Overview of TIM Program
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) partnered with the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) in 1993 to form the Incident Management Operations Group (IMOG). The IMOG is a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency working group with the main objective of enhancing the state’s TIM program to provide safer and more efficient travel in New Jersey. In 2015, NJDOT developed the State of New Jersey Traffic Incident Management Strategic Plan to organize all involved agencies’ TIM efforts and evolve the TIM strategies into a long-term plan.
NJDOT operates a Statewide Transportation Management Center (STMC) and an additional traffic operations center (TOC) in Cherry Hill. NJDOT also has an emergency call center, the Central Dispatch Unit (CDU), which handles all emergency calls requiring NJDOT resources. The CDU and STMC are both staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NJDOT also operates a safety service patrol (SSP) program that patrols 230 miles of major freeway facilities, providing motorist assistance and helping to enhance safety for emergency responders. The SSP operates every day, 4:00 AM – 8:30 PM on weekdays and 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM on weekends. Between these hours, the SSP continually patrols the freeways and are often the first responders on the scene of an incident.
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is the master planning organization for a 9-county region that includes Pennsylvania and New Jersey. DVRPC has established eight corridor-based Incident Management Task Forces (IMTFs) in collaboration with the DOTs. The purpose of the IMTFs is to coordinate incident management response and foster agency interaction on specific, high-visibility road corridors. Each IMTF meets on a quarterly basis to provide a casual atmosphere for responders to discuss incident management, build relationships, and overcome challenges. All incident management strategies are integrated into the DVRPC planning process including: the long range plan, the Transportation Operations Master Plan, and the Federally-mandated Congestion Management Process.
Data Collection and Management
When an incident occurs, the NJDOT CDU is alerted by the police department. The dispatchers then create an incident log, alert the TOC, and dispatch SSP if assistance is needed. The TOC operators then take over control of the incident log, following up with the police and dispatching additional crews as necessary. The TOC operators collect data for every incident from the time NJDOT is notified of the incident until it is fully cleared. All data is entered into OpenReach, NJDOT’s primary traffic management and data entry software. This system is used regionally by all partner agencies, and it seamlessly transfers the data to NJDOT’s 511 systems. The data that TOC operators log in OpenReach includes incident type, facility, direction, mile post, duration, lane closures, and user actions.
DVRPC also integrates data from both Pennsylvania and New Jersey into a Regional Integrated Multimodal Information Sharing (RIMIS) platform so that analyses can be conducted for the entire region. Both states have access to the RIMIS application, thus they are able to see what the other state is doing and identify potential improvements. This application also integrates data from a variety of other sources, including probes, tag readers, 911 public safety answering points (PSAPs), cameras, maintenance crews, and law enforcement.
Performance Analysis and Reporting
NJDOT uses incident information from the STMC and TOC to produce monthly reports on the incident management program. The monthly reports document statistics and trends on the following performance measures:
- Number of incidents (total and by type)
- Average incident duration
- Number of incidents with incident duration ≥ 90 minutes
- Number of incidents with incident duration ≤ 90 minutes
- Total number of incidents on freeways
- Total number of incidents on arterials
- Incident involving fatalities
- Incident involving IMRT response
- Number of SSP stops
- Emergency calls to CDU
- Total number of 511 calls, per day, per hour
- Number of 511 visits by page title (traffic map, incidents and congestion, traffic cameras, scheduled construction, etc.)
The reports provide a range of aggregate performance measures, including monthly and yearly trends in average ICTs, as shown in Figure 1. The reports also provide more disaggregate trend analyses by presenting average ICTs by major highway, as shown in Table 1. The monthly and yearly trends are represented through the use of colored arrows. The reports also provide the average duration and year-to-date average duration for incidents by major highway.
Figure 1. Trends in Average Incident Clearance Times, May 2013.
Table 1. Trends in Average Incident Clearance Times by Roadway
NJDOT uses the RIMIS platform to track the number of incidents and incident durations along certain corridors and uses these data to develop tactical approaches for improvement. In addition, NJDOT participates in meetings with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to present the results of their TIM performance measurement efforts.
Benefits of TIM Performance Measurement
NJDOT shares its performance measures with the state police, the transportation commissioner and staff, as well as the public via presentations, the Governor’s dashboard, and FHWA. Incident duration has decreased throughout the life of NJDOT’s TIM program. Showing these performance trends, among other details in the performance reports, has allowed NJDOT to prove the benefits of the program to FHWA.
 New Jersey Department of Transportation Statewide Traffic Operations, Traffic Operations Monthly Report, May 2013.