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

Performance Measures to Improve TIM

TIM programs must rely on efficient data collection, analysis, and reporting to measure performance and identify opportunities to improve. However, performance management through enhanced data collection remains elusive in many jurisdictions that either do not collect TIM data, collect data for a small percentage of traffic incidents, or collect inconsistent and inaccurate data that may mislead the direction for program improvement. FHWA promotes the adoption of four national TIM performance measures:

TIM flow chart of Time to return to normal flow
T0 - Incident occurs, T1 - First recordable awareness, T2 - Incident verified, T3 - Response Identified and dispatched, T4 - Response arrives on scence, T5 - All lanes available for traffic flow, T6 - Last Responder has left scene, T7 - Normal traffic flow returns
  • Roadway clearance time (RCT) is the time between the first recordable awareness of the incident to time all lanes open for traffic flow.
  • Incident clearance time (ICT) is the time between the first recordable awareness of the incident to the time at which the last responder has left the scene.
  • Secondary Crash is a crash that occurs at the scene of an original crash or in the queue, including the opposite direction.
  • Responder Struck By records any instance that a responder is struck by a vehicle while working the scene of an incident.

Nearly all transportation agencies collect data on the types and frequency of incidents. To improve TIM planning and operations, many TIM programs collect additional data related to incident detection time, verification time, response time, time of scene by responder type, types of secondary crash, and details regarding responders struck at the incident scene. These data are collected through Traffic Management Centers (TMCs), State crash reports, Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), Safety Service Patrol, and crowdsourced data.

The FHWA Every Day Counts Round Four, Using Data to Improve worked with 30 State TIM programs to improve the collection, analysis, and reporting of TIM performance. Agencies typically share the performance of their programs through quarterly or annual reports while monitoring TIM performance internally at a monthly or more frequent cadence.

Using comparable data reporting and metrics can increase transparency in demonstrating program effectiveness to stakeholders. It can also help justify future funding for TIM resources by quantifying its safety and economic benefits. Accelerating this data collection and including it in performance management will help TIM programs realize their full potential for keeping motorists and incident responders safer and roads and highways clear.

Related Information

Contact Us

For more information, please contact:

Paul Jodoin
Transportation Specialist
Emergency Transportation Operations Team
Office of Operations, Federal Highway Administration
Department of Transportation