ADOT: Pilot safety program produces dramatic results

Graphic submitted by Arizona Department of Transportation.

The time it takes to clear freeway crashes has been reduced by more than an hour, saving lives, time, and money, transportation officials say.

The positive news follows an analysis of a three-year pilot program funded by the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Arizona Department of Transportation. The program places Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers inside the ADOT Traffic Operations Center, according to a press release.

The move to co-locate troopers at the TOC allows AZDPS to monitor traffic incidents through nearly 300 ADOT cameras. When a crash occurs, the highly trained troopers can immediately begin incident management procedures to include directing units in the field to the scene quickly, determining what types of medical and rescue response are needed, and what class of tow truck or other resources are required to clear the scene quickly.

The faster responders can clear the initial crash, the lower the risk of secondary crashes, the press release stated.

The three-year pilot project to improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion was launched in October 2014, the result of a collaborative effort among ADOT, AZDPS, MAG, and the Federal Highway Administration.

AZDPS Director Frank Milstead says preventing secondary crashes is especially important, because those secondary collisions are often more serious than the initial incident.

“We believe this program, along with other efforts by our Highway Patrol Division, has resulted in safer highways for the traveling public, and for the troopers and first responders who arrive on the scene,” Mr. Milstead said in a prepared statement.

“Not only have roadway clearance times improved, but the incident clearance times — when troopers have completed their investigation and left the scene — have also improved by more than an hour. That means our troopers are back on their way more quickly and ready to respond to the next incident.”

MAG estimates that the region has saved $336 million in potential lost productivity over the three years of the pilot project.

“The results show this has been one of the best proven investments by MAG and ADOT for improving public safety and freeway traffic operations,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski in a prepared statement. “Due to the success of this pilot project, ADOT has permanently funded placing AZDPS troopers at the TOC, and expanded service coverage to include the entire state on a 24/7 basis.”

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 24,000 homes.

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