A related NASEMSO project is the Event Response Readiness Assessment (ERRA), which allows localities, regions, and states to self-assess their emergency response capacity benchmarked to specific indicators including, but not limited to: the ability to implement incident command systems (ICS) with national guidelines; the extent of regional and state, public and private, integration in a broad response plan; and multidisciplinary participation in mass casualty exercises (Martin, 2010).
The commonality of ERRA’s metrics allows counties to compare themselves to their neighbors, intending greater system integration and stakeholder collaboration as a result. The self-assessment nature of the tool lends universality to its implementation, while its online interactive workshops can provide greater guidance and context to local strategies aimed at improving MCI response.
In 2009 there were about 34,000 highway fatalities, said Kelly Hardy, safety program manager with American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). One of the goals of AASHTO is for all state departments of transportation (DOTs) to work to reduce highway fatalities by half in the next 20 years. This cannot be accomplished simply by making roadway improvements, she said.
Data collection on fatal accidents is a challenge. Approximately 60 percent of those fatalities occurred on rural roads, and around half of these on roads that are not owned or maintained by the state DOT. The cities, counties, townships, and other jurisdictions that take care of these roads collect their own crash data, and know what these roads look like and what kind of improvements might need to be made.
One issue for data collection is location-specific coding of crashes; where exactly are these crashes occurring and what does that road look like where that crash happened? An issue specifically related to MCIs is traffic volume. Another question is how often specific types of vehicles travel on that road (e.g., buses, cars).
Hardy referred participants to the highway safety manual that was recently published by AASHTO following 10 years of research by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and the Federal Highway Administration (AASHTO, 2010). The manual provides models for predicting the impact of infrastructure changes, for example, how would the installation of rumble strips or a traffic signal at an unsignalized intersection affect crashes in that area?