Within these pages, readers can access information regarding the sharing, integration, and management of data to support TIM program performance measurement and management. 

TIM is a planned and coordinated process involving public and private sector partners. This includes law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, transportation, towing and recovery, and others, who detect, respond to, and remove traffic incidents and restore traffic capacity as safely and quickly as possible. 

There are a number of benefits to measuring and monitoring the performance of TIM programs. Performance measurement/management can demonstrate program accountability, process efficiency, and improvements over time. It can lead to improved communications and can support future planning and funding for TIM programs. The FHWA Focus State Initiative (FSI), conducted from 2005 to 2007, was the first multi-state effort to define TIM performance using three core performance measures: 1

  • Roadway clearance time (RCT) – the time between the first recordable awareness of an incident (detection/notification/verification) by a responsible agency and first confirmation that all lanes are available for traffic flow.
  • Incident clearance time (ICT) – the time between the first recordable awareness and the time at which the last responder has left the scene.
  • Secondary crash – beginning at the time of detection of the primary incident where a collision occurs either a) within the incident scene or b) within the queue, including the opposite direction, resulting from the original incident.  

FHWA has sponsored additional work towards the institutionalization of the collection and use of these TIM performances nationally, including webinars, multi-state workshops, outreach materials, and a document outlining a process for establishing, implementing, and institutionalizing a TIM performance measurement program. 2

TIM Performance Measurement Challenges

To measure and report on TIM performance, data need to be collected and analyzed. Traditionally, transportation agencies have relied almost solely on their own data to monitor TIM performance, if at all. However, a transportation agency’s view of traffic incidents is often limited to specific routes, within urban areas, and specific times of the day. Incidents occur on many different types of routes statewide – both urban and rural – at all times of the day and night, and transportation agencies are usually not the first responding agency to many incidents.

08-119 Research Products:

Guide to Improving the Sharing, Quality, and Management of Data to Support Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Use Cases

Crowdsourcing is the practice of addressing a need or problem by using technologies to enlist the services of many people. In the context of transportation, travelers generate crowdsourced data both passively and actively (e.g., using mobile navigation apps). Crowdsourcing can offer low-cost, high-quality operations data (e.g., traffic speeds, slowdowns, events, crashes) and improved situational awareness without the need for costly traffic monitoring technologies. This guide provides a practical understanding of how state and local transportation agencies can access and use the Waze for Cities data.

Additional Resources:

EDC-6 Next-Generation TIM: Integrating Technology, Data, and Training

Traffic Incident Management (TIM) programs aim to shorten the duration and impact of roadway incidents and improve the safety of motorists, crash victims, and responders. New tools, data, and training mechanisms are available that can benefit both new and existing TIM programs, including local agency and off-interstate applications.

NHTSA, Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria – 5th Edition. (2017)

To encourage greater uniformity, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) cooperatively developed a voluntary data collection guideline in 1998. The MMUCC guideline identifies a minimum set of motor vehicle crash data elements and their attributes that States should consider collecting and including in their State crash data system.

  • 1Owens, N., Armstrong, A., Mitchell, C., & Brewster, R. (2009). Federal Highway Administration Traffic Incident Management Performance Measures Final Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved June 4, 2020, from https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop10010/fhwahop10010.pdf
  • 2Pecheux, K. (2015). Process for Establishing, Implementing, and Institutionalizing a Traffic Incident Management Performance Measures Program. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved June 4, 2020.