Incident management

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Incident management

Incident management is defined as the systematic, planned, and coordinated use of human, institutional, mechanical, and technical resources to reduce the duration and impact of incidents, and improve the safety of motorists, crash victims, and incident responders.

These resources are also used to increase the operating efficiency, safety, and mobility of the highway by systematically reducing the time to detect and verify an incident occurrence; implementing the appropriate response; and safely clearing the incident, while managing the affected flow until full capacity is restored [1].

Incident Management Activities

Incident management entails an identifiable series of activities, which may be carried out by personnel from a variety of response agencies and organizations. These include:

  • Detection: Incident detection is the process by which an incident is brought to the attention of the agency or agencies responsible for maintaining traffic flow and safe operations on the facility.
  • Verification: Incident verification entails confirming that an incident has occurred, determining its exact location, and obtaining as many relevant details about the incident as possible.
  • Motorist Information
  • Response
  • Site Management
  • Traffic Management
  • Clearance

Roles and responsibilities

Reaction forces typically responding to traffic incidents include:

  • Police
  • Fire brigade
  • Alarm dispatch (112)
  • Towing and recovery
  • Emergency medical service (EMS)
  • Hazardous material
  • Transportation agencies
  • Media


  1. Traffic Incident Management Handbook, Prepared for: Federal Highway Administration,Office of Travel Management. Prepared by: PB Farradyne, November 2000