No one likes being stuck in traffic. MARC’s Operation Green Light (OGL) program works hard to make your commute a smooth one. OGL monitors and manages the transportation system through safe and efficient traffic signal operations to reduce travel time, fuel consumption and air pollution. In addition to setting the most efficient timing for traffic signals on a day-to-day basis, the program adjusts signals on the fly to respond to incidents that have major traffic impacts.
On Sept. 7, 2018, OGL conducted a tabletop exercise that allowed participants to walk through a sample incident and practice the process of responding. They worked on their decision-making process and identified what works and what needs improvement. The mock incident allowed them to clarify roles and responsibilities, identify additional mitigation and preparedness needs, and evaluate communication between organizations.
Participants in attendance represented the Federal Highway Administration, the Missouri Department of Transportation, KC Scout, the cities of Independence, Lee’s Summit and Kansas City in Missouri and the cities of Shawnee, Overland Park, Olathe, Prairie Village, Lenexa and Kansas City in Kansas.
The practice scenario: During a typical weekday, an incident occurs involving three cars along southbound Interstate 35 between 87th Street and 75th Street. The incident is blocking the right lane only and there is an estimated cleanup time of one hour. The weather conditions are clear with no wind. A secondary crash occurs near Shawnee Mission Parkway along I-35. Emergency vehicles are currently at the scene of the initial incident and have closed a second lane of traffic. Traffic has backed up past Johnson Drive.
The group had to determine where and how traffic should be diverted, what agencies should take the lead in decision-making, and how to communicate with one another and the traveling public. Exercises like this allow OGL and its partners to continue to develop a process to better respond should a major interstate closure impact the Kansas City metro area.