, traffic planning, police car blocking road, overturned car on bridge, detour, rescue workers.
Office of Operations 21st Century Operations using 21st Century Technologies

Communications and Information Management

Effective communications, information management, and information and intelligence sharing are critical aspects of domestic incident management. Good communications and information management is essential no matter the size of the event or if it was a planned event or an unplanned incident. Whenever a large number of people are gathered – whether for a planned event or as the result of a traffic incident, the need to disseminate clear information and instructions to both the responders and the general public as quickly as possible is essential.

According to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) document, establishing and maintaining a common operating picture and ensuring accessibility and interoperability are principal goals of communications and information management. A common operating picture and systems interoperability provide the framework necessary to:

  • Formulate and disseminate indications and warnings;
  • Formulate, execute, and communicate operational decisions at an incident site, as well as between incident management entities across jurisdictions and functional agencies;
  • Prepare for potential requirements and requests supporting incident management activities; and
  • Develop and maintain overall awareness and understanding of an incident within and across jurisdictions.

Prior to an incident, entities responsible for taking appropriate pre-incident actions use communications and information management processes and systems to inform and guide various critical activities. These actions include mobilization or pre-deployment of resources, as well as strategic planning by preparedness organizations, multi-agency coordination entities, agency executives, jurisdictional authorities, and EOC personnel.

During an incident, incident management personnel use communications and information processes and systems to inform the formulation, coordination, and execution of operational decisions and requests for assistance.

Transportation's Intelligent Transportation Systems offer an excellent opportunity for state and local transportation agencies to provide real-time traveler information to their counterparts located at the emergency operations centers.

Effective emergency management and incident response activities rely on flexible communications and information systems that provide a common operating picture to emergency management/response personnel and their affiliated organizations. Establishing and maintaining a common operating picture and ensuring accessibility and interoperability are the principal goals of the Communications and Information Management component of NIMS Voice and Data Communication Interoperability.