WHITE PAPER: IBTTA Urges Severe Weather Response Manual
the International Association of Bridges, Tunnels and Toll Highways (IBTTA), urges the development of an official manual to help transport operators react to extreme weather events and released a new white paper that outlines key factors, best practices, lessons learned and new technologies for emergency management and response.
Severe weather conditions seem to be becoming more frequent and extreme due to climate change. Four separate snowstorms in Virginia, Kentucky, Texas and Greece left thousands of drivers stranded in their cars for hours in early 2022, which the IBTTA says should serve as a wake-up call for transport operators so that they are ready to face
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“The industry has been focused for several years on preparing for and mitigating issues related to extreme weather events, not just snow, but also extreme flooding, wind and other natural disasters,” Mark said. Muriello, Director of Policy and Government Affairs for IBTTA. “However, we are coming to a crossroads where events will become more extreme, disruptive and dangerous. A coordinated effort will be needed between many organizations to mitigate the worst effects of climate change on our roads and to protect the safety of travelers and emergency response personnel.
Transport operators have faced a growing expectation from motorists and government officials that the transport system will operate for emergency mobility purposes throughout an event and recover quickly thereafter, says The report. In response, transport operators are proposing organizational changes, new standards and procedures, and workforce development and training.
The white paper identifies critical success factors that operators need to consider to improve their management, including:
· Planning and preparation · Continuous and practical improvement · Continuous Situational Awareness · Robust and coordinated communication capabilities and channels
The white paper also calls for a greater role for technology and data. Transportation information systems are becoming more prevalent at the regional level, enabling the integration and sharing of information among a wide range of transportation operators, public safety organizations, disaster responders (e.g. fire, towing and medical first response) and government agencies at all levels.
“As weather conditions become more severe, we experience what are known as century-old storms more frequently,” says Pat Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA. “The toll industry takes climate change seriously, and we are working to help our operators prepare for and address these issues now.”
IBTTA will host several events throughout the year that will address the impact of climate change on the toll industry, including a session at the upcoming 2022 Technology Summit taking place March 19-22 in Orlando, in Florida.