Lesson

Adopt best practices for integrating emergency information into Transportation Management Center (TMC) operations to improve performance and increase public mobility, safety and security.

Experience from 38 TMCs across the country.


2/28/2006
Nationwide,United States; Maryland,United States; Atlanta,Georgia,United States; Houston,Texas,United States; Austin,Texas,United States; Orlanda,Florida,United States


Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Transportation Management Centers are established around the country to integrate data, information, and systems in support of day-to-day traffic and emergency operations. A primary challenge that the TMCs face in effectively integrating emergency information into their operations is a lack of communication and coordination between TMCs and other emergency agencies. Based on interviews with thirty-eight TMCs, this study identified best practices for TMC integration. These best practices are offered as a set of lessons learned to provide other TMCs with useful information for enhancing their transportation operations during emergency situations.
  • Place TMC workstations in related Emergency Operation Center (EOC). Locating TMC workstations in EOCs provides emergency management, dispatch, and operations full access to TMC resources and helps to facilitate smooth operations during an emergency event.
    • In Maryland, connection of the statewide emergency management center to the Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART) system using Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) protocols on commercial communication infrastructure gives the CHART workstation at the EOC full functionality and acceptable video quality.
    • Location of the TMC on the same campus as the statewide EOC allows TMCs in Georgia to connect to the NaviGator system in Atlanta with full functionality.
  • Establish formal interagency agreements. Such agreements signal management’s commitment to establishing and continuously improving operational cooperation. Topics may include common interpretation of operational goals, operational policies, organizational roles, processes for review, and funding formulae.
    • In Houston and Austin formal agreements were established among local and state government agencies covering establishment, funding, management, and operations of the combined center.
    • Orlando developed a general memorandum of understanding establishing an organizational structure and documenting commitment for information sharing and implementation coordination.
  • Install a private data network available only to cooperating regional agencies. With a shared network, participating agencies are able to share traffic and video data and use client software to access remote servers. Based on the study, once a base network is established, agencies are able to connect at a minimal cost while bringing additional data to the network.
    • In Orlando, fiber owned by individual consortium members is interconnected to establish a region-wide Ethernet network, private to the consortium, used for sharing video, data, and remote server access.
  • Encourage regular interaction among agencies. This includes both task and casual interaction among staff. Established relationships can facilitate improved response during the rapid activity of an emergency situation.
In addition, two of the lessons learned were of high relevance during regional emergencies (and assessed as low relevance for local emergencies). These include:
  • Co-locate operations from multiple agencies. The physical integration of operations leverages the resources of each agency to develop a center with more capabilities. The benefits of shared operations include reduced costs and increased awareness of the actions of other agencies.
  • Create a restricted-access website. A website restricted to participating agencies can overcome issues of reliability stemming from peaks in demand and accuracy of incoming information. In addition to participating agencies, trained observers entrusted with password accounts may also enter valuable information.
    • Along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, TMCs and other authorized organizations access a website operated by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. It allows for a two-way flow of highly accurate incident information, with higher reliability than publicly available websites.
By using these best practices and lessons learned, the state of the practice in TMC emergency integration can be significantly improved. Examples of integration methods include increased communication and coordination between TMCs and emergency agencies through site relocation and the creation of accessible shared data networks. Improvements in integration enable TMCs to more efficiently coordinate their response in emergency situations, resulting in improved public mobility, safety, and security.


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Source

Integration of Emergency and Weather Elements into Transportation Management Centers

Author: Chris Cluett, Fred Kitchener, Dwight Shank, Leon Osborne and Steve Conger

see notes above

Published By: Federal Highway Administration, HOTO

Source Date: 2/28/2006

EDL Number: 14247

Other Reference Number: FHWA-HOP-06-090

URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/jpodocs/repts_te/14247.htm

Other Lessons From this Source

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Chris Cluett
Battelle
206-528-3333
cluett@battelle.org


Agency Contact(s):

Dave Kinnecom
Utah DOT
801-887-3707
DKinnecom@utah.gov

Lesson Analyst:

Margaret Petrella
RITA/The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
617.494.3582
petrella@volpe.dot.gov


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Application Areas

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Emergency Management > Response & Recovery > Response Management

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Emergency Management > Response & Recovery > Evacuation & Re-Entry Management

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Emergency Management > Response & Recovery > Emergency Traveler Information

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Freeway Management > Lane Management > Emergency Evacuation

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Freeway Management > Information Dissemination > Dynamic Message Signs

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Freeway Management > Information Dissemination > Highway Advisory Radio

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Traffic Incident Management > Surveillance & Detection > Imaging/Video

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Traffic Incident Management > Mobilization & Response > Service Patrols

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Traffic Incident Management > Information Dissemination > Dynamic Message Signs

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Traffic Incident Management > Information Dissemination > Highway Advisory Radio

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Road Weather Management > Traffic Control > Lane Use/Road Closures

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Road Weather Management > Traffic Control > Vehicle Restrictions

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Road Weather Management > Information Dissemination > Dynamic Message Signs

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Road Weather Management > Information Dissemination > Highway Advisory Radio

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Road Weather Management > Information Dissemination > Internet/Wireless/Phone

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Roadway Operations & Maintenance > Asset Management > Fleet Management

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Traveler Information > En Route Information > 511

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Traveler Information > Pre-Trip Information > 511

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Traveler Information > Pre-Trip Information > Internet/Wireless

Intelligent Transportation Systems > Transportation Management Centers > Permanent TMCs > Multi-Agency/Co-Located

Countries

United States

Keywords

contra flow, contra flow lanes, managed lanes, DMS, CMS, VMS, Changeable Message Signs, Variable Message Signs, HAR, CCTV, closed circuit television cameras, road monitoring, camera imaging, freeway service patrol, courtesy patrols, highway helpers, freeway service patrols, automated gate closure

Lesson ID: 2007-00350