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GUIDE FOR EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION OPERATIONS KEY DRIVING FORCES The imperative for a more formal approach to dealing with the traffic implications of incidents, emergencies, and disasters arises out of a set of driving forces that character- ize the external environment for state DOTs and their public safety partners, as well as the legacy institutional environments in which they operate. Seven key forces can be perceived: 1. Highway incidents and traffic-related emergencies are a major cause of delay and safety problems, 2. The broad and growing array of hazards that involve highways directly or indi- rectly has varying implications for response, 3. State DOTs and local government transportation departments are not clearly focused on accountability for ETO, 4. There is no clear "best practice" that is widely accepted, 5. New technology is available that could support improved ETO, 6. There is limited institutional commitment to traffic incident and related emer- gency operations as part of ETO, and 7. Significant highway performance improvement opportunities are being missed. Together these compose a powerful incentive to break away from conventional practice. These forces are described in the next section of this guide. A SERIOUS COMMITMENT TO ETO A review of the state of the practice suggests that improving the performance of ETO presents a significant opportunity to improve mobility and safety. However, this will require a reorientation of the state DOTs' role and a higher degree of cooperation among DOTs, law enforcement, fire and rescue, towing and recovery, and other contributing agencies. Public safety agencies have principal incident command authority and long-standing conventions both for generic incident response and emergency management procedures, including those that take place on or impact highways. Their priorities are on law enforcement, life safety, and property protection. Improvements in the mobility dimen- sion of ETO must respect the priorities and conventions of public safety agencies, but there is an increased public safety understanding of the DOT role, as evidenced in recent national fire service guidance on TIM (the Incident Management Model Procedures Guide for Highway Incidents, published by the National Fire Service Incident Manage- ment System Consortium and the U.S. Department of Transportation [USDOT]). To fulfill their mobility mission, many DOTs will have to upgrade the position of inci- dent management and emergency operations activities beyond their often fragmented, part-time, and reactive character. The operational performance level of incident response in terms of detection, response, site management, and clearance times is rarely tracked. 3