The NCSL Blog


By Ben Husch

Traffic incident management, or TIM, isn’t the most common of transportation safety terms, but it’s gaining acceptance as an important part of an efficiently functioning transportation system.

Senator Dave Marsden (D-Va.)So what exactly is TIM? It is a planned and coordinated program process to detect, respond to, and remove traffic incidents and restore traffic capacity as safely and quickly as possible.

This coordinated process involves a number of public and private sector partners, including law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, towing and recovery, hazardous materials contractors, traffic information media and others.

Highlighting TIM’s growing importance, the U.S. Department of Transportation held its third annual Senior Executive Transportation and Public Safety Summit (TPSS), featuring a prime-time session on TIM.

Representing NCSL at TPSS was Senator Dave Marsden (D-Va.), a member of NCSL’s Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee. He was joined by Peter Voderberg from the office of Governor Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), representing the National Governors Association, and Councilmember Sean Polster of Warrenton, Va., representing the National League of Cities.

Marsden spoke about how the Virginia Department of Transportation is addressing TIM. Traffic incidents are a key cause of delay in Virginia, responsible for 51% of delays on I-81. He also discussed the technologies and processes that the department uses, including 1,200 traffic cameras and five operations centers.

Marsden also spoke about his recent bill, SB 1073, which institutes new rules when shoulders have been temporarily eliminated on certain roadways. It allows drivers involved in fender benders to proceed to the next pull-off area, including an exit ramp, allowing traffic on the roadway to continue.

View Marsden's presentation.

Ben Husch is federal affairs counsel in NCSL’s Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.