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1 CHAPTER 1 SUMMARY Traffic incident management (TIM) is a planned and coor- dent scene information is best and most immediately commu- dinated process to detect, respond to, and remove traffic inci- nicated via land mobile radio. This was reflected in the wide- dents and restore traffic capacity as safely and quickly as pos- spread practice of providing public safety radio access to some sible. It involves the coordinated interactions of multiple transportation agency units at most locations. Service patrols public agencies and private-sector partners. The objective of were the transportation units most commonly found to be this study was to assess methods, issues, benefits, and costs equipped with public safety radios at the case study locations. associated with sharing information between public safety Commercial cellular capabilities have greatly improved with and transportation agencies in support of TIM. the advent of push-to-talk and priority access features that can Interagency exchange of information is the key to obtaining effectively emulate radio service. Key personnel from some the most rapid, efficient, and appropriate response to highway of the agencies coordinate with interagency points-of-contact incidents from all agencies. More and more, such information commercial wireless push-to-talk networks. must be shared across system, organizational, and jurisdic- Alphanumeric pagers, cellular short message service text tional boundaries. Transportation and public safety agencies in messaging, and email are used by some individuals to com- locations across the United States are successfully sharing municate within their agencies. However, these applications highway incident information through a variety of methods. are not the key means for sharing TIM information with other A case study approach based on site visits was used. Inter- agencies. CAD systems, while also not yet a key method for views and document reviews were conducted at a selected interagency information sharing, has become a component of group of sites regarding the methods of information sharing incident information sharing networks in seven of the loca- between transportation and public safety organizations, the tions. Most existing CAD systems are proprietary and are not effectiveness of these methods, and the corresponding fea- designed to exchange information with CAD systems offered tures of the interagency relationships. The limited sample by other vendors, let alone with transportation systems. When represented by these surveys confirmed that working rela- practical, public safety and transportation agencies should tionships between public safety and transportation organiza- consider using compatible information systems to establish tions are positively correlated with information sharing. A effective interagency information exchange. summary of results is provided in Table 1. Freeway management systems operated by transportation Four broad methods of information sharing were identified: agencies in many metropolitan areas include closed-circuit Face-to-face encompassed direct interpersonal activities, usu- television (CCTV) or other video systems, embedded sensors ally at joint operations or shared facilities. Remote voice in roadways, dynamic message signs, and highway advisory included common communications options such as telephones radio systems. Information generated by these systems is read- and land mobile radio. Electronic text involved text messaging ily shared where public safety staff are co-located at the rel- via paging, facsimile, or email devices and text access to traf- evant transportation centers. In some locations, video and fic incidentrelated data systems, including computer-aided still images are shared remotely. dispatching (CAD). Other media and advanced systems com- The survey locations provided clear examples of successes prises technology-dependent methods not addressed in the pre- and failures of sharing traffic incident information between vious categories, such as video and other imaging systems, and transportation and public safety agencies. Of the various integrated technologies, such as advanced traffic management methods of sharing information presented in this report, no systems. single one is best. The characteristics of the local environ- At six locations surveyed, communications and information ment and organizations are key factors affecting the success systems are made accessible to both public safety and trans- of a method. There is no guarantee that implementing any of portation organizations at a common location. These joint these methods under different institutional, operational, or operations centers are often the cornerstone for information technical situations will achieve the same results as reported sharing between agencies in a region. The standard wireline in the case studies. However, the successful programs iden- telephone is still the primary means of center-to-center inter- tified in the case studies are certainly viable candidates for agency communication at most locations. Transportation inci- emulation elsewhere.

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2 TABLE 1 Summary of information-sharing methods by location Other Media and Location Face-to-Face Remote Voice Electronic Text Advanced Systems Some sharing of public safety Roadway data, images, Albany, NY Two co-location sites radios; some use of commercial Shared CAD system and video shared remotely wireless service "talk groups" Service patrols equipped with local CAD data to be shared CCTV control shared with Austin, TX Co-location site ready to open police radios remotely local police Transportation center hosts Some sharing of public safety CCTV and other traveler Cincinnati, Shared CAD under regional incident management radios; some use of commercial information are shared OH development team operations wireless service "talk groups" with public Shared radio system; some use of CCTV and other traffic Minneapolis, Multiple co-location sites commercial wireless service "talk Shared CAD data management systems are MN groups" shared DOT data workstations Service patrols equipped with state CCTV shared with local Phoenix, AZ -- provided to local public police and DOT radios fire department safety agencies Salt Lake CCTV and other traffic City, Co-location site Shared radio system Shared CAD data management systems are UT shared Service patrols equipped with local CCTV and other traffic San Antonio, Co-location site police radios; shared radio system Shared CAD data management systems are TX to be deployed shared CAD data are posted on San Diego, Service patrols equipped with local Co-location site Shared CAD data traveler information CA police radios website Service patrols equipped with state Control of CCTV is Seattle, WA -- patrol radios; center-center Shared CAD data shared with state patrol intercom system All locations use standard telephones and facsimile machines for information sharing. CAD = computer-aided dispatching. CCTV = closed-circuit television. DOT = department of transportation. Effective communications arise between transportation and over, co-location strengthens these interagency relationships public safety organizations that work well together. Interaction and trust. between the two communities can work to build the mutual Changes in leadership often affect the relationships among trust and respect necessary to build close working relation- organizations. At one location with a strong working rela- ships. Many factors influence interoperability. For multi- tionship throughout the years, a change in leadership helped agency TIM information sharing, the broad factors are insti- reinvigorate the partnership. At another location, when cham- tutional, technical, and operational. pions moved on in their careers, an information exchange proj- The willingness of leaders and organizations to work within ect lost essential management support. That allowed previous cooperative partnerships is a cornerstone of successful TIM. minor problems to escalate, eventually leading to the project's As documented in the case studies, each of the locations with demise. effective information sharing between transportation and pub- The case studies identify some of the limitations of capac- lic safety had formal frameworks in place for cooperative ity, service availability, and cost of technologies for exchang- activities and day-to-day working relationships at many lev- ing information between certain transportation agencies and els of the organizations. In all cases investigated, the frame- their respective public safety partners. However, as also shown works were based on formal agreements or regional plans. in the case studies, technology is capable of enhancing TIM Some of the frameworks could serve as models for other information sharing and overcoming interoperability barriers. locations planning to implement cooperative programs. Agencies in the survey locations have shared common propri- Personal relationships among a handful of key staff are etary communications or data systems, have used commercial crucial to success. As demonstrated in successful locations, wireless services, and are testing ways of crosslinking their operational personnel have found innovative ways to over- information system. come institutional and technical limitations to TIM coordi- Fundamentally, sharing TIM information is an operational nation. Whether through informal traffic task forces or cellu- issue. Information sharing is a core value of public safety and lar talk groups, the trust established through these individuals of transportation agencies that work well together. The shared permeates through the corresponding organizations. More- information leads to better decisions and performance--that

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3 is, faster help to those in need, shorter time that an incident tion visited during this study could formally quantify the ben- impedes traffic, and ultimately less economic costs to the efits of information sharing. Moreover, most locations had no key stakeholders involved. However, exchanges of infor- data to measure how other TIM practices affected detection, mation concerning incidents are difficult if transportation notification, response, clearance time, responder safety, or staff are not available. Many transportation operations cen- other metrics of performance. It is recommended that a set of ters have increased their hours of operation in recent years, performance measures be formulated and that sampling of and transportation agencies in Arizona and Washington these statistics be taken before and after the implementation State have demonstrated the benefits of providing 24/7 inci- of new TIM elements. Documenting and promoting the effec- dent response teams. tiveness of TIM enhancements, such as information-sharing Most local officials interviewed were strongly supportive programs, will help ensure that political leaders and public of sharing traffic incident information and employing multi- safety professionals increase their awareness of TIM problems agency teams to manage traffic incidents. However, no loca- and opportunities.