National Academies Press: OpenBook

Training of Traffic Incident Responders (2012)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Background

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Training of Traffic Incident Responders. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22810.
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3Background SHRP 2 Reliability Project L12, Improving Traffic Incident Scene Management, was designed to establish the founda- tion for and promote certification of responders to achieve the three objectives of the traffic incident management (TIM) national unified goal (NUG). The intent is to motivate responders from different stakeholder groups—law enforce- ment, EMS, fire and rescue, U.S. DOT, towing and recovery, and notification and dispatch—to acquire a common set of core competencies to promote a shared understanding of the requirements for achieving the safety of responders and motorists, quick response, and effective communications at traffic incident scenes. The impact of traffic incidents on high- way operations, reliability, and safety is well documented: • According to the Texas Transportation Institute, conges- tion costs continue to rise. 44 Measured in constant 2009 dollars, the cost of conges- tion has risen from $24 billion in 1982 to $115 billion in 2009. 44 The total amount of wasted fuel in 2009 topped 3.9 bil- lion gallons—equal to 130 days of flow in the Alaska Pipeline. 44 Cost to the average commuter was $808 in 2009, com- pared to an inflation-adjusted $351 in 1982. 44 Yearly peak delay for the average commuter was 34 hours in 2009, up from 14 hours in 1982 (1). • According to a report published by FHWA, it is estimated that one-quarter of the traffic congestion in the United States is caused by nonrecurring traffic incidents (2). For every minute that an Interstate lane is blocked during non- peak congestion, 4 to 5 minutes of travel delay result (3). • From 2003 through 2007, 59 law enforcement, 12 fire and rescue, and 54 highway maintenance personnel died after being struck by vehicles along the highway (4). Data on towing and recovery industry occupational fatalities are not well tracked. However, TRAA anecdotally reports a loss upward of 100 towing operators in the line of service annually (5). A significant body of research has shown that improving incident response activities offers substantial benefits for reducing the adverse impact of traffic incidents (6). The National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC) developed the NUG for TIM to help encourage state and local government agencies to adopt the unified, multidisci- plinary programs and policies that in turn have enabled state and local governments to realize the benefits of improved TIM. C h a p t e r 1

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TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Report S2-L12-RW-1: Training of Traffic Incident Responders presents the results of a project that developed a training program for traffic incident responders and managers.

The training program described in the report contains two components: training of trainers and incident responder training.

This report is available only in electronic format.

For more information on traffic incident responder training, contact your state's FHWA division office.

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