The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


TTAP Newsletter: RoadTalk

Traffic Incident Management Training Initiative Seeks to Improve Responder Safety and Reduce Delays on Tennessee’s Roadways

by Matt Cate, P.E.

TIM training is not about telling you how to run your units or changing your protocols. Instead, it is getting responders on the same page so they can watch each other’s backs and work together to be safer and more effective.

There were 167,831 motor vehicle crashes reported on Tennessee’s roadways in 2013. Of this total, 44,434 crashes injured or killed at least one vehicle occupant or road user. This translates to an average of one serious collision every 12 minutes somewhere in our state. Congestion from these incidents often generates secondary crashes, further increasing traveler delay and frustration. The longer incident responders remain at the scene, the greater the risk they, and the traveling public, face. Minimizing the time and resources required for incident clearance is essential to meeting our goals for safety and reliability.

The second Strategic Highway Research Program’s (SHRP2’s) National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training brings police, firefighters, DOT, towing, medical personnel, and other incident responders together to engage in interactive, hands-on incident resolution exercises. Learning to coordinate response activities and optimize operations in the classroom is vital to responding effectively in the field and to building a unified national practice on incident management. SHRP2’s National Traffic Incident Management Responder Training is endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the National Volunteer Fire Council.

    Who Benefits From Traffic Incident Management Training?
  • Law enforcement
  • Fire and rescue
  • Emergency medical services
  • Transportation agencies
  • Training and recovery professionals
  • Notification and dispatch personnel
  • Hazardous materials management responders
  • Coroners and medical examiners
  • Public works professionals
  • The public

Tennessee’s TIM Responder Training effort is led by a group of agencies including the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Tennessee Fire Service and Code Enforcement Academy, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and the Tennessee Division of the Federal Highway Administration. The TIM Responder Training program has two primary components. In train-the-trainer sessions, master instructors provide participants with in-depth discussion and demonstration of 11 SHRP2 TIM training modules. Students who complete these 2-day classes are certified as local instructors and are qualified to deliver this material to a broader local audience. These certified instructors deliver the 4-hour TIM Responder class to local responders in agencies across the state.

In Tennessee, more than 150 participants have completed the TIM Train-the-Trainer course and more than 1,400 participants have completed the 4-hour TIM Responder class. Nationally, more than 37,000 responders have been trained using this curriculum. The results have been very positive. Washington State cleared one accident five hours faster than expected using the training techniques. Indiana reported that a multi-vehicle crash on I-70 west of Indianapolis in a driving snow storm was cleared in 5.5 hours – eliminating six additional hours of potential road closures because of the TIM training. The Tennessee Highway Patrol now requires its officers to take the training, and all TDOT field maintenance and construction personnel will have completed the TIM training by the end of 2014.

TTAP will be working with TDOT’s Traffic Operations Division to bring this important training to local agencies across the state. These volunteer-led classes are available upon request at no cost to participants. The ideal participant mix includes responders from law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, public works and highway maintenance, and other incident responders to discuss effective crash-scene procedures that will result in improved responder safety, better communication and coordination of effort, and reduce clearance times. All participants will receive printed workshop materials that can serve as a reference after the training event.

Learn More about TIM Training
To learn more about Tennessee’s Traffic Incident Management training initiative, visit our website at To learn more about TIM training or to schedule a class in your area, contact Frank Horne, TDOT Transportation Management Program Manager, at (615) 253-0042 or Please share this training opportunity with your colleagues in law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, emergency management agencies, E-911 centers, and others that may benefit from improved traffic incident management.

    The Primary Goals of TIM Training:

    Save Lives
  • Training results in less exposure of responder team to moving traffic during recovery.
  • Faster incident response and clearance times result in fewer secondary crashes.
  • Save Money
  • Less congestion leads to fewer freight and traveler delays in backups.
  • Fewer secondary crashes save on insurance claims.
  • Faster cleanups lead to cost savings for incident personnel.
  • Save Time
  • Smarter response techniques cut congestion