Oregon

Overview of TIM Program

Operations in the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) are divided into five geographical regions:  Portland Metro (Region 1), Willamette Valley (Region 2), Southern Oregon (Region 3), Central Oregon (Region 4), and Eastern Oregon (Region 5).[1] Each are individually responsible for construction and maintenance projects in that region. The state of Oregon is also divided into 14 maintenance districts that handle the day-to-day maintenance and operations of state highways.[2] Maps of the regions and districts can be seen in Figure 1.[3] There is a traffic operations center (TOC) in each of the regions, and incident reports for all incidents on state highways, of which ODOT is aware, are created and tracked in the TOC system.

Figure 1. Map of Five Regions and 14 Districts, Respectively, in Oregon

Figure 1. Map of Five Regions and 14 Districts, Respectively, in Oregon

There is a formal Declaration of Cooperation – signed in November 2013 – between ODOT and the Oregon State Police (OSP) to coordinate incident response at the statewide level, committing to the support of the TIM training and its principles.[4] There are also informal agreements at lower, regional or district levels, between ODOT, law enforcement, and other responders. In addition, there are regional TIM teams that are committed to meeting on a regular basis to review incident response in that region and to discuss potential improvements.

Data Collection and Management

In 2009, a new advanced traffic management system (ATMS) was implemented in Oregon to replace the individual regional systems. This statewide system provides ODOT with the ability to coordinate and track incident response across the state in a more efficient and organized manner.[5] While the incident-reporting process at the TOCs relies on the TOC operators communicating with 911 operators and manually inputting this information into the incident reports, ODOT is working on integrating the system with the 911 computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software. The integrations are already operational in a few counties.

ODOT has a limited number of incident response freeway service patrol staff that are dispatched to both major and minor incidents on state highways, as necessary. Responders from either ODOT’s incident response teams or partner agencies call in incident information to the TOC, and the operators enter the information into the ATMS. The TOC operators also monitor closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras for incidents. The data entered into the system is dependent on the TOC operators receiving information from responders that is valuable and useful and the TOC operators carefully monitoring the CCTVs.  More outreach to partner agencies, specifically law enforcement, regarding the value of good data collection techniques would be helpful in improving the data that is collected statewide. ODOT is working on improving communication to show the partner agencies the full capabilities of the data systems and to agree on a consistent data format for responders to collect.

All districts in Oregon collect data on both roadway clearance time (RCT) and incident clearance time (ICT), and many individually report these measures to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) via the annual TIM Self-Assessment (TIM SA). While ODOT does not yet collect data on secondary crashes, it has a tool to calculate the risk of secondary crashes. The tool employs a model developed by Karlaftis et al. that predicts the likelihood of a secondary incident for every minute of an active incident.[6] As part of an update to the TIM Strategic Plan, which will be completed in 2016, ODOT plans to examine the practices in other states with respect to the collection of secondary crash data and then to determine what approach is best for Oregon.

Performance Analysis and Reporting

ODOT has worked together with OSP and other responder agencies to reach a shared understanding of TIM goals and objectives throughout the state. The key TIM performance target in Oregon is to clear the roadway for every incident in less than 90 minutes.[7] Additionally, ODOT continues to work on the accuracy of incident start times. The ATMS, CAD system, and police reports generally all contain slightly different times depending on how the incident was identified and verified. This issue is also one of the drivers for the planned integration of the ATMS and the CAD system.

Although there is now a statewide ATMS, TIM performance measurement, analysis, and reporting in Oregon is handled at a district level. While District 2 (Portland) is the only district required to complete an annual TIM SA, about half of the other districts do as well, and these are typically the districts that have dedicated incident response teams. ODOT is working on finding ways to distribute the performance measure data to mid- and upper-level management in partner response agencies, as well as to the TIM teams throughout the state, with the goal of agreeing on a format that will support improved performance management.

In order to move closer to achieving the statewide goal of clearing 100% of incidents in under 90 minutes, ODOT identified and analyzed all incidents with an RCT over 90 minutes. ODOT focuses on determining the reasons the goal was not met and engages specific partners to identify areas where improvements could be made. After-action reviews are conducted for each incident, and ODOT has looked for trends, both statewide and on a regional level. While this initial analysis was helpful, it was performed manually, and ODOT has tasked their regional TIM teams to find a more automated solution.

ODOT Region 1, Maintenance District 8 is actively engaged in a pilot project to analyze a Dedicated Incident Response program. The objective of this pilot project is to demonstrate the value for dedicated response teams in a district where all incident response was previously handled by maintenance staff, either in addition to their maintenance responsibilities during standard work hours or as on-call responders after hours. A detailed analysis was conducted at the two-year mark of the pilot project. Figure 2 and Figure 3 were excerpted from the Final Performance Evaluation and Findings Report.[8]  Figure 2 shows the percentage of incidents that were cleared within 90 minutes by the incident responder (IR) and the maintenance crews (MC) before and during the pilot project. Figure 3 compares the overall percentage of incidents that met the clearance goal before and during the pilot project.[9]

These results show that having a dedicated incident responder resulted in more incidents being cleared within the 90-minute goal.

Figure 2.  District 8 Pilot – Percent of Crashes Cleared within 90 Minutes by Responder Type

Figure 2.  District 8 Pilot – Percent of Crashes Cleared within 90 Minutes by Responder Type

Figure 3. District 8 Pilot – 90-Minute Clearance Time Performance

Figure 3. District 8 Pilot – 90-Minute Clearance Time Performance

Benefits of TIM Performance Measurement

ODOT is working to update the Statewide TIM Strategic Plan and to create a Transportation Systems Management and Operations Performance Measurement Plan. The FHWA is funding the update to the Strategic Plan, and there are many stakeholders involved. ODOT believes that, through these efforts, the TIM program will take a giant step forward and performance measurement and management will be better organized and prioritized in the coming years.

In addition, ODOT District 8 has found significant positive impacts of the Dedicated Incident Response pilot project; as a result, the dedicated incident responder is now a permanent position in District 8.  ODOT district staff plan to demonstrate the value of these positions to other district-level managers, as well as to the state legislature, to justify more of these positions throughout the state.

 

[1] Oregon DOT, ODOT Regions, http://www.oregon.gov/odot/pages/highwayregions.aspx, accessed March 8, 2016.
[2] Oregon DOT, Maintenance and Operations Branch, http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/OOM/pages/about_us.aspx, accessed March 8, 2016.
[3] Oregon DOT, GID Unit Map Products, http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TDATA/pages/gis/odotmaps.aspx, accessed March 8, 2016.
[4] Oregon Technology Transfer Center, Oregon Roads Newsletter: Spring 2015, http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP_T2/news/OregonRoads107.pdf.
[5] Oregon State University, New Traffic Management System in Oregon Now Online, http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2009/jul/new-traffic-management-system-oregon-now-online, accessed March 8, 2016.
[6] Karlaftis, M. G., S. Latoski, P. Richards, J. Nadine, and K. C. Sinha. ITS Impacts on Safety and Traffic Management: An Investigation of Secondary Crash Causes. Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1999, pp. 39–52.
[7] Oregon State Police, Traffic Incident Management, http://www.oregon.gov/osp/PATROL/Pages/Traffic_Incident_Management.aspx, accessed March 8, 2016.
[8] Oregon DOT, ODOT Region 3 District 8 Dedicated IR Program Evaluation: Final Performance Evaluation and Findings Report, December 2015.
[9] Griffin, J., Dedicated Incident Response Pilot Program Evaluation Findings, Presentation from Statewide TIM Meeting, September 22, 2015.