Managing incidents on urban arterial roadways

Richard A. Raub*, Joseph L Schofer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Limiting the impact on traffic of nonrecurring events such as crashes, traffic stops, or disabled vehicles through effective incident management should be one objective for emergency response professionals. Moreover, such management is an integral part of Intelligent Transportation Systems planning. The Arterial Incident Management Study, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation and conducted by Northwestern University, examined the impact and management of arterial street incidents to determine what steps could be taken to improve the handling of such events. Several approaches were used to accomplish this, including (a) analysis of incident data from police and fire agencies, (h) debriefings of responders about specific incidents. (c) observation and videotaping of incidents, and (d) an incident management simulation workshop involving police, fire, emergency medicine, tow operator, public works, insurance, and media professionals who have responsibilities for incident management. A series of incidents were simulated in a workshop and consensus was sought on specific and general management tactics. This paper describes study methods and summarizes the important issues and recommendations to improve incident management. Among the key needs identified are (a) response in a manner and with adequate resources to minimize the time an incident affects a scene, (b) rapid removal of vehicles and debris, (c) effective traffic control at and around the incident, (d) communication with motorists who may be affected by long-duration incidents, and (e) advanced, intra- and interagency planning for incident management. Recommended changes include education of drivers and professionals, legislation, communications, use of new technologies for communications and data collection, and advanced planning and coordination of on-site procedures, responsibilities, and priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1603
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Managing incidents on urban arterial roadways'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this