Overview of TIM Program

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) TIM program consists of three major components: the Statewide Traffic Operations Center (STOC), the Freeway Service Team (FST), and the Traffic Incident Management Enhancement (TIME) program. The STOC is located in Milwaukee and manages traffic for the entire State. The STOC operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to provide travelers with the most current travel information and to assist law enforcement and emergency responders in identifying and clearing incidents as quickly as possible.[1] The FST is a combined force of WisDOT, the Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP), and the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office that works together to clear incidents and disabled vehicles from the roadway. There are two types of FST – the Sheriff’s service, which is staffed by law enforcement officers, and the work zone and special event FST, which utilizes contracted private tow services.[2]The TIME program was initiated in 1995 by WisDOT to create a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary group to work together to improve TIM.[3] WisDOT hosts regional TIME meetings with responders from local law enforcement, volunteer fire departments, highway departments, towing companies, and more to conduct incident debriefings, build relationships, and promote best practices statewide.

Since 2012, over 3,000 responders have been trained and equipped to instruct their agency’s personnel in responder safety, safe and quick clearance, and improved communication—all to aid in quick restoration of traffic flow. Through a partnership starting in 2016 with the Department of Justice, TIM training is mandatory for all new police recruits, and WisDOT is working with technical colleges to incorporate formal TIM training into their fire service programs.[4]

As a way to engage the sheriff and the WSP in discussions about incident clearance, WisDOT requires an after-action review and report for all extended-duration incidents (EDI) – those incidents that close any interstate for two hours in one direction or 30 minutes in both directions. The report includes the incident information, a brief description, roadway closure and detour information, a list of responding agencies, and a full timeline. Once the report is completed, a discussion is held to review the report, review all actions that were taken, identify best practices that were utilized, and discuss opportunities for improvement.[5,6]

Data Collection and Management

The data used for TIM performance measurement in Wisconsin comes from various sources. In the Milwaukee region, operators at the STOC input incident data into the center’s advanced traffic management system (ATMS). In addition, WisDOT receives an automated feed from the MCS computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, and the data are amended by the STOC operators as necessary. The integration between the WisDOT STOC and the MCS CAD system took place in 2007. This data integration facilitates sharing of information, reduces operator workload, and improves the response times to traffic incidents.

Outside of Milwaukee, there is an ongoing effort to integrate the WisDOT system with additional county-level CAD systems across the state, including Dane County (Madison), Waukesha County (Milwaukee metro area), and Brown County (Green Bay). The WisTransPortal Data Hub, developed through ongoing collaboration between the Wisconsin Traffic Operations and Safety (TOPS) Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the WisDOT Bureau of Traffic Operations (BTO), provides a central source of traffic operations, safety, and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) data. The WisTransPortal supports center-to-center data exchange for TIM purposes through the InterCAD system. This system provides automated XML data exchange from public safety CAD systems to the STOC ATMS. The InterCAD system currently includes CAD XML incident data from WSP and Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Dane Counties.[7]

In addition, Wisconsin is updating the statewide crash report. WisDOT has worked with law enforcement within the state to incorporate the national TIM performance measures onto the statewide crash form, which will greatly facilitate TIM performance analysis and reporting. The new crash form will be implemented in 2017.

Performance Analysis and Reporting

Incident management has risen to one of the top ten concerns in the state, and incident clearance time is one of the performance measures under the mobility goal within WisDOT’s Performance Improvement program, MAPSS (Mobility, Accountability, Preservation, Safety and Service). To show the current state of Wisconsin’s transportation system, a quarterly MAPSS Performance Improvement Report summarizes the progress of selected performance measures on a two-page scorecard and then details the progress of each measure in the body of the report. These scorecard measures have been deemed of highest importance to WisDOT customers. The department also has interactive web pages within each core goal area for customers who are interested in “drilling down” into the data. Figure 1 shows a summary for the MAPSS incident performance measure, average incident clearance times for intermediate and major incidents over a five-year period, as well as the statewide average clearance time for 2015.[8] Figure 2 shows the percentage of incidents (intermediate and major) that were cleared within the clearance goals over a five-year period.

Figure 1. Screenshot of WisDOT’s MAPSS Interactive Web Page for Incident Response - Summary

Figure 1. Screenshot of WisDOT’s MAPSS Interactive Web Page for Incident Response – Summary

Figure 2. Screenshot of WisDOT’s MAPSS Interactive Web Page for Incident Response – Northeast Region

Figure 2. Screenshot of WisDOT’s MAPSS Interactive Web Page for Incident Response – Northeast Region

Beyond clearance time, WisDOT is interested in exploring a number of other TIM performance measures including the following:

  • Safety – The safety component of incidents includes secondary crashes and unsafe practices such as the incorrect use of traffic control devices (TCDs) or failure to wear high visibility apparel.
  • Communications/coordination – WisDOT is interested in scoring incidents in terms of the communications and coordination during the events.
  • Incident impact – While some incidents may take longer to clear due to factors such as low demand, time of day, etc., their impacts on traffic may be minimal; conversely, minor incidents that occur in a metropolitan area during the peak period can have significant impacts. WisDOT is interested in investigating ways in which to quantify the overall incident impacts.
  • Work flows and processes – WisDOT would like to examine work flows and processes to determine if there are points during the incident response timeline where efficiencies could be identified that could lead to improvements.

Benefits of TIM Performance Measurement

WisDOT is focused on TIM, quick clearance, and emergency operations planning and readiness, and the commitment of the Department’s leadership to these programs has resulted in increased resources. In addition, WisDOT reported that the collection and monitoring of TIM performance data has helped them better communicate both as a bureau and within the STOC.


[1] Wisconsin DOT, http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/who-we-are/dtsd/bto/stoc/default.aspx, accessed February 2016.
[2] Wisconsin DOT, http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/who-we-are/dtsd/bto/stoc/fst.aspx, accessed February 2016.
[3] Wisconsin DOT, http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/who-we-are/dtsd/bto/stoc/time.aspx, accessed February 2016.
[4] Mobility, Accountability, Preservation, Safety and Service (MAPSS) Performance Improvement Report, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, January 2015, http://www.dot.state.wi.us/about/performance/docs/perf-report.pdf#.
[5] Wisconsin DOT, Extended Duration Incident #11 – After Action Review, April 9. 2013, http://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/about-wisdot/newsroom/events/gchs/2013/afteraction.pdf.
[6] Wisconsin DOT, After-Action Review (AAR) Form – Extended Duration Incident, March 30, 2013, http://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/about-wisdot/newsroom/events/gchs/2013/afteraction2.pdf.
[7] Wisconsin Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory, The WisTransPortal System, http://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/about-wisdot/newsroom/events/gchs/2013/afteraction2.pdf, accessed February 2016.
[8] Wisconsin DOT, http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/performance/mapss/measures/mobility/incident.aspx, accessed March 2016.