In 'NIMS' Chapter Seven, the importance of supporting technology is defined as follows: "Technology and technological systems provide supporting capabilities essential to implementing and continuously refining the NIMS."
These include voice and data communications systems, information systems (i.e., record keeping and resource tracking), and display systems.
These also include specialized technologies that facilitate incident operations and incident management activities in situations that call for unique technology-based capabilities.
The basis of much of this technology is transportation's Intelligent Transportation Systems or ITS. Much of the success for combating nonrecurring congestion is based on the implementation and use of ITS at transportation management centers (TMCs). These technologies, developed for day-to-day operations can be easily adapted to manage both planned events and unplanned incidents and disasters.
Traffic Incident Management
Careful planning for incident response will not achieve the desired results if communication among agencies, responders, and the public does not occur. Communication, and the technology to facilitate it, is a critical part of traffic incident management. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) significantly enhance the ability to manage traffic and provide travelers in the area affected by an incident. Topics in this area include:
Planned Special Events
Planned Special Events (PSE) have many characteristics in common with incidents, particularly as the focus on security at PSE has increased. The technologies that are used for the management of incidents and for disasters can be employed to manage an emergency during a planned event.
Emergency Transportation Operations
Emergency Transportation Operations Initiative
The value that ITS offers when managing a disaster was a key reason for the soon-to-be completed joint FHWA Office of Operations-ITS Joint Program Office's Emergency Transportation Operations Initiative.
The Emergency Transportation Operations initiative is designed to support the notice events such as hurricanes that offer a 72-hour forewarning. Though there is time to take appropriate advance measures, there are also major transportation challenges when incidents arise suddenly. The outcome of this initiative will be the tools, techniques, demonstrated benefits, technical guidance, and standards necessary for state and local agencies and their private sector partners to effectively manage "no notice" evacuations.
For more information about the ETO Initiative, go to http://www.its.dot.gov/eto/index.htm.