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GUIDE FOR EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION OPERATIONS The best technology for communication and site documentation and the best proce- dures (as presented in the new Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices [MUTCD]) are not widely deployed. These characteristics reflect the fact that TIM is not a for- mal, budgeted, managed program. At the same time, state DOTs' emergency opera- tions in support of state and emergency management are also often part-time respon- sibilities and fail to exploit the full potential of DOTs to contribute. These same concerns apply to county and municipal governments with significant freeway and major arterial responsibilities. In addition to moving toward a more formal state program for ETO on the part of state DOTs, a new level of cooperation among state DOTs, law enforcement, fire and rescue, towing and recovery, and other contributing agencies will be essential. It must focus on policies, procedures, organization, technology, and performance. However, in pursuing this agenda, state DOTs will have to earn credibility through consistent, aggressive con- duct of their own responsibilities. SELF-ASSESSMENT AGAINST BEST PRACTICE There are no nationally accepted standards for incident management against which cur- rent practice can be measured--or that can be used for accreditation purposes. The review of evolving best practices (see NCHRP Web Document 73, Section A, Best Prac- tices) indicates that there is tremendous variation nationwide in the conventions of ETO, including who responds, when and how, chain of command, and in-field procedures. Many of the challenges to be faced are derived from the legacy of informal, personality- dependent approaches rather than standardized practice. Within individual state DOTs, shortcomings in practice can be identified through a direct self-assessment of specific approaches to both institutional issues (policy and organization) as well as operations and technology (field protocols, roles, and relationships). Key questions include 1. Are the DOT's responsibilities and capabilities across the full range of transportation-related events fully integrated within the emergency manage- ment community and vice versa? 2. Is there a formal ETO program with senior executive responsibility and account- ability at the state DOT's district and headquarters levels? 3. Is there a clear, sustainable resource allocation process that reflects the DOT's priority on ETO? 4. Are the managers of ETO response being held accountable for performance through a performance reporting process? 5. Is there a clear sustainable policy commitment to operations, including statu- tory authorization for an efficient program? An organized improvement program will not be starting from scratch. ETO responsi- bilities already exist. Most DOTs have incident management programs that are manned by a combination of traffic operations personnel in transportation management centers (TMCs) and maintenance personnel, with long-standing relationships among DOT and public safety field staff. An improved approach must build on current strengths such as 4