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.)