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15 information sharing and overcoming interoperability barri- core value of public safety and transportation agencies. The ers. For example, agencies in the survey locations have shared information should lead to better decisions and per- shared common proprietary communications or data sys- formance--faster help to those in need, shorter time during tems, have used commercial wireless services, and are test- which an incident impedes traffic, and ultimately less eco- ing ways of crosslinking their information system. nomic costs to the key stakeholders involved. Various mature and off-the-shelf technologies can support voice and digital communications. They are widely used and supported by a significant vendor community. Configuration 4.4.1 Information to Support Emergency Response differences are the primary challenges for interoperability. These challenges take the form of differences in data encod- Transportation agencies have important roles in TIM. Some ing and messaging; radio frequencies, protocols, and licenses; transportation agencies operate advanced data collection and and rules of security, privacy, and propriety. Data conversion surveillance systems that can provide information useful for and access management must be used to allow each side to detecting and verifying incidents. Cellular 911 calls from exchange information with the other. motorists, delivered to public safety call centers, provide most However, if practical, public safety and transportation agen- highway incident notifications. However, neither the trans- cies should consider using compatible information systems portation data collection nor the public safety answering when establishing effective interagency information exchange. points will detect and locate all incidents alone. Both must Of course, institutional and operational realities usually com- cooperate in order to address all incidents affecting trans- plicate such clean solutions. When public safety agencies and portation in the most expeditious manner possible. That means transportation agencies can manage with a single system, the that each must be responsive to the other concerning efforts benefits can be substantial. Examples of shared radio systems to resolve conflicting or unclear incident information, such are commonplace, but examples of shared information sys- as location, type, severity, and impact. tems are rare. A good example of a shared information system Integrating highway incident operations strongly builds a can be found in Salt Lake City. community highway response team with a shared purpose and Sometimes circumstances do not make the above solutions attitude. The more interaction between members, the better, practical, and neither joint use of communications systems as interaction improves each others' understanding and appre- nor integrating dissimilar systems can fulfill all users' needs. ciation of the varying roles and responsibilities as they apply As demonstrated in Albany and Minneapolis, cellular tele- to the highway. Constant interaction between team members, phones can be used for radio-like voice interoperability. There or at least monitoring each others' activities, improves every- is an increasing range of commercial options available to one's familiarity with everyday operations. Then, when inci- organizations desiring push-to-talk capability, and five wire- dents arise, and responders are assigned together, no time is less carriers plan to offer push-to-talk service by 2004. Ser- wasted on familiarization and orientation. And, when the vice costs will likely fall because of competition (5). major incidents happen, everyday and ordinary operational Interagency integration of multimedia or advanced systems practice can be easily adapted to larger-scale activities. is a notable challenge. But as demonstrated with the Albany Public safety can usually provide the most immediate field region's wireless high-bandwidth prototype, the advanced response to an incident and is able to provide the earliest capabilities of one organization can be effectively shared with remediation to resolve the incident's near-term and nearby other agencies through crosslinking. The Broadband Wire- effects. Transportation agencies can support and accommo- less Integrated Service prototype demonstrated that high- date immediate response through whatever means are avail- bandwidth services such as live video relay can readily be able, such as CCTV imagery, road condition reports, and provided across operational centers for a fraction of the cost traffic signal preemption. However, the most immediate and of previous lease-lined options. effective means for transportation agencies to support inci- However, if new systems cannot be made to work or are too dent response and management is to influence the traveling impractical to use, then the negative consequences can reflect public's reaction to a blocking incident. This can be accom- on the broader transportationpublic safety relationship in a plished through prompt and effective use of highway advi- region. In one location, a monitor in the dispatching center sat sory radio, variable message signs, 511 systems, detours, and idle because of a technical problem in video processing. Not traffic news service interfaces. These means are most effec- only did that block the presentation of highway CCTV to dis- tive when public safety agencies support and accommodate patchers, but its long period of uselessness demonstrated a such traffic management methods. lack of commitment by both agencies to solve the problem. Public safety agencies are also important sources of TIM information for transportation agencies. Notably, 911 call 4.4 OPERATIONAL IMPLICATIONS centers provide valuable incident detection and notification information. Cellular calls from motorists are a growing Fundamentally, sharing TIM information is an operational source of incident notification information. Since wireless issue. The importance of sharing information should be a calls can come from any location within a region, effective