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16 ways are needed to quickly process the call and notify trans- transportation and public safety management and direction. portation authorities of the highway incidents. In most locations, service patrols are equipped with public The effects of wireless phones have rippled through most safety radios. regions of society--business, family, and public safety, to name a few. More than 25 percent of the 190 million annual 911 calls are now made on wireless phones, and more than 4.4.3 Full-Time Operations 50 percent of 911 calls at some metropolitan call centers are Over its long history of responding to emergency calls from wireless phones. Although these phones permit emer- from citizens, which happen around the clock, public safety gency access from a wide range of locations, they can also has developed an operational posture that is designed for degrade emergency response. It is not unusual for an urban continuous operation. Transportation agency duty schedules 911 call center to receive dozens of calls about a highway came from different origins, partially from construction and fender-bender, which may delay answering calls from other maintenance management and partly from traffic manage- emergencies. Moreover, the lack of automatic location infor- ment. The lack of full-time incident management operations mation and the inability of many individuals to describe their by transportation agencies was an issue identified by public location add to the call center workload and can constrain safety agencies in the survey locations. Public safety agencies effective response. recognize that transportation field resources provide important Achieving this readiness among the nation's 5,000 dis- incident management services and have identified important patch centers requires cooperation and collaboration among roles for highway operations staff. However, transportation wireless carriers, dispatch centers, local telephone exchange agency personnel--because of contractual, political, and bud- carriers, emergency responders, state legislatures, and others. getary restrictions--often have multiple-hour response lags To date, only about 20 percent of counties across the nation at night and on weekends (typically 23 hours or more). have implemented location-capable wireless E911 (6). A Fed- These response lags are generally too slow for all but the eral Communications Commission report and order (7) man- largest traffic incidents. dates implementation of the service by wireless carriers by Exchanges of information concerning incidents are diffi- 2005, contingent on readiness of local public safety answer- cult if transportation staff are not available. Many transporta- ing points to accommodate and use the wireless location tion operations centers have increased their hours of opera- information. tion in recent years, and transportation agencies in Arizona and Washington have demonstrated the benefits of providing 4.4.2 Service Patrols 24/7 incident response teams. Transportation agencies would be more effective TIM partners with 24/7 operations. Public At all case study locations, service patrols--also known safety responds in minutes in most situations at any time. The as Highway Emergency Local Patrol (HELP) trucks, safety of the first responders, the care of the incident victims, motorist assistance vehicles, incident management patrols, and traffic operations for other drivers are important regard- and other names--offer aid to vehicles traveling on limited- less of the time of day. access public roadways. The service patrols are usually Providing public safety agencies with traffic control equip- operated by DOT employees or by DOT-contracted ser- ment and allowing direct access to, and control of, trans- vices. However, the private sector, such as CVS Pharmacy's portation information systems are among the ways some Good Samaritan program, also provides highway assistance regions are addressing off-hour restrictions. There were services. Incident detection and incident clearance are the concerns expressed at some sites that control of assets can main focus of a service patrol program. By quickly identi- work at cross purposes. For instance, highway cameras are fying and responding to incidents, the service patrol opera- not only useful in traffic management, but can also aid pub- tors are able to minimize the effect on the traveling public. lic safety in incident operations. While traffic managers Service patrol operators are usually required to go through might be interested in monitoring traffic flow around an inci- training and background checks prior to beginning employ- dent, law enforcement dispatchers might rather view sus- ment and are also trained and certified in first aid and CPR. pects or responders in high-risk situations. Viewing public Service patrol vehicles are natural nodes for public safety safety issues as paramount, at least one law enforcement and transportation information sharing. They provide prob- agency would even like preemptive control of transportation ably the most immediate and positive person-to-person cameras at any time. interaction with the traveling public that is available to a transportation organization. They can remove many causes 4.4.4 Incident Management System of traffic congestion while simultaneously handling minor and Interagency Training problems that do not require public safety involvement. The effective use of service patrol vehicles is greatly affected by Public safety uses a mature and proven methodology in man- their ability to reach an incipient problem in a timely man- aging emergency incidents called the incident management ner. The response can be greatly facilitated by cooperative system (IMS). All departments have used similar adaptations