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19 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The survey locations provided clear examples of successes insist it be done. Incident Commanders must be empowered to and failures of sharing traffic incident information between accomplish their jobs, trained in how to perform, and given suf- transportation agencies and public safety agencies. The case ficient resources. When they are, they can accomplish all of our missions to save and protect lives, property, and the environ- studies further illustrated that there is no single guaranteed ment and to maintain traffic flow on our nation's highways (10). solution and that considerable and continuing effort must be devoted to fostering collaboration between public safety agen- The case study investigations for this study confirmed the cies and transportation agencies. Investigators did not find NFSIMSC's conclusion. Of the various methods of sharing major problems between public safety and transportation information presented in this report, no single one is best. The agencies at any of the locations. Indeed, a fair amount of characteristics of the local environment and organizations are effort went into selecting these particular sites because pub- key factors affecting the success of a method. There is no guar- lic safety agencies and transportation agencies were already antee that implementing any of these methods under different exchanging information. These exchanges were not sponta- institutional, operational, or technical situations will achieve neous--far from it. Most exchanges depended on relation- the same results as reported in the case studies. However, the ships that had been built up over many years with a great deal successful programs identified in the case studies are certainly of effort invested by all agencies involved. However, even viable candidates for emulation elsewhere. within established, successful, and mature joint operations As has been shown in all of the communities visited dur- between transportation agencies and public safety agencies, ing this research project, it is important to consider the some conflicts still surface now and again. information needs of all of the members of the highway Some steps can be taken to minimize conflict and establish response community. Information sharing should be planned the basis for effective information coordination: and implemented between the transportation agencies and a community of peer organizations. It is a fundamental mistake · Establish a working-level rapport with responders to presume that public safety organizations in a community from every agency that works on incidents in the area "speak with one voice." If such a presumption is translated of interest. into institutional agreements, organizational procedures, or · Ensure that working-level relationships are supported technical system designs, then information sharing between by standardized operational procedures. transportation and the rest of the response community will be · Create interagency agreements and system interconnec- restricted and could be delayed, filtered, or discontinuous. tions with key involved agencies. Ultimately, decisions to add or change information-sharing · Institutionalize senior-level relationships among the key methods for TIM will depend on valid trade-off analyses. agencies through a combination of policy agreements, Robust, quantified data on the benefits of specific TIM interagency organizations, coordinated budget planning, information-sharing practices will be essential to policy deci- and other processes to ensure that operational partnerships sion makers and operational practitioners looking to improve survive changes in political or management leadership. traffic operations and safety in their jurisdictions. However, as noted in the previous section, such data on TIM perfor- Furthermore, the National Fire Service Incident Manage- mance and benefits are rare. ment System Consortium's (NFSIMSC's) guidebook on the It is recommended that a set of statistical measures of subject of managing highway incidents (due to be published effectiveness be formulated by the participating agencies and in mid-2004) makes the case for cooperative relationships: that sampling of these statistics be taken for as long a base- line period as possible prior to implementing new TIM ele- It is imperative that those working together on highway inci- ments. Continued sampling after joint operations commence dent management understand everyone's functional capabili- will then provide the basis for comparing performance before ties and that they resolve jurisdictional and institutional issues. The success of any sort of joint operation rests upon the abil- and after the implementation. This comparison will generate ity of people to work together. This guide will not presume to an original contribution to the highway incident management instruct the user in achieving operational harmony, but shall body of knowledge.