SEATTLE–Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Seattle Police Department (SPD) have identified initial steps they will take to improve the city’s capacity to respond to major traffic incidents. This ability was clearly challenged on March 24 when an overturned truck on State Route 99 blocked all southbound lanes just north of Royal Brougham Way South.
SPD and SDOT have completed a report reviewing the incident, identifying the issues, and recommending solutions. The City of Seattle will engage outside experts on traffic incident management to develop best practices on how to better handle future traffic incidents and how communication and collaboration systems can be improved.
“After reviewing the after-action report, I definitely believe there is room for systemic improvement,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “We look forward to planning and training with our partner agencies to make sure we have the right tools and protocols in place in the future.”
By June 30, SPD and SDOT will develop new protocols for responding to incidents on arterial streets. The actions will be assigned the following priorities: first, to save lives and protect public health; second, to minimize and mitigate impacts to traffic congestion; and third, to minimize damage to public and private property.
SDOT Director Scott Kubly stated, “Removing blockages quickly and safely is important for our first responders, the movement of goods and getting travelers to their destinations.”
The report recommends that the city review coordinated response protocols between departments, including SDOT and SPD, and also Seattle Fire Department, Finance and Administrative Services, the Emergency Operations Center, and elected officials. Other recommendations include identifying resources that might be available to support incident response, ensuring that systems are adequate to accurately and timely deploy these resources, and developing incident management signal timing plans and traffic re-routes for incidents.
The complete After Action Report can be found on SDOT’s website: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/media.htm