Congestion … funding … congestion … funding

Debate in the US has focussed on the need to find considerable additional funding to meet the needs for a congested transport system.

The National Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission, set up by the Federal Government,  published their report Transportation for Tomorrow on 15 January 2008.

Interestingly the Commission of 12 ended up with three different views: the report, supplementary views and a minority report. So it appears that there is no easy, clear answer, even fora Commission specially set to answer the questions raised.

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Virtual Incident Management Training

The University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory (CATT Lab) is working with the I-95 Corridor Coalition to create virtual incident management training software program.

An intensive training program is being developed that will use three-dimensional, multi-player computer gaming simulation technology and distance-based learning technologies to test, validate, certify, and reinforce the dissemination of best incident management practices.

The program will present typical incident situations and allow the participants to play out their normal roles in what is essentially a highly structured and recorded video game.

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Benchmarking Traffic Incident Management in Australia

To identify potential innovative practices that may be suitable for wider application, as well as provide a benchmark for ongoing improvement, a review of current traffic incident management (TIM) practices in major urban regions across Australia was undertaken in 2005-6. The review covered current traffic incident management practices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

The assessment, modelled on the self-assessment approach taken by the US Federal Highways Administration approach, covered program and institutional issues (strategy and programs, resourcing, performance measurement, institutional arrangements), operational issues (procedures for major incidents, responder and motorist safety, response and clearance policies and procedures) and communication and technology issues (integrated inter-agency communications, transport management systems & traveller information).

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Dealing with Uncertainty in Travel Demand Forecasting

Sources of error

When forecasting for the medium to long term we need to be clear in acknowledging that we are dealing with an uncertain future. There are a number of factors which may contribute to errors and uncertainty in forecasts. Sources of uncertainty when forecasting travel demand include:

Demographic and socioeconomic input data: employment and population market segments; economic activity: impacts on drivers for freight and passenger demand.

Assumptions about physical networks (base year and future projects): observed counts may affect model calibration and validation; road and public transport network assumptions.

Values of travel time (VTT): strategic transport models use an imputed VTT for each main trip purpose. VTT are usually estimated from the coefficients of mode choice models.

Time of day effects: factors are usually used for different time periods, (peak, daily, weekly, monthly, and annually), based on historical data. Such factors will not deal with peak spreading or mixes in the traffic composition. Methods to model time-of-day choice explicitly are beginning be implemented in practice.

Optimism bias: Use should be made of strategic transport models to investigate the impact of proponent optimism bias on overall results. Patronage optimism bias should be examined using sensitivity testing.

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Traffic Incident Response Practices in Europe

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration released a report that includes recommendations to improve traffic incident response in the United States.

The recommendations are based on an April 2005 scanning tour on traffic incident response practices, procedures, and technologies of England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden that assessed and evaluated various practices for responding to traffic incidents.

The recommendations are organised under the three primary themes of programs and institutions, tactical and on-scene management, and communications and technology.

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Best Practices for Traffic Incident Management in Florida

Florida Department of Transportation released a report in 2005 that examines traffic incident management programs, procedures, and techniques from throughout the US and within Florida; summarises lessons learned and best practices; identifies suitable performance measures for incident management programs; and recommends overall program improvements for application in Florida. The report documents the best practices currently … Read more

Quick Clearance Toolkit Website

The I-95 Corridor Coalition has developed a Quick Clearance Toolkit website that includes links to material and videos designed to help jurisdictions initiate or improve quick clearance programs. The material includes a roadmap for developing a traffic incident management program designed to help provide policy makers and practitioners in traffic incident management with ready-to-use tools … Read more

Tabletop Exercise Instructions for Planned Events and Emergencies

The US Federal Highway Administration has released a guide designed to help in conducting tabletop exercises to test the effectiveness of transportation management plans associated with planned special events. The guide may also be helpful in the management of unplanned incidents including traffic incidents and responses to emergencies.

When planned special events are held, they generally increase traffic demands in or near the location of the event. In order to address this influx of traffic, transportation management plans are developed with the intent of minimising the effect the event has on the transportation system.

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US Report identifies travel demand modelling shortcomings

The US Transportation Research Board has recently conducted a major study into the state-of-practice of travel demand forecasting theory and application in that country.

TRB Special Report 288, Metropolitan Travel Forecasting: Current Practice and Future Direction, examines metropolitan travel forecasting models that provide public officials with information to inform decisions on major transportation system investments and policies.

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Traffic Incident Management: Best Practice

The Austroads Improving Traffic Incident Management project involves a review of traffic incident management in major urban regions across Australia and New Zealand. The fifth and final report released in July 2007 provides a brief overview of all aspects of traffic incident management, including planning, institutional issues, evaluation and performance review and capability development, as … Read more