Delivering resources to save time, lives, and money

Tennessee Advanced Traffic Incident Management Training



1. Trainers in Tennessee delivered the basic traffic incident management course to more than 113,000 emergency responders from 2013 to July 2015.

2. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and Tennessee Highway Patrol set out to create an advanced course to more deeply engage responders about multi-agency collaboration.

3. The developed curriculum can be delivered in two-hour modules, for a total of 16 hours of hands-on, active earning opportunities.


Since its inception in 2013, the key to success for the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) National Traffi c Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training Program in Tennessee has been cooperation. A cooperative and interdisciplinary approach was utilized to design the course, implement the train-the-trainer courses, and schedule and conduct thousands of class training sessions. Dozens of Master Trainers prepared more than 6,500 trainers to spread the course’s reach into every state across the country. The trainers helped deliver the basic course to more than 113,000 emergency responders through mid-July of 2015.


After the success of delivering the basic training course, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Tennessee Highway Patrol championed development of an advanced course. While there was success with both the four-hour and 10-hour classroom courses, TDOT and the Tennessee Highway Patrol wanted a more task-based, action-oriented, hands-on approach. With support from the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) and the FHWA Office of Operations, TDOT engaged a project team to create an advanced curriculum that could be used in Tennessee, and elsewhere, to more deeply engage responders in a multi-disciplinary approach. Creation of the course was the objective of the project and was given the working title of State of Tennessee Advanced Responder Training.

TDOT hosted a two-day workshop of participants from across the country, to help design the new curriculum. The existence of the dedicated TIM Training Facility at the Tennessee Highway Patrol Academy gave the project a head start, and the facility was used to host a multi-state, multidisciplinary workshop to formulate changes.

Workshop attendees represented a broad range of disciplines including towing, communications, transportation, emergency management, law enforcement, fi re/rescue, hazardous materials, and emergency medical services from 18 participating states including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

Participants were split into four facilitated groups, each group assessing two units of the existing course material, with two basic questions:

  1. How does the material lend itself to advanced, in-depth discussion?
  2. How does hands-on, practical exercises on the subject expand or enhance practitioner capabilities?

The project resulted in the development of a curriculum that could be delivered in 2-hour modules, for a total of 16 hours of hands-on, active learning opportunities. Specific products included the following:

  • A read-ahead package designed for participants to review prior to the commencement of the START course, since the course was designed for those who already completed the existing SHRP2 Training
  • An Instructor Guide with special instructions on how to conduct exercises that accompany the slide deck of lessons
  • Activity-based resources such as photographs
  • Take home scenario manual for performing live exercises


TDOT has realized immediate benefit as a result of this project. Over the last 2 years TDOT has hired 1,152 new employees. The majority of these employees are involved in the maintenance, construction, and operations of Tennessee’s roadways and training of new staff is a top priority for the department. Adult learning statistics have shown that through experiential learning, by physically practicing and doing, you can obtain up to a 75 percent retention rate (Source: Burge, Joan, “What’s the Best Way to Learn?” Office Dynamics International, Las Vegas, NV, 2015). In the fall of 2017, TDOT initiated a plan to train all those in District Operations leadership positions (202 FTEs) with the Advanced Responder Training course. To date eight Advanced TIM Training courses have been held at the Tennessee TIM Training facility with 128 TDOT staff positions trained. As a result, live rural incident management training is now occurring at the district level across the state.


The most important lesson learned was that TIM training professionals and practitioners across the nation shared an enthusiasm for a more specific, activity-based curriculum. Their commitment to shaping the curriculum has been reflected in the training materials created and is now in use in Tennessee.


The multi-state workshop resulted in the following group activities:

  • TIM Fundamentals and Terminology: Participants focused on a deeper level of understanding of the words used in TIM planning, response, recovery, and after-action learning.
  • Notification and Scene Size-Up: Participants were enthusiastic about the opportunities to focus on the role of improved communication from dispatchers to the field, and vice versa.
  • Safe Vehicle Positioning: Participants suggested a combination of more thorough discussion, expansion of information available, and field exercise opportunities.
  • Scene Safety: Participants suggested demonstration of scene safety issues and situations.
  • Command Responsibilities: Participants focused on creating active learning to develop familiarity and commitment to more focused field command activities.
  • Traffic Management: Participants focused on demonstration and development of skills, as well as focusing on both urban and rural environments.
  • Special Circumstances: Participants focused on both discussion and safety demonstrations, and stressed a desire to add checklist examples as part of classroom and field exercises.
  • Clearance and Termination: Participants focused on both discussion and safety demonstrations.

Operations Area of Practice

    Training and Profesional Development
    Traffic Incident Management

Organizational Capability Element

    Traffic Incident Management

Content Type

Case Studies & Lessons Learned

Publishing Organization

Issue Date