Optimization of Emergency Traffic Patrols (ETP) Operations (Collaborative Project)

Project Abstract

Unexpected congestion due to incidents may cause a substantial delay for drivers and reduce the roadway safety. Effective incident management relies on many tools to lessen the overall impact of crashes, road debris, and stalled/disabled vehicles. Many urban areas have adopted emergency response patrol programs that patrol the freeway network searching for incidents, providing aid to motorists, and assisting with incident management and clearance. Patrol management must consider the zone structure, fleet size, and fleet allocation. We developed a comprehensive mathematical model to design the network for patrol programs. The model aims to concurrently determine the zone configuration, fleet size, and allocation, to minimize incident incurred delay while the operational cost is taken into account. This research aims at extending the mathematical model to determine the most efficient patrol coverage area, given an underlying transportation network. An important question for incident management officials is to determine where patrol units are required and where other strategies such as dispatch response are desired. Given the transportation network, we plan to determine the patrol coverage area by taking into account elements such as incident frequency, operation cost, average patrolling and dispatch response times. Determining the patrol coverage area and the non-patrolling area will significantly save the operation cost by avoiding non-necessary patrolling.

Universities and Sponsoring Organizations Involved

University of Maryland, Morgan State University, Maryland State Highway Administration

Principal Investigator(s)

Ali Haghani (UMD), Email:haghani@umd.edu
Mansoureh Jeihani (MSU), Email: mansoureh.jeihani@morgan.edu

Funding Sources and Amounts

(Split By Organization and Type of Funding) USDOT: $140,000 (Federal), UMD: $45,326 (Match), Morgan State University: $35,606 (Match)

Start Date

November 1, 2017

Expected Completion Date

October 31, 2018

Expected Research Outcomes

In an earlier study, we developed a comprehensive mixed-integer programming model to design the network for freeway service patrol programs. This model aimed to concurrently determine the optimal beat configuration along with the optimal fleet size and trucks allocation to minimize incident-incurred delay while the operational cost is taken into account, as well.

In the study covered by this proposal, we intend to extend the existing model to determine the patrol coverage area, given an underlying transportation network. In other words, we intend to relax the assumption that the patrol service network is given. An important question for incident management officials is to determine where patrol units are required and where other strategies such as dispatch response are desired. Given the transportation network, we plan to determine the patrol coverage area by taking into account elements such as incident frequency, operation cost, average patrolling and dispatch response times. Determining the patrol coverage area and the non-patrolling area will significantly save the operation cost by avoiding non-necessary patrolling.

Expected Equity Impacts and Benefits of Implementation

The best configuration, fleet size, and allocation may significantly change based on design period as the incident distribution changes during the day, week, year, or over several years. Therefore, designing the network based on the newest set of incident data provides the opportunity to determine the best current strategy. Also, investigating on additional incident data will provides much more reliable solutions over time.

Implementing the program under optimized network will improve the performance of the program significantly. The optimization will significantly decrease the average incident response time and incident detection time. Subsequently, traffic delay experienced by drivers in the network will decrease considerably. Also, environmental benefits from much less fuel consumption and air pollutant emission will be realized. Detecting and responding incidents quickly will reduce the number of secondary incidents significantly and increase the safety of the network. There are additional benefits such as benefits to motorists assisted by program, benefits to the freeway operators, improved safety, improved average freeway travel speeds and freeway throughput, and better public perception.

Subject Areas

Incident response and management.