Assessing Coordination Between Agencies Involved in Traffic Incident Management - FY08 NATSRL

Principal Investigator(s):

Robert Feyen, Associate Professor, UMD-Mechanical & Industrial Eng

Project summary:

A key role of any state's department of transportation is managing adverse incidents that affect traffic flow within the interstate highway system under its purview. In most urban locations, management is accomplished through various agencies (e.g., police, fire, maintenance, and traffic operations), each with a stake in the overall traffic incident management (TIM) system. A literature survey indicates that, although prior studies have examined interagency coordination issues, relatively few have examined how the effectiveness of interagency efforts can be externally compared or internally assessed quantitatively. Further, numerous TIM systems in the United States have reported performance evaluation of interagency TIM activities as one area of activity for which little success has been attained.

This research project took a two-pronged approach in proposing a quantitative basis for comparison and performance assessment, which is described below.

1) The first prong was an external benchmarking study, which provided potential baseline metrics and methodologies for interagency TIM activities for use in justifying and communicating the benefits of TIM systems both to the public and to officials whose decisions significantly affect TIM resources. Along these lines, existing data sources and surveys administered to TIM personnel in seven urban areas across the country with similarities to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area have been used to document and compare the effectiveness of interagency coordination efforts.

2) The second prong was an internal analysis of interagency coordination conducted at the Minnesota Department of Transportation's (Mn/DOT) Regional Transportation Management Center, which oversees the Twin Cities metro highway system. A review of communications during past incidents and in-person observations was used to ascertain the current work procedures, information requirements, and knowledge sharing needed to coordinate efforts between various TIM stakeholders. Based on this research, recommendations were made for data collection and analysis of appropriate TIM performance measures.


Project details:

  • Project number: 2008018
  • Start date: 06/2007
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety, Traffic operations