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GUIDE FOR EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION OPERATIONS maintaining traffic service performance, reflected in the reluctance to adopt a 24 7 ser- vice provider regime. In contrast to other areas of emergency services (fire and rescue), the concept of perfor- mance standards for clearance of incidents is not yet widely accepted. Traffic incident clearance and other traffic-related emergency functions are rarely tracked or bench- marked against best practice or prior performance. There is wide variation in practice, as measured by safety or delay, and a substantial gap exists between best practices and the general state of the practice. With traffic incidents now being defined as temporary work zones for traffic control purposes, DOTs will have to evaluate how they will deliver traffic control services to support other responders at major traffic incidents during non- business hours. TECHNOLOGY--STATE OF THE PRACTICE At present, the applications of technology to ETO are limited and based principally on standard ITS surveillance, detection, and communications systems. These systems are operated from state DOT TMCs and public safety call and CAD centers. Some new technology related to real-time medical communications, interagency interoperability, and HAZMAT personnel protection is being applied. However, as indicated in the FHWA "Traffic Incident Management Self-Assessment National Report," the FHWA ITS Deployment Tracking Program, and the interviews conducted in developing of this guide, the application of technologies, especially those related to communications and data development, is still in the early stages. TECHNOLOGY--STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES Excerpts from the FHWA "Traffic Incident Management Self-Assessment National Report" indicate that the majority of regions surveyed is making progress in the some of the technology areas of TIM but that progress is very modest. Key strengths and weaknesses are discussed in Table 22, combining selected survey results with the indi- cations from interviews for this guide. 51

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GUIDE FOR EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION OPERATIONS Table 22. Example Technology Strengths and Weaknesses from the FHWA TIM Self-Assessment Percent with "Strong Efforts or Better" Strengths Use TMC(s) to coordinate incident notification and response? 43 Developed technical infrastructure for surveillance and rapid detection of 30 traffic incidents? Weaknesses Have two-way interagency voice communications for direct on-site 19 communications? Provide data and video information transfer, e.g., TMC-CAD integration? 11 Have specific policies and procedures for traffic management during incident 21 response? Have a real-time motorist information system providing incident-specific 24 information? Technology Strengths Although each agency has its own internal communications network, with very limited interoperability with other agencies, developing interagency interoperable communica- tions is currently a popular public safety agenda item. Other technologies such as site investigation systems are sporadically being introduced. The potential of DOT surveil- lance and communications systems as part of a more comprehensive approach to inci- dent and emergency operations is only gradually being understood. As indicated in the 2003 FHWA "Traffic Incident Management Self-Assessment National Report," some ITS technology has long been applied by state DOTs in most major met- ropolitan areas and, despite partial deployment, is being utilized for incident detection, verification, and public information. Approximately 80 metropolitan areas also have roving highway service patrols that play key roles as first responders and managers of many minor incidents. Technology Weaknesses The lack of interoperable voice and data communications and the problems created were starkly revealed by the events of September 11, 2001. The need for interoperable inter- agency communications is widely acknowledged but represents an expensive challenge in many regions. More generally, information-sharing protocols for each significantly different emergency type (weather, security, planned event) are not uniformly developed and often involve different units within responder agencies. Many metropolitan TMCs offer substantial capabilities in surveillance and communi- cations that are not widely appreciated or exploited by the general emergency manage- ment community. For example, TMC/CAD dispatch integration benefits may be obvi- ous, but few regions are yet moving in this area. DOT staff working in traffic centers are sometimes reluctant to call emergency response agencies to share information. Motorist information devices are available that could be utilized in a wide range of emergencies 52