The National Academies

SHRP 2 L12 [Completed]

Improving Traffic Incident Scene Management

  Project Data
Funds: $999, 942
Research Agency: SAIC
Principal Investigator: Nicholas Owens
Effective Date: 3/19/2008
Completion Date: 5/2/2011

Project snapshot. More details below.

(Project Number)
Impact on Practice
Product Status

A coordinated, multidisciplinary training program for traffic incident responders and managers delivered through interactive seminars, tabletop role-play, and field practicum.
This training broadens responders’ understanding of the roles and responsibilities each agency has at the scene of an incident and improves how they coordinate with each other. The result is faster and safer incident clearance for responders and travelers.
The final report is available at https://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/166877.aspx.

Three pilot projects are under way. L32A is a "Train-the-Trainer" pilot course, L32B pilots an e-learning delivery method, and L32C develops and tests a post-course assessment tool. L32B and L32C are slated for completion in late 2013 and early 2014, respectively.

Staff Responsibility: David Plazak

Traffic incidents—crashes, disabled vehicles, and debris on the road—cause roughly half of nonrecurring congestion and are the most important factor affecting travel time reliability. In very heavily traveled major metropolitan areas, such as the Los Angeles region, the number of incidents that occur daily can exceed 1000. Incidents impose a variety of significant economic costs to road users including medical, travel time, and vehicle operating costs. In addition, incidents negatively impact businesses that depend on timely deliveries.

The objective of this project was to establish the foundation for certifying the capability of responders to achieve the National Unified Goal for Traffic Incident Management: responder safety; safe, quick clearance; and prompt, reliable, interoperable communications. Most important is for responders to acquire a common set of core competencies that promote a shared understanding of the requirements for achieving the safety of responders and motorists, quick response, and effective communications at traffic incident scenes. Types of responders include police, fire, emergency management, emergency medical services, private sector responders such as towers and hazmat responders, and operations and maintenance personnel from transportation agencies.

This project developed an interdisciplinary traffic incident responder training program and a model certification framework for traffic incident responders. The training program has two components: training for trainers and training for incident responders. The incident-responder training uses many different adult learning techniques, including interactive seminar, case study analysis, tabletop role-play and scenario, and field practicum. The training was developed for delivery through a two-day intensive in-person format or modular (single lesson per session) formats. The train-the-trainer curriculum facilitates cost-effective cultivation of qualified trainers across the country. The model certification framework demonstrates the technical feasibility of certifying traffic incident responders in the core competencies and identifies the technical and institutional issues that need to be resolved to develop a national certification program. A marketing plan was also developed. This project conducted a full pilot test in Indiana, a mini abridged follow-up session in Indiana, a full pilot in Georgia, and a mini short session at Rural ITS Annual Meeting Conference.

Status: This project is complete. In 2012, five additional full pilot workshops will be conducted as part of project L32A.

Product Availability: SHRP 2 Report S2-L12-RW-1: Training of Traffic Incident Responders is available online as an Adobe PDF document.

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