I-95 shutdown--coordinating transportation and emergency response: emergency planning, unified command, and communication are key to managing a high-profile crash on I-95 near Baltimore, MD.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the U.S. Census Bureau Noun 1. Census Bureau - the bureau of the Commerce Department responsible for taking the census; provides demographic information and analyses about the population of the United States
Bureau of the Census , 23 percent of the U.S. population lives in the I-95 corridor States between Virginia and Maine, and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) estimates that about 200,000 vehicles travel the road daily in Maryland. The interstate is the main link between Baltimore and the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, including northern Virginia Northern Virginia (NoVA) consists of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties and the independent cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park. and Maryland, making it a critical artery for north-south traffic and freight flow on the East Coast.
At 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, January 13, 2004, a fuel tanker traveling south on Maryland's I-895 (the Harbor Tunnel Harbor Tunnel has the following meanings:
Division Chief David Murphy
Ultimately, the incident called on the coordinating abilities of multiple response teams, emergency management systems, and sophisticated intelligent transportation networks. "An event the size of this fuel truck crash can affect transportation and freight on the entire East Coast; therefore, it drew national attention," says Federal Highway Administration The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a division of the United States Department of Transportation that specializes in highway transportation. The agency's major activities are grouped into two "programs," The Federal-aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway (FHWA FHWA Federal Highway Administration (US DoT) ) Maryland Division Administrator Nelson Castellanos. "With advanced technology, established partnerships, and an incident response plan, [the Maryland State Highway Administration and several other agencies were] able to contain the incident, reroute traffic, and reopen I-95 quickly."
Speed and Cooperation
Within minutes of the explosion, the Maryland State Police The Maryland State Police is the official state police force of the State of Maryland. Overview of the Maryland State Police
The Field Operations Bureau comprises twenty-three (23) barracks within six (6) geographical troop areas. began receiving calls about the incident from motorists dialing #77 on their cellular phones, and fire and police departments from multiple jurisdictions reported to the scene and its vicinity.
An emergency response technician with the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA SHA - Secure Hash Algorithm ) happened to be driving toward the bridge at the time the truck jumped the overpass. He alerted SHA's Statewide Operations Center The facility or location on an installation, base, or facility used by the commander to command, control, and coordinate all crisis activities. See also base defense operations center; command center. and immediately began to shut down the road and redirect traffic. Staff at the SHA operations centers north and south of the incident and at multiple centers in nearby States launched systems to redirect traffic around and away from I-95.
Simultaneously, the Operations Center at the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA), which maintains Maryland's seven toll facilities, began to redirect traffic on I-895. Four minutes after the crash, as emergency response vehicles and personnel left their respective stations, Maryland's Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART) changed variable message signs along the I-95 corridor and other feeder interstates in Maryland to inform motorists that I-95 near Baltimore was closed and offer alternate routes.
SHA and local police lost no time setting up the predetermined pre·de·ter·mine
v. pre·de·ter·mined, pre·de·ter·min·ing, pre·de·ter·mines
1. To determine, decide, or establish in advance: detours for affected travelers. At 2:57 p.m., staff in the SHA traffic operations centers followed established procedures to alert local police and redirected motorists traveling northbound on I-95 to MD 100, and moved southbound traffic to I-195. The traffic operations centers contacted nearby highway maintenance facilities and mobilized preoutfitted trailers--each loaded with signage, cones, flares, generators, and other specialized equipment needed to reroute traffic at the scene--to the north and south sides of the incident.
Meanwhile, firefighters arrived to find smoke, flames, and heat so intense that it was difficult to know exactly what was inside it all. Emergency responders on both sides of the crash could barely see one another's flashing red lights through the dense smoke.
CHART personnel updated their Web site (www.chart.state.md.us, also accessible through www.marylandroads.com), county police moved to close access ramps onto the interstate north and south of the incident, and staff at the statewide operations center initiated the communications to retime signals on local roadways that would accommodate changed traffic flow on the alternate routes. Other DOTs--in Delaware, New Jersey Delaware, New Jersey could refer to:
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. , Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, DC--activated highway signs to alert motorists about the incident. Up and down the corridor, independent and fleet truckers and couriers received information about the crash through the I-95 Corridor Coalition--a network of transportation agencies, toll authorities, and law enforcement agencies A law enforcement agency (LEA) is a term used to describe any agency which enforces the law. This may be a local or state police, federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). that, among other things, redirects motorists traveling on I-95 in the event of potentially long shutdowns.
As the evening wore on, more assistance arrived, including investigative teams from the Maryland State Police, the National Transportation Safety Board, and MdTA. Additional SHA highway maintenance crews and specialists from the Maryland Department of the Environment also reported to the scene. Their cooperative efforts facilitated reopening two of the four southbound lanes 4 hours after the incident occurred. By 3:30 a.m. on January 14, just a little over 12 hours from the time of the incident, all northbound and southbound lanes reopened. The backup of diverted traffic never reached more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long, which is common during a normal evening rush hour.
"Governor Robert Ehrlich
Robert Leroy "Bob" Ehrlich, Jr. (born November 25, 1957) is an American politician who served as the 60th Governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007. was in constant contact with us throughout the night, and he made sure that every State resource was available to deal with the aftermath of the incident and safely reopen I-95," says Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan. "The fact that traffic was flowing on the highway well before the morning rush hour is a tribute to the teamwork and professionalism of the men and women on the scene. They did a fantastic job."
Sergeant Rick Vecera of the Maryland State Police attributes the successful management of the crash to the preparedness and cooperation of those who addressed the emergency and managed the related transportation issues. "Three factors contributed significantly to the operation's success," he says. "The SHA's high-tech operation centers are fully equipped for efficient information management not just locally, but up and down the I-95 corridor. Post-9/11 training has accelerated and enhanced multijurisdictional cooperation and planning. In addition, emergency response staff and transportation managers in the area know one another personally through established professional networks and near-daily interactions during the profusion of planned and unplanned events in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC."
Incident response represents the heart of Maryland's traffic management program. In the early 1980s, SHA implemented its "Reach the Beach" initiative to improve traffic flow during the peak travel season on roadways leading to the beaches on Maryland's Eastern Shore. By the late 1980s, Maryland officials recognized the need for local traffic operations centers to address the ever-growing congestion The condition of a network when there is not enough bandwidth to support the current traffic load.
congestion - When the offered load of a data communication path exceeds the capacity. in the State's metropolitan areas. By 1989, SHA opened its first traffic operations center to address severe congestion along I-495 near College Park, thus giving rise to what would become the CHART initiative.
Also during the mid-1980s, SHA mapped the Maryland interstate system An interstate system can refer to
"During a crisis, there is no time to plot detours and assess impacts on intersections," says Sergeant Vecera. "Our tactics are worked out under cool and rational conditions so the plan is ready to be deployed in an emergency. Preparations like the ones in the [Freeway Incident Traffic Management] plan are crucial to traffic management when we experience a shutdown like we had when I-95 was closed by the tanker explosion."
Today CHART no longer focuses on a single need but assists with highway management systems statewide. The response team is now a multiagency organization with a governing board Noun 1. governing board - a board that manages the affairs of an institution
board - a committee having supervisory powers; "the board has seven members" featuring representatives from SHA, the Maryland State Police, MdTA, FHWA, and local governments.
"When the fuel truck exploded on January 13," says State Highway Administrator Neil J. Pedersen, "the systems and teamwork established by CHART were a critical part of the efficient response that helped motorists move to alternative routes and make informed decisions about travel."
SHA also manages its advanced intelligent transportation systems (ITS) through CHART, with the statewide operations center serving as the "hub" for information received from closed-circuit televisions and road sensors--the early indicators of traffic congestion or incidents. A critical component of information sharing See data conferencing. is the CHART Web site (www.chart.state.md.us), which typically registers an average of 750,000 to 1 million hits per week. On January 13, the site logged 400,000 hits in a single day.
The #77 cellular call-in system, used extensively by motorists every day--as well as on the day of the incident--is managed by the Maryland State Police and handles approximately 10,000 calls annually. These ITS technologies bolster CHART's information-sharing capacity and give its members the tools to inform motorists and redirect traffic away from the scene of an incident almost instantaneously. CHART also connects directly to other regional systems, so I-95's closure was broadcast far beyond the State's borders.
Managing the Fire
Fire companies from Howard and Baltimore Counties dispatched several trucks in response to the 911 calls. Because the event was close to the county line, they did not know who had jurisdictional control until they arrived at the scene. (The Patapsco River The Patapsco is a river in central Maryland which flows into the Chesapeake Bay in Baltimore, Maryland. With its South Branch, it forms the northern border of Howard County, Maryland. forms the border between Baltimore and Howard Counties, with Howard County Howard County is the name of seven counties in the United States of America:
More than 30,283 liters (8,000 gallons) of flammable liquid Generally, a flammable liquid means a liquid which may catch fire easily.
In the USA, there is a precise definition of flammable liquid as one with a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. , tires, and even the asphalt made fighting the fire a monumental challenge. Fortunately, the incident occurred only a few kilometers from the Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI BWI
British West Indies ). After arriving on the scene and witnessing the intensity of the fire, the county fire units radioed the BWI Fire and Rescue Department to request use of its crash truck, which is equipped with foam.
"The foam acts like a blanket that quickly controls a fire where flammable flam·ma·ble
Easily ignited and capable of burning rapidly; inflammable.
[From Latin flamm liquids are present," says Deputy Chief Garry This article's grammar usage needs improvement. Please edit this article in accordance with Wikipedia's . Pace.
BWI's crash truck was on the scene by 3:43 p.m. According to Deputy Chief Pace, the BWI Fire and Rescue Department started pumping more than 2,000 liters (550 gallons) of foam concentrate to rein in to check the speed of, or cause to stop, by drawing the reins.
to cause (a person) to slow down or cease some activity; - to rein in is used commonly of superiors in a chain of command, ordering a subordinate to moderate or cease some activity deemed excessive.
See also: Rein Rein the flames.
Local fire units supported the crash truck and crew by shuttling more than 45,000 liters (12,000 gallons) of water from the nearby Patapsco River to mix the foam. The BWI truck had the majority of the fire under control within 1 hour. The fire equipment from the two counties remained to extinguish Extinguish
Retire or pay off debt. small fires that continued to burn and to control brush fires on the hillside adjacent to I-95.
Establishing a unified command--taking into account the missions of all responding agencies when making decisions at the scene of an incident--is the job of the incident commander. (See "Coordinating Incident Response," March/April 2004 issue of PUBLIC ROADS.) The incident is partitioned into manageable tasks, and the best qualified response resources are assigned to each need. The organizational structure expands and contracts according to the severity and circumstances of the incident, facilitating a smooth transition of authority during multiagency operations and ensuring that all activity is conducted under a single chain of command. Much like a relay race relay race
Race between teams in which each team member successively covers a specified portion of the course. In track events, such as the 4 × 100-m and 4 × 400-m relays, the runner finishing one leg passes a baton to the next runner while both are running within , once a particular phase is complete, the baton (or authority) passes to the next organization. This approach ensures the safety of responders, crash victims, and motorists, while responders mitigate the impact of the incident on traffic flow and the surrounding community.
Characteristic of the unified command structure, fire and rescue emergency response agencies sometimes are the first on the scene of an incident and normally are the first lead agencies to establish incident command. In the Maryland crash, therefore, the first incident command was established under Chief Herr, who managed the crash within a familiar and practiced organizational structure that is standard for most emergency response situations. Says Major Bill McMahon of the Howard County Police, "There are certain templates put into place to mobilize the command structure, so even though incidents are different, the process transfers from one experience to another."
The command structure helps determine who is in charge of what. For a minor fender-bender involving one blocked lane, the response could be minimal, involving two or three trucks to help control traffic. For more complex incidents, like the I-95 crash where a section of a major highway is shut down, the magnitude of the response will be much greater.
On January 13, with more than 20 agencies at the crash scene and controlling traffic in the surrounding areas, the unified command enabled responders to address the situation quickly and efficiently. Chief Herr's first moves were to meet with leaders from all the attending agencies, establish his command, and assess the situation from the multiple viewpoints represented. Since no rescues were possible, Chief Herr and the other incident commanders established five priorities to ensure continued safe and efficient operations for the duration of the event.
* Protect responders. The people assisting at the scene needed a safe and protected working environment.
* Minimize environmental damage. Acreage along the roadside was burning, and there was concern for fuel contamination in the immediate area.
* Conduct an investigation and remove victims. Once the fire was under control, a thorough investigation was needed to understand the cause of the crash and to identify the victims. The investigative work that required road closure was completed during the immediate 12 hours following the incident. Other roadway inspections continued over the next few weeks, requiring I-895 to be closed once for a short period.
* Maintain traffic rerouting as needed as needed prn. See prn order. . Part of protecting responders was to keep the area clear of traffic until it was deemed safe.
* Complete inspections and repairs to open the highway again. Reopening the interstate was critical to regional transportation.
(Note that the top priority would have shifted to a rescue mission if there were any survivors.)
The agency leaders met with Chief Herr every 30 minutes and eventually every hour. They set goals to be met before the next meeting and delivered progress reports. "Everyone in the unified command was ready to be a leader or a supporter, depending on the changing roles as the incident needs changed," Chief Herr says. "Throughout the night we saw people step up in anticipation of each other's needs, while others stepped back to allow for a shift in responsibility."
The unified command was needed for the investigative portion of the incident as well. The crash involved two different interstates, I-895 and I-95, under the control of the MdTA Police and Maryland State Police respectively. Representatives from both departments agreed to conduct a joint investigation, with MdTA taking the lead. The joint investigation would help alleviate confusion, avoid duplication of effort between the jurisdictions, and speed up the process.
After the fire was under control and Chief Herr deemed the area safe, the incident command switched to MdTA's Chief Gary McLhinney for purposes of the investigation. Despite the complexity of the crash and its geographic location, the unified command facilitated an organized and effective approach to managing the incident.
Managing the Press
Managing the flow of information away from the scene was another challenge. The incident stirred interest from press across the Nation, with about 25 reporters representing radio, television, and print gathered at the scene to collect information. The incident commander turned to public information officers dispatched to the scene to assist with controlling the information released to the public.
Several public information officers were at the crash site--from SHA, the fire and rescue departments, the Maryland State Police, and the MdTA Police to name a few. Major Greg Shipley, spokesman for the Maryland State Police, took the lead and immediately designated a media briefing area. He identified and met with the other information officers, and everyone agreed to cooperate in regular briefings with the media. All participated in the unified command meetings and then met afterward to determine the new information appropriate for public disclosure. The incident commander cleared the messages to the media. Throughout the evening, each public information officer was responsible for disseminating information under the purview The part of a statute or a law that delineates its purpose and scope.
Purview refers to the enacting part of a statute. It generally begins with the words be it enacted and continues as far as the repealing clause. of his or her respective organization.
Using Maryland's battery of ITS tools, including variable message signs, highway advisory radio To read about HAR in biology, see human accelerated regions.
Highway advisory radio (HAR), sometimes also called travelers' information stations (TIS , and the Web, traffic managers and police units launched the quick response that moved travelers away from the incident. Later, after the traffic situation was under control, the story of what caused the crash and speculation on the road closure took on new importance. The media became a valuable ally in sharing current information as people turned to news programs at home or switched to radio programs with regular traffic and news updates. "The public depends on accurate and timely information from news reports," says Major Shipley. "We wanted to be sure to keep reporters in the loop as much as possible while remaining sensitive to the investigative aspects of the situation."
By giving joint press updates, Chief McLhinney, the State Police, and Maryland Transportation Secretary Flanagan were able to keep the message clear and prevent rumors and inaccurate information from being reported to the public. Additionally, Secretary Flanagan briefed reporters on the magnitude of the cleanup and anticipated morning traffic impacts, which helped establish realistic expectations for the public. When road crews opened all lanes of I-95 before the next day's morning rush hour, the team exceeded those expectations. Ultimately, the news coverage on the incident response was positive, and The Baltimore Sun Baltimore Sun
Daily newspaper published in Baltimore, Md., U.S. It was begun as a four-page penny tabloid in 1837 by Arunah Shepherdson Abell, a journeyman printer from Rhode Island. published an editorial praising the State and the investment in CHART technology and people.
Within 20 minutes of the incident, SHA personnel and police units implemented traffic detours and disseminated information to motorists about alternate routes. The bulk of the responsibility for detouring motorists fell to SHA, which managed traffic flow away from the interstate. County police assisted by diverting traffic on local roads.
According to Major McMahon, 22 Howard County police officers on the south side of the scene were deployed to 17 traffic posts to move northbound traffic over to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD 295) and U.S. 29. SHA and the Baltimore County Police redirected southbound traffic by diverting motorists from I-95 to I-195 and MD 295. I-895 traffic was detoured to I-695, which is the interstate that encircles Baltimore. The I-695 detour also gave motorists access to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and I-97 to continue south. Through CHART, SHA staff deployed signal changes that allowed a greater flow of traffic away from the scene on local roads. Cars caught between the detours and the incident cleared the scene within 1 hour from the time of the crash.
According to Major McMahon, the attacks on September 11, 2001, and local weather events like snowstorms and hurricanes have helped law enforcement and emergency response professionals work together in many cross-jurisdictional situations. "In fact," says McMahon, "Howard County has plans for what we call an 'in-vacuation' that recognizes the traffic effects of what would happen if there was an emergency in Washington, DC, to our immediate south." He attributes part of Howard County's success on January 13 to these preparations for possible terrorist activities.
Once the motorists nearest the scene were evacuated, emergency response and road maintenance equipment were on standby and ready for action as needed. SHA personnel ensured that ambulances, tow trucks, salt and sand equipment, and machinery to repair pavement were staged out of the way but within easy access to the site. At about 7 p.m., the fire units informed the Maryland State Police that two of the four lanes of southbound I-95 could be reopened.
"In Maryland," says Sergeant Vecera, "when an incident involves fire, hazardous materials, or rescue, it is the fire companies who decide when the situation will allow roads to reopen. However, it is seldom a black-and-white decision, so cooperation among all concerned parties at the scene, like we saw on this crash, is what really comes into play."
That cooperation extended to broadcasting the message that two lanes were reopened and mitigating the effects of the inevitable rubber necking that would take place as motorists passed by the scene. CHART's communications systems updated the information network and variable message signs to inform southbound travelers that lanes were reopened. To minimize rubbernecking, the Maryland State Police requested that SHA move extra dump trucks and variable message signs to the median shoulder between the northbound and southbound lanes to create a wall that blocked the view to passing motorists to help cut down on delays.
Investigation Goes High Tech
Around 7 p.m., Chief Herr declared the scene safe and turned over the role of incident command to Chief McLhinney from MdTA to conduct the investigation. A portion of the work had begun already while the fire was being managed. The Maryland State Police and MdTA Police worked together above I-95 on I-895 to understand why the fuel truck had left the road. Using aerial photos and total stations (mapping equipment) with law enforcement software for investigations, specially trained officers gathered the data needed to conduct a thorough analysis of what had happened.
Today's data-gathering tools enable engineers to create virtual crash scenes for subsequent analyses, rather than keeping the locations closed for on-the-spot evaluations. Having the right technologies and the right people at the right time sped up the investigation. In the past, an investigation of an incident of this magnitude would have required keeping the road closed for considerably longer.
Fifteen weeks after the crash, MdTA released its written report on the incident, and Baltimore's WBALTV station aired MdTA's "forensic animation forensic animation n. recreation of events by computerized animation to display to the jury (or judge without a jury) what apparently happened in an accident or crime. ," or reenactment re·en·act also re-en·act
tr.v. re·en·act·ed, re·en·act·ing, re·en·acts
1. To enact again: reenact a law.
2. , showing the truck's path as it careened down I-895 and finally over the bridge's concrete barrier. The viewpoint was that of a driver traveling behind the truck. A second animation showed a view from above and how the vehicles on I-95 were caught in the truck's fall.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB NTSB
National Transportation Safety Board ) also is conducting an independent investigation of the incident. NTSB's examination will include a review of the operational performance of the truck. According to an NTSB news release on April 16, 2004, the final report is expected in 2005, though safety recommendations can be issued any time during an investigation.
Understanding what happened on I-895 was one portion of the investigation; reconstructing the fire scene on I-95 presented other challenges. The fire units were called in for a new purpose--extricating the bodies from the vehicles involved. "We went into the incident with so many unknowns," says Chief McLhinney. "Were there hazardous materials? How many people were in the vehicles? In fact, until we could really begin to pull things apart, we couldn't be certain how many vehicles had been caught in the fire."
As the investigation progressed, the bodies were removed and taken by the medical examiner A public official charged with investigating all sudden, suspicious, unexplained, or unnatural deaths within the area of his or her appointed jurisdiction. A medical examiner differs from a Coroner in that a medical examiner is a physician. for identification. Crash team investigators carefully identified the pieces of debris that belonged to each vehicle. Waiting tow trucks rolled in to remove what was left to a secure location for further examination.
"Being able to remove the debris from the scene serves both an investigation and the need to reopen a highway," says Maryland State Police Crash Team Supervisor Sergeant Krah Plunkert. "Away from the scene, investigators sift through the physical evidence in the debris and collect information that brings the crash dynamics together." He indicated that this enables investigators to take their time and make use of lighting during the day to enhance their investigation.
Cleaning Up and Assessing Damage
Late in the evening, with the rush hour long over, SHA began the final phase of its work on the scene. Equipment and engineers stood by in anticipation of the cleanup. Earlier inspections of the bridge on I-895 permitted reopening the ramp from southbound I-895 to southbound I-95 around 11 p.m.
Front-end loaders, dump trucks, and sweepers went to work for the next several hours on I-95. In the early hours of January 14, firefighters endured below-freezing temperatures as they washed the roadway. Because of BWI Airport's foam truck, little damage had occurred to the I-95 road surface. SHA crews laid thermoplastic A polymer material that turns to liquid when heated and becomes solid when cooled. There are more than 40 types of thermoplastics, including acrylic, polypropylene, polycarbonate and polyethylene. tape to increase visibility and applied cold patch to areas in the left lane affected by the crash. Shortly after 3 a.m., road crews salted the washed-down areas to prevent freezing, and, at 3:35 a.m., the northbound lanes of I-95 reopened.
According to FHWA Office of Safety Design Director John Baxter, "Traffic incident management embodies FHWA's vital few priorities of safety and congestion mitigation. Our first thought is for the safety of those caught in and near the incident and the safety of the responders at the scene. Our next thought is congestion management and maintenance of the flow of traffic to get people safely to their destinations with minimal delay. Then we think about future opportunities for preventative measures to stop reoccurrence."
The I-95 incident called for assistance from a number of responders, which makes partnerships and team response vital. Since September 11, 2001, transportation personnel, police, firefighters, and their support systems have been alert to the newly realized potential for large disasters that require multi-agency response.
Communications technology Noun 1. communications technology - the activity of designing and constructing and maintaining communication systems
engineering, technology - the practical application of science to commerce or industry was identified repeatedly as one of the weak points during the event. Cellular communications historically are poor in the area where the incident occurred. Connections were hampered further by the large number of people--motorists, police officers, firefighters, and SHA staff-trying to use their cell phones. Fire and police have an alternative--their 800 megahertz One million cycles per second. See MHz.
MegaHertz - (MHz) Millions of cycles per second. The unit of frequency used to measure the clock rate of modern digital logic, including microprocessors. radios--but those airwaves airwaves
Informal radio waves used in radio and television broadcasting , too, were jammed early in the response, and some of the key leaders did not have radios available immediately. Over time, the responders established small workgroups with each assigned specific radio channels for better connections.
Limitations of current communications technology during a large incident continue to be reviewed. The frequent face-to-face meetings held in the command center helped address the problems and further confirmed the importance of establishing a unified command quickly. Other actions that facilitate success and can be adopted routinely in any large-scale operation include identifying the public information officers and a lead spokesperson to centralize cen·tral·ize
v. cen·tral·ized, cen·tral·iz·ing, cen·tral·iz·es
1. To draw into or toward a center; consolidate.
2. the messages delivered to the press. The regular meetings of unit leaders kept everyone at the scene informed and marginalized information coming from multiple directions.
The primary key to success, however, was not a specific act on the night of the incident. "Our success was marked by the rapport and relationships previously established among the police and fire departments, SHA personnel, medics Med´ics
n. 1. Science of medicine. , and engineers. All the personnel acted in the spirit of collaboration and partnership," says Sergeant Vecera. Professional training, cross-jurisdictional workgroups, and planned events in the area offer traffic management personnel numerous opportunities to work together under less pressing conditions. When strong interpersonal relationships are supported by the appropriate technologies and preestablished response routines, the result is a comprehensive system on ready alert, nearly invisible to citizens but significant in its capabilities.
According to Sergeant Vecera, the next morning's rush hour travelers moved through the area as if the incident had never happened. Technology and partnerships had created an environment for success.
RELATED ARTICLE: Partnerships Are Key to Success
Working partnerships were an integral component in successfully managing the major traffic incident that occurred on January 13, 2004, on I-895 and I-95 in Maryland. Partnerships that are able to withstand the test of the high-pressure events like the January 13 crash are not made on the spot but are built over time. Some opportunities for collaboration come with local weather emergencies and the multitude of one-time and planned events that take place in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area The Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area is a consolidated metropolitan area consisting of the overlapping labor market region of the cities of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. . Perhaps equally significant is the ongoing cooperation among the various groups that meet regularly for the purpose of comparing information, solving common problems, and sharing best practices.
The I-95 Corridor Coalition, for example, is an alliance of transportation agencies, toll authorities, law enforcement departments, and related organizations from Maine to Florida. The coalition provides a forum for key decisionmakers to address transportation management and operations issues of common interest. The mission is to improve transportation services and operations in the corridor through coordinated implementation of advanced technology. Among the coalition's many achievements is an information exchange network that facilitates communication and information sharing during major incidents. (See "Learning from the 2003 Blackout" on page 22.) The coalition maintains a workstation at the Maryland State Highway Administration's statewide operations center to enhance connectivity with the region, and the services that alerted truckers that I-95 was closed are provided through a contract supported by the organization. For more information, visit www.i95coalition.org.
In another example of a key partnership, the Baltimore Regional Operations Committee (B-ROC) comprises more than 20 local jurisdictions and agencies including police, fire, and public works public works
Construction projects, such as highways or dams, financed by public funds and constructed by a government for the benefit or use of the general public.
Noun 1. . The committee's goals reflect a dedication to work across jurisdictional boundaries and share resources. In forums convened by regional operations committees, professional relationships are built and an understanding of actions to take during an emergency are shared between the Maryland State Police, county police, State and local transportation managers, and emergency responders. FHWA recently published a primer that encourages and enables regional operations collaboration and coordination for transportation managers and public safety officials from cities, counties, and States within a metropolitan region. B-ROC and CHART are among the examples featured in the guide, Regional Transportation Operations Collaboration and Coordination. For more information, visit http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/ RegionalTransOpsCollaboration or contact Wayne Berman at email@example.com.
In addition to these groups, emergency responders meet regularly at training and conferences. In fact, Chief Joseph Herr of the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services and Division Chief David Murphy of the Baltimore County Fire Department were in command and control training together on January 13 when they were advised of the incident on I-95.
RELATED ARTICLE: FHWA Supports Traffic Incident Management
FHWA has conducted numerous studies to help State highway agencies and responders assess and improve their skills in managing traffic incidents.
* The Traffic Incident Management (TIM TIM Timothy
TIM Technical Interchange Meeting
TIM Transient Intermodulation Distortion
TIM Time Is Money
TIM The Invisible Man (movie)
TIM Telecom Italia Mobile (Italian cellular provider) ) Self-Assessment Guide helps regional program managers gauge the success of their efforts to address traffic incidents and congestion. FHWA also summarized the National Traffic Incident Management Self Assessment results for 75 urban areas in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . Each area was scored on program and institutional issues, operational concerns, and communications and technology issues.
* The Traffic Incident Management Handbook is for both program managers and day-to-day service providers. From design and planning to technology, the manual provides guidance on establishing or improving an incident management program and identifies tools and strategies that can enhance field operations.
* Incident Management Successful Practices, A Cross-Cutting Study: Improving Mobility and Saving Lives (FHWA-JPO-99-018) is a 28-page report that shares the experiences of transportation professionals from around the country in deploying ITS technologies to manage traffic incidents. The report covers incident response, site management, interagency coordination, training and leadership, and more.
FHWA also supports research and studies conducted by other transportation organizations:
* The National Fire Service Incident Management System Consortium developed the Model Procedures Guide for Highway Incidents to adapt time-tested incident management systems developed by fire services
Fire Services (Chinese:消防) is a Hong Kong football club. The majority of the players are working for the Fire Services Department in Hong Kong and playing for the club on to apply to highway incidents.
* The National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP NCHRP National Cooperative Highway Research Program Synthesis 318: Safe and Quick Clearance of Traffic Incidents surveys policies, procedures, laws, and ordinances from all 50 States regarding the clearance of traffic incidents.
* The I-95 Corridor Coalition's Quick Clearance and "Move It" Best Practices: Final Report shares the experiences of transportation agencies and incident responders along the I-95 corridor.
Access these and other documents through FHWA's Office of Operations Web site at www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/Travel/IncidentMgmt/IncidentMgmt.htm.
David Buck is the media relations manager with the Maryland SHA, a position he has held for more than 2 years. He was a public information officer for SHA before assuming his current position. His responsibilities include coordination and response to media inquiries related to SHA and the Maryland Department of Transportation The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is a government agency in the U.S. state of Maryland. MDOT is overseen by Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari, whom had previously served as the Secretary prior to his current term, from 1999 to 2003. . Buck began his career at SHA in 1990 as the first operator at the new traffic operations center in Baltimore. He earned a bachelor's degree at Towson University.
Breck Jeffers is the transportation management engineer in FHWA's Maryland Division. He provides guidance and oversight for federally funded ITS projects and programs in Maryland. Jeffers joined FHWA in 1995 and became an ITS engineer in the FHWA New Jersey Division in 1997. Before joining FHWA he was a traffic engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is responsible for building, repairing, and operating highways, bridges, and other modes of transportation, including ferries. and an ITS engineer with SHA. He holds a bachelor of science Noun 1. Bachelor of Science - a bachelor's degree in science
bachelor's degree, baccalaureate - an academic degree conferred on someone who has successfully completed undergraduate studies degree in civil engineering and a master's degree in transportation from Morgan State University Morgan State University, formerly Centenary Biblical Institute (1867-1890), Morgan College (1890-1938) Morgan State College (1938 -1975), is located in residential Baltimore, Maryland. .
Alvin Marquess marquess
European title of nobility, ranking in modern times immediately below a duke and above a count or earl. The wife of a marquess is a marchioness or marquise. The term originally denoted a count holding a march, or mark (frontier district). is the statewide coordinator for incident management operations for SHA. He began his career with SHA in 1981 as an engineering associate. Marquess also worked in the Accident Studies Division and District 3's Traffic Engineering Office. In 1989 Marquess was one of the initial responders and dispatchers working from Maryland's first traffic operations center to coordinate and manage traffic activities in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Marquess serves on committees dedicated to incident management, including the I-95 Corridor Coalition and the Seaboard Incident Management Committee.