Title: Highway traffic incident management: an operator-centred investigation

Authors: Vanessa Cattermole; Tim Horberry; Steven Cloete

Addresses: Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, Queensland 4072, Australia ' Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, Queensland 4072, Australia ' Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, Queensland 4072, Australia

Abstract: Effective traffic incident management is a fundamental factor in road safety and congestion control, decreasing the occurrence of secondary incidents at scenes and minimising the impact of resultant traffic congestion and emissions. Emergency and traffic officers working within traffic incident inner and outer cordons are highly trained; however, it is still a dangerous work environment and fatalities and injuries regularly occur. In 2007, the Australian Association of Road Transport and Traffic Authorities (Austroads) adapted the US Federal Highways Association traffic incident management self-assessment tool and tested it in five Australian capital cities. Results from the Austroads study indicated that the city of Brisbane had the lowest ranking for perceived safety of responders and motorists at traffic incidents. As such, the present study investigated issues with the physical environment of the outer cordon at traffic incidents in Brisbane and surrounding areas. Interviews with the operators involved in incident management highlighted issues regarding the safety of responders at traffic incidents, lighting and other warning devices at traffic incidents, and driver perceptions and behaviours. These findings were supported and extended by a survey of traffic response officers. As part of an ongoing programme of research, the benefits of taking an operator-centred approach and the subsequent research to be undertaken are discussed.

Keywords: traffic incident management; TIM; road safety; operator-centred approach; traffic response officers; traffic management; congestion control; self-assessment; Australia; road traffic incidents.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2013.057615

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2013 Vol.2 No.2/3, pp.159 - 174

Received: 10 Mar 2013
Accepted: 10 Jul 2013

Published online: 14 Nov 2013 *

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