The beginning of EDC-6 is just around the corner, and each week through the end of the year, we will give you a preview of the seven innovations being featured. This week, we will take a sneak-peak at next-generation traffic incident management (NextGen TIM).

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 6 million crashes occur every year in the United States. Each crash places responders, motorists, and those nearby at high risk of secondary crashes. Crashes and other roadway incidents severely congest roadways, straining travel reliability and commerce. Incident response also taxes local response workforces, taking valuable time from other community needs. Agencies around the country have used TIM programs to plan for and coordinate response to these events to improve safety and reduce incident duration and the congestion impact. Even agencies without a formal TIM program or a traffic management center can implement new TIM methods to save more lives, time, and money.

Next-Gen TIM helps improve responder decision-making. (Credit: Kimley-Horn)

NextGen TIM increases the focus on local agency TIM programs while integrating new and emerging technology, tools, and training to improve incident detection and reduce safety response and clearance times on all roadways. Traditionally, transportation agencies captured incidents where sensor technologies are installed, where safety service patrols are present, or when contacted by public safety/law enforcement agencies. NextGen TIM significantly expands this capacity. Agencies can improve TIM strategies by implementing new options like notification-based incident detection using crowdsourced data or back-of-queue warnings. Navigation-app notifications of nearby active responders can help travelers slow down, move over, or choose a different route.

Using unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in conjunction with NextGen TIM reduces traffic risk exposure for crash investigators and other responders and improves situational awareness, helping agencies better manage incident scenes and shorten crash investigations. Additionally, new data and analysis techniques will help agencies target training, intelligent transportation systems infrastructure, safety service patrol routes, and other aspects of TIM to reduce the overall incident clearance time.

By using NextGen TIM methods, State and local agencies can increase traveler and responder safety, improve trip reliability and commerce movement, and enable responder communities to focus more resources on other pressing citizen needs.

To learn more about NextGen TIM, contact Paul Jodoin or James Austrich with the FHWA Office of Operations, register for the EDC-6 virtual summit and attend the breakout session on Dec 10, or visit FHWA’s EDC website.

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