Coming Up Next: Planning for 2024 Solar Eclipse, Incorporating Lessons Learned from 2017 Solar Eclipse for 2024 - NOCoE Virtual Peer Exchange

NOCoE

Overview

The National Operations Center of Excellence is gathering after action resources for the Total Solar Eclipse that took place on August 21, 2017. The path of totality covered 14 states West to East across the country.

This virtual peer exchange will have a roundtable discussion about the 2017 Total Eclipse and its impact on traffic operations for transportation agencies. The special events planning had been be a major challenge for transportation operators along the path of totality. But the effects of darkness and unusual travel patterns affected the transportation network in every state.

This virtual peer exchange will highlight after action reports from states/agencies in the path of 2017 totality. We'll also hear about the findings on travel volumes and the event planning and public relations efforts. This peer exchange is intended to serve as a resource to be shared with the 14 states on the path of totality in 2024.

Agenda:

Topic Presenters
1:00 – 1:15 PM Welcome and introduction of virtual peer exchange NOCoE/Moderator
1:15 – 2:30 PM

Session 1: After action reports from states/agencies

  1. Expectations versus actuals
  2. Lessons learned
  3. What you'd change
  4. Resources to share with 2024 states
Missouri DOT/ Illinois DOT/Oregon DOT/ Tennessee DOT/ Wyoming Highway Patrol/ Kentucky DOT
2:30 – 3:00 PM

Session 2: Other aspects of solar eclipse: traffic data and public relations

  1. StormCenter and National Parks Service: Communications, coordination, and public relations in solar eclipse event planning
  2. INRIX: Findings on traffic during the solar eclipse week
INRIX/StormCenter/National Park Service
3:00 – 3:15 PM Break
3:15 – 4:15 PM Session 3: Open discussion: Each roundtable member will ask a question from the panelists and each agency provides its perspective to answer the question (See sample questions) All Participants
4:45 – 5:00 PM Closing remarks & wrap-up

Learning Objectives:

  • Comparing what was expected in 2017 solar eclipse versus what was observed and how State and local agencies addressed a truly “rare” planned special event.
  • Understanding who your partners are for the event and how best to reach them to ensure that states/localities have enough time to develop, test and implement plans.
  • An after action self-assessment and the sharing of lessons learned with those states who will witness the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse.
  • Communications, public relations, and coordination aspect of solar eclipse

Instructors:

Moderator:

  • Laurie Radow

Ms. Laurel Radow joined the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Department of Transportation in 1996. From 2004 until her retirement at the end of 2016, Ms. Radow served as a member of the FHWA Office of Operation’s Traffic Incident and Events Management Team. In that capacity, Ms. Radow served as program manager for the agency’s Evacuations/ Emergencies and Planned Special Events (PSE) programs as well as managed a range of Traffic Incident Management (TIM) projects.

Recent TIM and PSE responsibilities included management of the publications, “Making the TIM Business Case,”and “Climate Change Adaptation Guide for Transportation Systems Management, Operations, and Maintenance,”the deployment of the TIM Incident Management Outreach Toolkit, a member of the TIM SHRP2 (Strategic Highway Research Program 2) TIM responder training program, managed the Planned Special Events Capability Maturity Framework workshops, and authored the August 2016 publication, “2017 Solar Eclipse Transportation Fact Sheet for State and Local Departments of Transportation”

Since 2017, Ms. Radow has served as Chair of the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) of the National Academy of Sciences, Standing Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Protection (ABR10). This committee is one of three committees in TRB’s newest section, Transportation Resiliency. Ms. Radow co-authored the article, “Resilience Thinking and Future Research: Beyond Quick Fixes,” TR News, September 2017, Transportation Research Board. Ms. Radow serves as co-chair of the planning committee for the TRB October 2018 Transportation RISE Summit.

Agencies/presenters:

  • Missouri DOT: Matt Hiebert

Matt Hiebert is the assistant director of Communications for the Missouri Department of Transportation. He has been with MoDOT for 17 years, serving in a variety of public relations positions. In 2017, he served as chair of the TransComm task force for eclipse transportation communications.

  • Illinois DOT: Casey Teckenbrock
  • Oregon DOT: David Thompson, Greg Ek-Collins, Joel McCarroll, James Scholtes, Brendan Baggett, David Hirsch

Joel McCarroll: Joel McCarroll is a 26 year employee of the Oregon Department, the bulk of it in traffic engineering and operations. He is currently Oregon's District 10 Manager. During the eclipse, he was the Region Traffic Manager for Central Oregon, a job he held for 16 years. Joel has a BSCE in Civil Engineer from Worcester Polytech and an MBA from Portland State. He is a registered engineer in Oregon and a PTOE. Joel was the 2009 Engineering-Management Fellow at AASHTO.

Greg Ek-Collins, State Emergency Operations Manager, Oregon Department of Transportation: Greg retired as the Assistant Director of Emergency Management from Orange County Florida in 2009 with 35 years in EMS, fire service and emergency management. Greg joined ODOT as the State Emergency Operations Manager in 2009. Since coming to ODOT Greg has coordinated an average of 2 FHWA Emergency Relief declarations a year ranging from severe winter storms, spring flooding, landslides, sinkholes and wildfires that impacted our transportation infrastructure. The ODOT Emergency Operations Program addresses all hazards that could impact Oregon’s transportation system. Greg serves as a member of the Oregon Emergency Response System Council, the Oregon Seismic Safety Advisory Council and the Interagency Hazards Mitigation Team. He is the primary liaison for ODOT in the State Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) during emergency activations. Greg is a member of the Oregon Emergency Managers Association and the American Public Works Association.

  • Tennessee DOT: Ray Hallavant

Ray Hallavant, TDOT Traffic Operations Division Operations Coordinator. Ray has been with TDOT Smartway Intelligent Transportation System Operations since 2003.
Ray has held the position of a TMC Technician, Supervisor, Manager and currently is the Operations Coordinator of TDOTs 4 Traffic Management Centers. Ray is a graduate of the 2010 University of Maryland Operations Academy Senior Management Program. Ray participates and represents Smartway on many regional and nationwide committees and transportation boards.

  • Wyoming DOT: Shannon Ratliff

Shannon Ratliff has worked for the Wyoming Highway Patrol for 27 years, and has achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Lt. Colonel Ratliff is the Operations Commander for the agency, and oversees the day to day activities of around 300 Troopers, dispatchers, port of entry officers and civilian employees. Lt. Colonel Ratliff is a graduate of Casper College and the University of Wyoming.

  • Kentucky DOT: Keith Todd

Keith Todd has served as a Public Information Officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet representing District 1 & 2 since October 2004. He handles communications for Kentucky’s 23 westernmost counties that are responsible for more than 6,000 miles of highway, dealing with about 100 news media outlets in 4 states.

Significant communication efforts have included the 2012 destruction of a span on the Eggners Ferry Bridge by the Cargo Ship Delta Mariner, the Great Ice Storm of 2009 that left the area without power for more than a week, extended closures of the US 51/US 60/US 62 Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge due to floodwaters, construction of two major bridges as part of the Lake Bridges Project (LakeBridges.com) and work zone notices/news releases for highway construction projects averaging $200 million each year.

Keith came to the Cabinet after 18 years of operating his own marketing, advertising, and corporate relations firm. He handled corporate communications for about a dozen multi-national corporations with plants in the Calvert City Industrial Community and across Western Kentucky. He handled advertising for some of the region’s most successful businesses, including CellularONE franchises in parts of 6 states. From 1987 to 2004 he handled strategy and advertising for more than 250 political campaigns with an 85% success rate.

Prior to 1987, Todd had a distinguished career as a journalist, starting with writing articles for his hometown weekly newspaper in the 8th grade. In 1969, he started working for WMJL Radio in Marion, KY, where he continued doing news through his college years. He also was a student employee of WKMS-FM in Murray, KY, before moving to WKYX-WKYQ Radio in Paducah, KY. After helping put WKYQ-FM on the air in December 1973, he served as News Director of the Bristol Broadcasting Group of Paducah radio stations until July 1976 when he joined WPSD-TV News in Paducah. During his 11 years with WPSD, Todd served in a variety of reporting roles that included coverage of the KY General Assembly, the UMWA mine strike in 1978, presidential candidates, tornados, and other stories that won more than 40 state and regional journalism awards in Kentucky and Illinois.

  • StormCenter: Dave Jones

Dave Jones is the founder and CEO of StormCenter Communications, Inc. StormCenter’s exclusive technology, developed under the Federal Government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, enables disparate Common Operating Picture (COP) interoperability and enables the sharing of geospatial data across any device in a collaborative secure environment. This revolutionary technology leads to more effective decision making for a wide variety of markets including military, civil and intelligence, climate resilience planning and coordination, energy and transportation, food security and agriculture, healthcare, cyber and homeland security and incudes the private sector, non-profits and NGOs. Dave’s vision is to enable anyone or any organization on any platform to easily share data for immediate situational awareness and enhanced decision making.

StormCenter was selected as a Tibbitts Award Winner by the Small Business Administration for exceptional performance under the SBIR program. “Winning the Tibbetts award from the Small Business Administration (SBA) further confirms that StormCenter Communications has accomplished what was previously thought as impossible, enabling true interoperability between disparate common operating pictures (COPs). This has led to a technology that is now ready to be integrated into markets and products that desperately need to share information across platforms to save lives and protect property.”

Dave spent nearly a decade as an on-air broadcast meteorologist for NBC4 in Washington, DC. and launched the very first TV weather website in the nation, WeatherNet4 (1995) and also co-organizes the LIVE STREAMED Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit, a national summit that brings together TV meteorologists and scientists to advance TV meteorologist's understanding and communication of extreme weather impacts and climate science to build a more resilient nation. Dave also serves on the Users Working Group for the NASA/Columbia University Socioeconomic Data Access Center and the University of Alabama Huntsville’s Global Hydrology Resource Center Users Working Group. Dave is frequently invited to make keynote presentations to groups and stresses the importance of integrating science and earth observing results into the decision-making process to improve resilience to extreme weather and the impacts of a changing climate, while further educating broadcast meteorologists on impact-based decision support.

  • INRIX: Ted Trepanier

Ted Trepanier serves as leader for implementation of public sector focused services at INRIX. A nationally recognized leader in traffic operations, ITS, Planning, and applications of big data in mobility applications, Mr. Trepanier joined INRIX in May of 2010. He is focused on scoping and deploying INRIX traffic services to reduce agency cost for congestion management, lifting system efficiency and expanding strategic assessment. Prior to joining INRIX, Ted was the Director of Traffic Operations for the Washington State Department of Transportation. In addition to his extensive background in traffic operations, he has experience in design, planning, project management and toll operations. Ted earned his Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering from Washington State University and Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington.

  • National Park Service: Mark Engler

Mark Engler - Superintendent, Homestead National Monument of America, Beatrice, Nebraska. Mark is a career National Park Service Employee. At Homestead National Monument of America he worked to establish the Homestead Heritage Center, saw the monument’s boundary increase, lead the commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act, and helped orchestrate partnerships that are leading to the digitizing of 30 million Homestead Land-Entry Case File Records that can be accessed on Ancestry.com and Fold3.com. Mark has also worked to expand throughout the National Park Service distance learning opportunities. Following a seven-year assignment at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, more commonly known as the Gateway Arch, Mark returned to Beatrice, Nebraska. While in St. Louis he was responsible for the visitor services and museum programs that served over 4 million people annually. Other assignments have included stops at: Saguaro National Park, Arizona; Gateway National Recreation Area, New York and Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, Texas. During Mark’s career with the National Park Service he has been involved in numerous special programs and events including the 1988 Yellowstone Fires, and spearheaded the National effort to develop plans for the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He has been detailed to special assignments including; Acting Deputy Regional Director for the Midwest Region and lead the National Park Service’s Public Affairs Program at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics and has done the same during Presidential visits. In addition to his work at Homestead, Mark served as the National Park Service’s Midwest Region Centennial Coordinator.

Target Audience:

  • State and local departments of transportation (DOTs) in the 14 states as well as the neighboring states who were under the path of the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse or will be under the path 2024 solar eclipse.
  • Event planners and organizers in those cities and towns who will witness the path of solar totality and who wish to learn more about how best to work with State and local DOTs in both the development and implementation of their solar eclipse transportation plans.
  • Anyone wanting to learn more about the solar eclipse, and how states and cities developed plans for the event.

Document Downloads

Project Website

View the virtual peer exchange recording on NOCoE YouTube channel.

Issue Date
April 9th, 2018
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