Intelligent Transportation Systems

Best of Public Safety and Emergency Transportation Operations

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) initiated the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Public Safety Program in 2000 to increase transportation safety and mobility through new and dynamic partnerships linking the transportation and public safety communities – including law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical service (EMS) providers, emergency managers, and emergency communications providers – at the Federal, State, regional, local, and tribal levels. To achieve these goals, the ITS Public Safety Program has been a collaborative effort among the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Through these partnerships, the program has developed and demonstrated innovative procedures and technologies for more coordinated public safety and transportation operations.

A focal point of these joint efforts was the Emergency Transportation Operations (ETO) Initiative. The ETO Initiative was launched in 2004 to improve the speed and effectiveness of response and management of major incidents. The ETO Initiative concentrated on providing the tools, procedures, and information that can be used to actively manage and, therefore, expedite the safe progress of an evacuation. The collective efforts of the ITS Public Safety Program and the ETO Initiative encompassed the following functional areas:

  • Public Access to Emergency Services – Opportunities to reduce deaths and injuries from emergencies exist through better communications technologies.
  • Enhanced Information Sharing – Public safety can be improved when information is shared across organizations and jurisdictions.
  • Evacuation Management and Operations – New tools and processes help agencies plan for and manage evacuations.
  • Transportation Operations During Biohazard Situations – Comprehensive and actionable understanding of the role of transportation during a biohazard situation allows communities to better plan for, respond to, and recover from such situations.
  • Preparedness and Response – To safely, efficiently, and effectively manage incidents and emergencies, a wide range of activities, programs, and systems are required to be developed and implemented prior to the event.
  • Planned Special Events – Local agencies are implementing new approaches to plan, coordinate, and manage traffic, thereby advancing the current practice of planned special events.

For copies of this CD, please email and include contact information (name, address etc) and number of copies requested.

For additional information on the projects detailed on this disc, please contact:

Linda D. Dodge
ITS Public Safety Program Coordinator
ITS Joint Program Office
(202) 366-8034

Kimberly Vasconez
Emergency Transportation Operations Team Leader
FHWA Office of Transportation Operations
(202) 366-1548

Laurie Flaherty
Program Analyst, National 9-1-1 Office
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(202) 366-2705

For new information on tools and publications, please visit the following USDOT websites:

Logo of U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Collage of photographs includes (left to right, top to bottom) dynamic message sign, police officer using car radio, fire truck, crossing guard holding stop sign, and snowplow and truck on winter road, damaged car and an ambulance at scene of accident on highway, helicopter flying in smoke-filled sky above traffic lights, traffic management center, rear view of four lanes of traffic with smoke-filled sky in right background, and satellite image of hurricane.

April 2008

Photos courtesy of iStockphoto and FEMA Photo Library.