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Welcoming Remarks by Greg Nadeau, Acting Administrator, FHWA

Transportation and Public Safety Summit

Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 9 a.m.

Media Center, US Department of Transportation

Thanks very much, Mark.

On behalf of the Federal Highway Administration, it’s my pleasure to welcome everyone here this morning.

I had the privilege of kicking off the first Traffic Incident Management Summit a little over two years ago.

Many of you were at that summit as part of the senior leadership from across the responder community.

That first summit really got the ball rolling in terms of advancing Traffic Incident Management training and the program itself.

A great deal has been accomplished since that first summit:

  • With a boost from our Every Day Counts initiative, which I’ll discuss in a minute, the SHRP 2 TIM Training has spread to all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. More than 80,000 responders have received the training.
  • Our state and local partners are building TIM coalitions and committees that cut across all disciplines.
  • And new laws, policies and procedures are being put in place to further several important TIM programs and strategies.

Thanks to your leadership, we’re making great progress to protect our responders, improve the clearance of incidents, open lanes quicker and reduce secondary collisions.

You commitment has been vital to bringing us this far. And it will be equally important in moving us forward.

As senior leadership, you know that the key to real and sustainable progress is to make sure the game-changing programs and strategies that we’ve introduced become part of the responder culture – not just the concern of individual leaders and champions.

Over the next two days we’ll share experiences and ideas about how to make that happen.

We all know what a complex and dangerous job it can be to investigate and clear incidents. The number of responder deaths, injuries and near misses makes that all too clear.

So we salute you for everything you and your colleagues do to keep your people safe and keep the public moving.

But I wanted to join you this morning to make sure you know that we’re in this fight together.

All of us at the Department understand that we have a responsibility to match your commitment with one of our own.

We have a responsibility to help you reduce line-of-duty deaths and injuries so that you and all first responders can get home to your families at the end of every day.

And we have a responsibility to every community in this country to make sure incidents are cleared as quickly and safely as possible so people can get where they’re going and our economy can keep moving.

To help meet those responsibilities, we’re asking for your help. Specifically, we need your help collecting data so we can measure the effectiveness of our TIM efforts.

Quality data is playing an increasingly large role in transportation.

Our current transportation law, MAP-21, requires us to measure our progress in safety, the performance of our pavement, the movement of freight and other critical areas.

Data gives the public a clear picture of what it’s getting for its money, and it helps decision-makers invest limited resources so they get the greatest return.

And so it’s important that we look beyond headlines and anecdotes, to collect real data on the way traffic incidents are handled.

Many of you have taken part in work groups to help develop the three basic areas we want to measure - roadway clearance, incident clearance and secondary crashes.

We hope the data will show the benefits of TIM and TIM training, will guide future efforts, and will encourage more stakeholders to join us in the battle to eliminate secondary collisions and the tragic loss of life.

Tomorrow morning you’ll learn more about how you can help advance the TIM program through these performance measurements.

I just want to close by putting TIM in the larger context of bringing greater innovation to transportation.

It’s clear we have to become more innovative as an industry if we want to get the most value from our investments and help the public see the benefits of new projects sooner.

The Every Day Counts initiative that I mentioned earlier is the centerpiece of our innovation effort.

It’s a partnership with state, local and industry partners to deliver projects faster and deploy market-ready technologies and strategies that can save money, save time and save lives.

Because those goals match up extremely well with the goals of TIM, we included the SHRP2 responder training in the second round of Every Day Counts.

We’ve been very pleased with the results. More than 5,000 people have been trained as instructors. And more than 80,000 first responders have completed the TIM training itself across the country.

But this is no time to rest on our laurels.

There are more than a million responders working in the United States today that need some form of this training. And so during this summit you’ll hear about the prospects and challenges of training as many of them as possible.

On that note, let me close with a simple “thank you” for joining us at this summit and for your leadership in keeping first responders safe and America moving.

As you know, every state has some type of “Move Over” law on the books that requires drivers to change lanes and move away from first responders when they’re working an incident.

We need to remind drivers to obey these laws so we can add another layer of safety at an accident scene.

We want everyone to get where they’re going safely every day, including home to their families at night. That includes the people who use our roads – and the people who manage incidents when things go wrong.

I hope you have a terrific summit! Thank you very much!

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Page posted on May 19, 2015.
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