City of Detroit Hosts Traffic Incident Management Workshop at Comerica Park

March 14, 2016- 140 participants gathered at the at Comerica Park Tiger Club in downtown Detroit to learn about safe, quick clearance of traffic incidents. The event was hosted by the City of Detroit Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Ilitch Holdings. The program included topics on first responder training, arterial traffic management, Detroit’s new entertainment center (The District Detroit), Detroit’s newly adopted Evacuation Plan, a medical examiner perspective on coordination for quick clearance, addressing hazardous materials, and regional transportation operations partnerships and innovations. Participants came from Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw Counties and they represented transportation planning and engineering, law enforcement, fire, tow service, and emergency management disciplines.

Governmental agencies represented included Cities of Detroit, Warren, St Clair Shores, Highland Park, Roseville, Troy. Farmington Hills, and Livonia. Townships represented included Van Buren, Hamburg. Northville, Bloomfield, and Clinton. State agencies represented included Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Michigan State Police.   Federal agencies included U. S. Coast Guard and FBI. Local transportation agencies included Washtenaw County Road Commission, Macomb County Roads, Detroit Windsor Tunnel, and Detroit Transit Corporation,

The private partners attending the workshop included Detroit Lions, Warrendale Warriors, Atkins, B&T Towing, WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff, Beaubien Engineering, Rock Ventures, Integral Blue, Carrier& Gable, Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan, Detroit Tigers, Ilitch Holdings, Kimley-Horn, Detroit Athletic Club, AECOM, Emergency Road Response, HDR, and Terra Contracting.

The success of the workshop can be measured not just by the number and diversity of the participants, but by the relationships developed between and among the participants. Effective traffic incident management is about relationships – knowing who to call when you need help with incident response. The development of the community on that day could be measured by the number of handshakes and hugs.

The 2016 workshop brought some new partners to the stage. This workshop featured Homeland Security, Emergency Management, and the Medical Examiner. The Detroit Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management played a major role in organizing the workshop and brought Deputy Mayor Isaiah McKinnon to the stage to welcome the participants. Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa Dragovich explained his legal responsibilities and how he works police and other responders on timely joint investigations.

The presenters included Detroit Deputy Mayor Isaiah McKinnon, Angie Kremer from the Michigan Department of Transportation, John Abraham and Laura Peoples from Macomb County, Rich Fenton from Ilitch Holdings, Mike McNally from Olympia Entertainment, Walter Davis and Hilton Kincaid from Detroit Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa Dragovich, Paul Firth from City of Troy Fire Service, Glenn Szucs from Terra Contracting, Joe DeGrazia from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Region Engineer Tony Kratofil from the Michigan Department of Transportation, Mark Jackson from the Detroit Fire Department, Mike Gorman from the Michigan Department of Transportation, and Matt Bancroft from B&T Towing Service.


Rick Fenton, Ilitch Holdings Corporate Security Director, explained the planning, construction, and operation of the new entertainment district. Ilitch Holdings was the host for the event at the Tiger Club. Lowering the bowl of the arena below ground level was one of the elements of the security planning for the facility. Arrivals to departures from the area are widely dispersed.

Project Manager Walt Davis from Detroit Homeland Security and Emergency Management described the evacuation plan for the City of Detroit. Evacuation of the city is planned by geographic zones.   Instead of using all freeway lanes for outbound routes, as has been done for locations in the southeast United States, Detroit has concluded that maintaining inbound lanes is important for efficient and effective evacuation because it serves the needs of first responders

Oakland County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. L. J. Dragovich noted that his legal responsibility is to determine the cause of death and the manner of death. He believes that collaboration is needed to develop complete information, so he has been working closely with first responders. He supports timely response, adequate documentation, and quick clearance of the scene. Law enforcement controls/maintains scene jurisdiction. The ME office controls custody of the body.

Angie Kremer (MDOT Traffic Incident Management Engineer) described the Michigan Transportation Incident Management Effort (Mi-TIME) The Action Team meets bi-monthly with multiple disciplines. A new field on crash reporting form will seek to capture secondary crashes. (10-25% of incidents).

  • Among first responders, 60 –72% are wearing high-visibility vests.
  • Another goal of the program is to increase public awareness of the “Steer it, clear it” law from 13% to 50%.
  • Michigan has 159 trained instructors for the Train the Trainer program for incident management, and 2995 first responders have been trained. All MSP personnel will be trained by August 2016. The program has been endorsed by the Michigan Firefighting Training Council.


John Abraham, Macomb County Director of Traffic and Operations and Communications Administrator Laura Peeples from the Macomb County Sheriff office described how they work together as a team to develop an effective response to traffic incidents in Macomb County. Macomb County is developing effective arterial traffic management through information and resources, ongoing collaboration, and integration of sheriff communication with the traffic operations center

Matt Bancroft (B&T Tow Service), Mark Jackson (Detroit Fire Dept.), and Mike Gorman (Michigan DOT) described how they work together to respond to freeway traffic incidents. Paul Firth (Troy Fire), Joe DeGrazia (MDEQ), and Glenn Szucs (Terra Consulting) discussed the hazardous materials that may be present at a traffic incident. Initial response, stabilization, and clean up are the stages to the response to a hazmat incident

MDOT Region Engineer Tony Kratofil reviewed the progress of traffic incident management and Regional Transportation Operations in Metro Detroit. Landmarks included closed circuit television, colocation with Michigan State Police, establishing a freeway courtesy patrol, abandoned vehicle clearance, interagency training, expanded interagency communications and data sharing, special event interagency coordination, routine post-incident reviews, quick clearance legislation, integrated corridor management, and user delay goals, Travel time reliability is being tracked. Future improvements are likely to include active traffic management, integrated corridor management, and connected vehicle applications. Priority actions for the future may include leveraging the arterial traffic management committee to fully implement integrated corridor management, expanding the use of performance measures to drive performance improvement, and improving relationships to strengthen capital and maintenance work zone coordination.