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

Resource Management

Resource management involves the coordination and oversight of the application of tools, processes, and systems that provide incident managers with timely and appropriate resources during an incident. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) chapter, and the other sections are based on is of particular importance to state and local departments of transportation. State departments of transportation, through their understanding of how the NIMS-based Resource Management works can become a required resource. One such example is by assigning DOT traffic control responsibilities in accordance with the MUTCD.

As defined by NIMS, resources include personnel, teams, facilities, equipment, and supplies. Generally, resource management coordination activities take place within Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs). When they are established, multi-agency coordination entities may also prioritize and coordinate resource allocation and distribution during incidents.

Resource management's four primary tasks are to:

  • Establish systems for describing, inventorying, requesting, and tracking resources
  • Activate these systems prior to and during an incident;
  • Dispatch resources prior to and during an incident; and
  • Deactivate or recall resources during or after incidents.

Information about the following eight processes NIMS uses for managing resources can be found in the NIMS Resources:

  1. Identify and Type Resources
  2. Certify and Credential Personnel
  3. Inventory Resources
  4. Identify Resource Requirements
  5. Order and Acquire Resources
  6. Mobilize Resources
  7. Track and Report Resources
  8. Recover Resources

The fourth process, Identifying Resource Requirements is of particular importance to those departments of transportation involved in the management of traffic incidents or planned special events or who participate in the response and recovery of a major disaster. As part of their involvement they will need to classify the incident level. Resource managers identify, refine, and validate resource requirements throughout the incident life cycle. This process involves accurately identifying

(1) what and how much is needed,
(2) where and when it is needed, and
(3) who will be receiving or using it.

Resources to be identified in this way include supplies, equipment, facilities, and incident management personnel and/or emergency response teams. If a requestor is unable to describe an item by resource type or classification system, resource managers provide technical advice to enable the requirements to be defined and translated into a specification. Because resource availability and requirements will constantly change as the incident evolves, all entities participating in an operation must coordinate closely in this process. Coordination begins at the earliest possible point in the incident life cycle.

The range of transportation resources that have to be managed include staff capabilities as well a range of transportation assets ranging from traffic control devices to traffic management centers. The publication, Planned Special Events: Checklists for Practitioners includes as the end a series of supplemental lists including Contact List, Resource List and Map List to help those preparing for a planned event. The maintenance of accurate lists can be of use during disasters.