New methods for improving Traffic Incident Management (TIM) programs aim to increase traveler and responder safety and improve trip reliability and commerce movement on all roadways.
Over 6 million reportable crashes occur every year in the United States. Each crash places responders and motorists at risk of secondary crashes while having a severe impact on congestion. New tools, data, and training mechanisms can be used to improve safety and reduce clearance times at roadway crashes. New and existing TIM programs, including those for local agencies and off-interstate applications, will benefit from using enhanced TIM practices on all roadways to save lives, time, and money.
A New Generation of TIM
While the FHWA's national TIM responder training program successfully trained almost 500,000 responders to clear incidents collaboratively, safely, and quickly, it was largely focused on agencies that respond on interstates and high-speed roadways. Next-generation (NextGen) TIM increases the focus on local agency TIM programs while integrating new and emerging technology, tools, and training to improve incident detection and reduce safety response and clearance times on all roadways.
Traditionally, transportation agencies capture incidents (crashes, roadway debris, stalled vehicles on mainlines, etc.) where sensor technologies are installed, where safety service patrols are present, or when contacted by public safety/law enforcement agencies. NextGen TIM significantly expands this capacity. It enables agencies to improve TIM strategies by implementing new options such as back-of-queue warning, navigation-app notification of active responders in the vicinity, notification-based incident detection using crowdsourced data, and more.
By using NextGen TIM methods, State and local agencies can increase traveler and responder safety, improve trip reliability and commerce movement, and enable responder communities to focus more resources on other pressing citizen needs.
Increased Safety. NextGen TIM targets advances in safety through engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency services to help keep responders, drivers, and pedestrians safe across freeway, arterial, and multimodal travel.
Improved Travel Times. Training, data, and technology combine to help local and State agencies reduce secondary crashes and clearance times, improving trip reliability and increasing motorists' awareness of active responders along their travel routes.
Improved Operations. Integrating new and emerging technology, tools, and training can improve incident mitigation and safety throughout the whole TIM timeline, from incident detection to clearance on all roadways.
State of the Practice
Examples of NextGen TIM tools and strategies in use by local agencies:
- TIM tools and training helped the Tippecanoe County (Indiana) Sheriff's Office experience a 60-percent reduction in the time needed to measure a serious traffic crash scene. In one instance, they completely processed an 800-foot scene in 22 minutes using unmanned aerial system mapping technology.
- The Oro Valley, Arizona, Police Department found that when officers focused on TIM practices and time was tracked in a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, roadway and incident clearance times were reduced by 32% during the first 6 months of 2018.
- After receiving TIM training, the Houston, Texas, Fire Department saw a 40% reduction in scene time, resulting in a 25% reduction in fire apparatus struck while at incident scenes.