FOLLOWUP: SDOT says it’s making post-critique progress on traffic-incident management

That slide deck shown to the City Council’s Transportation Committee today shows the progress SDOT says it’s making after the critique that basically said the city had no coherent plan for Traffic Incident Management (TIM) – the overall science of having policies in place so crashes, stalls, and other backup-inducing problems can be cleared as quickly as possible.

The critique by a consulting firm was presented to the media two weeks ago – we went to the briefing downtown; our subsequent story includes video as well as the consultants’ full report. SDOT director Scott Kubly told councilmembers today that nine of the nearly 70 recommendations have already been implemented. A few that stood out have to do with management accountability – for one, he spoke of having a “duty officer” assigned at all times, someone from SDOT management who is on call to be point person in case of a serious traffic incident, no matter when it happens. This job is rotating between SDOT managers, one week at a time. He also said SDOT is hiring an urban-traffic-corridors expert from WSDOT, Mark Bandy, to lead the department’s newly stepped-up “day-to-day transportation focus.”

In the big picture, the long list of recommendations is being worked on with the goal of a January update on what more will be done and when. But in the short term, the city says, it’s already proceeding with the new priority of getting traffic moving again in case of an incident instead of focusing on preserving property.

(Side note: Anecdotally, we’ve noticed this in a variety of ways in the West Seattle traffic incidents we’ve monitored/covered in recent weeks – including more-urgent radio discussion of what needs to be done to clear the road and how soon it’ll happen, and SPD’s automated tweetstream now including far more traffic-collision information than before.)

4 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: SDOT says it's making post-critique progress on traffic-incident management"

  • JeffK August 13, 2015 (1:58 pm)

    So….common sense then.

  • Leslie August 13, 2015 (7:47 pm)

    Just curious if the city monitored how WSDOT handled the overturned semi this morning. Although the event took place at one of the worst possible spots and at the start of morning rush hour they were able to get the road open in approx 3 hours. And that included unloading the overturned truck and reloading the boxes into another. I hope the city had someone on hand to watch how it should be done.

  • dsa August 13, 2015 (11:53 pm)

    BTW, WSDOT has an incident response *team*.

  • Kennedy August 15, 2015 (11:47 pm)

    The WSDOT Incident response team are amazing and awesome!! I had a flat at the top pass and pulled over on the side of the road. They rolled up in under 5 minutes without me even calling. The friendly lady changed my tire for me using my spare and had me on my way in under ten minutes. All free paid for by my our taxes. I commute a lot to the East side of the state so knowing they are there makes me feel a lot safer.

    City of Seattle could learn a lot from them. Sort of sad in 2015 we can’t keep traffic moving due to non life threatening accidents.

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