Applying technology to improve safety not only saves lives, but also reduces costs associated with property damage, and avoids the congestion costs generated by primary and secondary incidents. Studies show that as much as two-thirds of all traffic congestion is due to primary and secondary accidents.
Northern Virginia’s Smart Travel Program improves safety through faster incident detection and notification, faster emergency response, and by developing coordination protocols and technology links among emergency responders.
Northern Virginia controllers monitor and evaluate interstate traffic flow, communicate information to the public and send assistance via the Safety Service Patrol when necessary. Recently, Northern Virginia tested Automated Vehicle Location equipment on Safety Patrol vehicles. This equipment allows dispatchers to know exactly where fleet vehicles are located, and helps manage their deployment more efficiently. Study data from these vehicles suggests Automated Vehicle Location helps reduce incident response time by routing the closest vehicle to a given incident.
By providing motorists with warnings about incidents through Variable Message Signs and recorded messages, the Traffic Operations Center can prevent vehicles from coming upon incidents unaware and at high speeds. The ability to quickly respond to an incident can keep it from escalating into a secondary one.
The Smart Travel Program provides tools and opportunities for transportation and public safety agencies to better integrate their on-scene incident response, clearance and recovery operations.