The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) has released a new report to help transportation systems develop and implement a “playbook” for addressing significant weather events.
The report offers key factors, best practices, lessons learned, and new technologies for event emergency management and response.
The association said in a news release that four separate snowstorms in Virginia, Kentucky, Texas, and Greece that left thousands of drivers stranded in their cars for hours in early 2022 should serve as a wake-up call for transportation operators to be prepared to address more frequent and severe weather conditions due to climate change. The storm in Virginia occurred in the first few days of the year and caused trucks to jackknife on I-95, leaving hundreds of drivers on the highway overnight.
“The industry has focused for several years on preparing and mitigating issues related to extreme weather events, not only snow, but also extreme flooding, wind, and other natural disasters,” Mark Muriello, Director of Policy and Government Affairs for IBTTA, said in a statement. "However, we are reaching a crossroads where the events are going to become more extreme, disruptive, and dangerous. A coordinated effort will be needed across many organizations to mitigate against the worst effects of climate change on our roadways and to protect the safety of travelers and emergency response personnel.”
Transportation operators have faced a growing expectation from motorists and government officials that the transportation system will function for emergency mobility purposes throughout a severe weather event and recover rapidly afterwards, the report says. In response, transportation operators are advancing organizational changes, new standards, and procedures, and substantive workforce development and training.
The report identifies critical success factors that operators should address to improve traffic management during significant weather events. The report also calls for a larger role for technology and data. IBTTA says transportation information systems are becoming more prevalent at regional levels, allowing integration and information sharing among a broad set of transportation operators, public safety organizations, incident responders, and government agencies at all levels.
SOURCE: International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association