Detroit Regional Transportation Operations – April 2016


Date: April 15, 2016

Time: 9:00 AM

Meeting Held: Southeast Michigan Transportation Operations Center (SEMTOC), Detroit, Michigan

Freeway Operations

Walter Ison from AECOM at SEMTOC reported on freeway operations activities. Freeway Courtesy Patrol Guidelines have been updated to include the impacts of new state laws on move over and hold harmless. MDOT Freeway Operations has been experimenting with the use of dynamic message signs to inform motorists of wrong way drivers.  The wrong way drivers will be identified through instrumentation on exit ramps. The presence is confirmed with camera views, and the appropriate messages is posted on dynamic message signs.  There has been some early success with 22 events.

The integrated corridor management system in Macomb County was tested with an April 4 event on I-696, A lane blockage on I-696 was detected on I-696, and traffic was directed to exit and use an adjacent arterial street. The dynamic message sign was used to direct motorists to exit after the traffic signal timing had been changed to accommodate additional traffic parallel to the freeway and trail blazer signs along the arterial street had been activated.

The Freeway Operations Committee will be developing guidelines for clearing abandoned vehicles. Currently, Freeway Courtesy Patrols have a limited role in identifying abandoned vehicles to be removed and identifying the Michigan State Police so that tows can be initiated.

TIM Workshop Lessons Learned

Chris Williams from SEMCOG began a discussion of the lessons learned from the March 14 Partnering Workshop at Comerica Park. Participants noted that many tables had vacancies.  More networking was needed.  Not enough time was allowed for participants to introduce themselves Future workshops should consider a keynote speaker at the end of the program.

The City of Detroit Homeland Security hosted the incident management workshop. Topics for this workshop included the citywide evacuation plan presented by Walter Davis and the traffic operations plan for the entertainment complex surrounding the new hockey arena presented by Rick Fenton. The operations of the Macomb County Traffic Operations Center and Emergency Management and the role of the medical examiner in quick clearance were also be discussed.  A panel discussion of HAZMAT response included representatives from Troy Fire Department, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Terra Contracting.  MDOT Region Engineer Tony Kratofil provided a presentation on Metro Detroit Regional Transportation Operations and Innovations.

The Michigan Department of Transportation provided a photographer for the event.   We planned for 150 attendees and served 140   Belinda Beard prepared name tags and table assignments on behalf of ITS Michigan.  Donna Northern from the City Detroit assisted her with registration.  This event was accompanied by an afternoon traffic incident management responder training session from 1 pm to 5 pm.  This second event served 19 attendees.

Other observations on the workshop program:

  • More interaction among attendees should have been programmed.
  • Presentations were fine.
  • More structured networking should have been provided.
  • The vertical support in the club obscured the vision of visual aids for some in the audience.
  • The food was phenomenal
  • Attendees in the room should have been introduced in some way.
  • The Medical Examiner gave some find examples to illustrate his points and we wanted more.
  • The Quick Clearance of HAZMAT panel needed more examples to focus the discussion;
  • The 45 minutes allowed for some presentations was too long.
  • Networking breaks should have been programmed for 20 minutes.
  • To encourage more interaction, some table oriented activity should be organized.
  • It was difficult for speakers to gain audience attention during lunch.
  • A graphic showing how all the presentations related to each other would have been helpful.

Suggestions for a 2017 workshop were as follows:

  • Chose a specific Hazmat incident to discuss and highlight the roles of the different responders
  • Tell the story of an incident
  • Include EMS in the program
  • Discuss how to handle the personal emotions of responders
  • Consider outlining a response involving a helicopter evacuation
  • Include a John Corbin discussion of National Unified Goals
  • Discuss response to wrong way drivers
  • Show a speaker photo with bulleted bio before each presentation
  • Consider the Suburban Showplace as a workshop venue


Review of TIM Self-Assessment Comments and Recommended Blueprint for Action

Christopher Williams from SEMCOG reviewed the results of the Traffic Incident Management Self-Assessment Tool completed by the region in the summer of 2015. He noted that Southeast Michigan had an overall score of 67%, but 14 of the total questions/criteria earned a score of 2 or fewer (out of a possible 4) on the 2015 Traffic Incident Management Self-Assessment.

To develop a new program that adopts new goals, objectives, and an action plan we could develop a new task force. Another option would be to build upon the existing committee structure. This committee structure was an outgrowth of the Regional Concept of Transportation Operations.  Of particular interest in addressing lower scores identified by the 2015 Self-Assessment and the Capability Maturity Model was an upgrade to arterial traffic management.

The committee concluded that a good first step along this path would be to start responding to the Self-Assessment Questions for 2016. The Federal Highway Administration has advised Angie Kremer that the 2016 questions will be nearly identical to the 2015 question.

Statewide Traffic Incident Management Report

Angie Kremer from MDOT reported that statewide traffic incident management Training for Traffic Incident Management continues. In Michigan 3674 trainers have been trained in 181 sessions.  Public handouts on Traffic Incident Management are available on the M-Time website.

The TIM Action Team has posted 2015 accomplishments on the website. The Michigan Highway Safety Plan for the period 2016-2018 is being updated.  The next meeting of the TIM Action will be held in June in Grand Rapids.

The Traffic Safety Summit hosted in Lansing went well   There were two traffic incident management breakout sessions.  One dealt with winter weather, and the second was a town hall meeting.  This is Work Zone Awareness Week in Michigan.

MDOT has awarded a traffic incident management research project to survey Michigan driver’s knowledge of safe, quick clearance laws; assess the current TIM program; develop next steps for the program; develop a toolkit for safe, quick clearance outreach and high visibility garments; and develop a list of investments to enhance safe, quick clearance.

Next Meeting

The next meeting for the Southeast Michigan Regional Transportations Operations Coordinating Committee is will be July 15, 2016 at the Southeast Michigan Transportation Operations Center.

Respectfully submitted,


Richard F. Beaubien, P.E., PTOE