Partnerships for Traffic Incident Management and Emergency Management

Metro Detroit has deployed technologies on freeways and arterial streets to facilitate safe, quick clearance of traffic incidents.  There are more than 250 closed circuit television cameras on Metro Detroit freeways and there are additional cameras on arterial streets in Macomb County, Oakland County, and the City of Detroit.  There are also dynamic message signs on the Detroit freeways to provide information to help travelers navigate around traffic incidents and construction projects that reduce roadway capacity.  The Michigan State Police Regional dispatch is co-located with the Michigan Department of Transportation Operations Center and the cameras help the dispatchers to send the proper resources to clear a traffic incident safely and quickly.

Fire service is one of the important partners in traffic incident management.  It is a vital partner because the State of Michigan has no fire trucks.  Fire service responders usually have incident command training which helps with traffic incidents but also introduces the awareness of emergency management.  The partners responding to major traffic incidents are the same partners needed to respond to an emergency or a disaster.  Emergency management training gives first priority to clearing the roads leading to hospitals.

The annual Partnering Workshop for Traffic Incident Management and Emergency Management in Metro Detroit for 2019 included and Emergency Incident Management Interface Exercise supervised by Oakland County Emergency Management with assistance from  the National Weather Service. The exercise assumed there was a sudden intense period of heavy snowfall accompanied by gusty surface winds resulting in a whiteout condition.  The weather condition results in a traffic crash incident involving 45 vehicles including 10 semi-trucks and one tanker truck.  There are several reported entrapments, a vehicle fire, and a possible hazardous material leak.  This is a mass casualty incident.  Participants were asked to identify all agencies, organizations, officials and resources involved in managing and monitoring this type of incident.

Transportation officials are recognizing that partnerships with other disciplines are vital for both traffic incident management and emergency. management.