A core mission of the Eastern Transportation Coalition, since its inception, has been cross-border/multi-jurisdictional response coordination for major traffic incidents. This program activity remains a high priority, and encompasses major transportation system impacts caused by any significant event, including those caused by severe weather.
As part of this program, the Coalition conducted a Super Storm Sandy After Action Review. This late-2012 storm caused substantial devastation across a 17-state region, with over 100 storm-related deaths, power loss to over eight million people, and estimates of property damage in the tens of billions of dollars. One of the functional areas of impact of Hurricane Sandy was the need to transport oversize and overweight vehicles through the affected region. Transport was needed to secure equipment and job sites in the path of Sandy, to bring relief equipment and supplies to damaged areas, and to clear damage and debris from affected areas.
Download the NASTO / I-95 Corridor Coalition Hurricane Sandy After Action Review (AAR) Final Report
The Coalition has also conducted a corridor-wide survey of Bridge-Highway Closure Policies, including recommended actions which the Coalition is currently pursuing. Recent experiences, including those encountered by transportation agencies during SuperStorm Sandy and other major weather-related events, have had a widespread geographical impact along the I-95 Corridor. Coalition Leadership requested that the Coalition conduct a Significant Weather-Related Events Response Project to determine issues to be addressed as well as the Coalition’s prospective coordinative role as an information facilitator during emergency response. Part of the initial project effort was conducting a brief survey of the Coalition Members seeking information about agency policies and practices pertaining to bridge-highway closures during significant weather events.
Highway-Bridge Closure Policies Final Report
Recognizing the need for situational information coordination between states during significant events, the Eastern Transportation Coalition also conducted a project for the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials (NASTO). The NASTO Significant Weather‐Related Events Operational Response Information Coordination Regional Communication Program defines a significant weather‐related events information exchange group and regional communications program for activation during an event. Information was obtained from the NASTO States, and reviewed by the NASTO Oversight Committee, using a variety of mechanisms including surveys, telephone interviews, and meetings, along with the application of in‐house expertise. Detailed contact protocols for each NASTO State are provided, including who is to call whom and under what circumstances. While developing this information, many improved processes have been implemented.
Executive Summary: NASTO – Weather-Related and Other Significant Events Operational Response Information Coordination Regional Communication Program
The Eastern Transportation Coalition worked with seven New England Regional Area States – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and eastern New York – to hold a Meteorological Winter Operations Regional Conference on September 24, 2014 in Boston. The conference goal was to determine a path to better storm management and information coordination in the New England Regional Area, and brought together the seven states’ Agency Traffic Operations/Traveler Information and Maintenance personnel responsible for operations during winter meteorological events. Explored during the sessions were current sources of winter weather information, who-when-what is currently communicated among these neighboring states and how this information is used, communicating with the general traveling public including commercial vehicle operators, and a snapshot of future technologies and systems which are emerging. The conference outcomes will now help the states set priorities regarding mutually agreed upon approaches for operations and communications in the coming winter months and beyond, and the group will continue to meet bi-annually as part of a larger and continuing coordination effort.
The Eastern Transportation Coalition is developing a corridor-wide Significant Events Collaborative Decision Tool which will be available in 2015. This tool will be internet accessible to all Coalition Member States to assist in regional multi-state communications supporting operational decision making. It enables state and local agencies to better coordinate their response to weather-related and other significant events causes; provides web-based tools to share a real-time view of traffic data, weather data (predictions and real-time radar), evacuation documents, incident, event, VMS/DMS postings, and road closure data; and enables Agencies to use these tools to collaborate with one another, share regional status, poll agencies on recommended actions, and document action items to then distribute to other agencies or managers as needed.
Additional Significant Events Program activities have included workshops for the New England Region where the Eastern Transportation Coalition worked with seven New England Regional Area States – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and eastern New York – to hold a Meteorological Winter Operations Regional Conference in Boston. The conference goal was to determine a path to better storm management and information coordination in the New England Regional Area, and brought together the seven states’ Agency Traffic Operations/Traveler Information and Maintenance personnel responsible for operations during winter meteorological events. Explored during the sessions were current sources of winter weather information, who‐when‐what is currently communicated among these neighboring states and how this information is used, communicating with the general traveling public including commercial vehicle operators, and a snapshot of future technologies and systems which are emerging. The conference outcomes will now help the states set priorities regarding mutually agreed upon approaches for operations and communications in coming winter months and beyond, and the group will continue to meet bi‐annually with support from the Coalition as part of a larger and continuing coordination effort. For more information, contact Coalition Staff.
The Eastern Transportation Coalition also conducted a winter weather workshop for Southern States in the Corridor in 2014 in North Carolina, emphasizing the current winter weather practices in states that do not frequently experience severe winter weather. Several Mid-Atlantic States and Tennessee also participated for information exchange and to identify coordination needs for adjoining borders and longer distance travelers. The Coalition will continue to gather information on reporting frequency, roadway conditions, and granularity of data collected by agencies to assess current consistency and identify further opportunities for coordination to enhance operations management and travel information. For more information, contact Coalition Staff.
With recent major weather occurrences, preparing for and responding to significant events has become a timely topic – especially as it pertains to multi-jurisdictional coordination. To help arm public agencies and the private sector with tools and plans to best manage significant events, the Eastern Transportation Coalition held a conference on May 12-13, 2015 in Linthicum, Maryland (near BWI Airport).
Panel 1: “Significant Events Response – A Roadmap for All Levels and Disciplines”
“The Multi-Level Approach,” Denise Markow, Administrator, Bureau of Transportation Systems Management and Operations, New Hampshire DOT
“Aggressively Making the Call – to Travel or Not to Travel,” John Hibbard, Operations Division Director, Georgia DOT
“Multidisciplinary‐Multi‐Agency Impacts and Coordination,” Meredith McDiarmid, State Systems Operations Engineer, North Carolina DOT
Panel 2: “How to Do Business When it’s Not Business as Usual”
“Coordinating Traffic Incident Management Response & Responders,” Jennifer Portanova, State Systems Engineer, North Carolina DOT
“The September 2015 World Family and Papal Visit,” Rich Montanez, Chief Traffic and Street Lighting Engineer, City of Philadelphia
“Responding to Forecasted Significant Events – The Boston Blizzard,” Scott Wilson, Director of Roadway Operations, Highway Division, Massachusetts DOT
Panel 3: “Event Response – Tools You Can Use at Your Agency”
“I‐95 Corridor Coalition Regional Integrated Transportation Information System and Collaborative Decision Tool,” Michael Pack, I‐95 Corridor Coalition/Director, University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technology
“Truck‐Mounted, Remote‐Controlled Video Cameras for Significant Events,” Rick Dye, Statewide Systems Administrator‐CHART, Maryland State Highway Administration
“A Snapshot of New York State DOT’s Emergency Response Tools,“ Christine Klein, Regional Emergency Manager, New York State DOT
“New Hampshire‐Maine‐Vermont Integrated RWIS Web Application Using Existing Sensors,” Denise Markow, Administrator, Bureau of Transportation Systems Management and Operations. New Hampshire DOT
“Real Time Weather Information Systems – The Pros and Cons,” Ralph Patterson, Chief Meteorologist – Utah DOT, Ret./Adjunct Professor, University of Utah
Panel 4: “A Roadmap for Implementation ‐‐ Some Examples of Best Practices”
“Transportation Planning and Operations for the Inauguration of the President of the United States,” Soumya S. Dey, Director of Research and Technology Transfer, Washington D.C. DOT
“Response and Traffic Management in Two Closely Located Major Cities – Baltimore and Washington, D.C.,” Bud Frank, Director of Homeland Security, Emergency Management, and Rail Safety, Maryland DOT
“Northern Virginia Evacuation Traffic Control Plan,” Capt. James E. De Ford, Sr., Division VII Commander, Virginia State Police
“Bridging the Gap: Freight, Infrastructure, and TIM,” Lt. John C. McMahon, Jr., Station Commander, Burlington Station Marine Services, New Jersey State Police
“Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) – The State DOT Perspective,” John Scrivani, Assistant Division Administrator, Virginia DOT‐Operations Division