What is TIM?

The United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration defines Traffic Incident Management as a "planned and coordinated multidisciplinary process to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible."

In Pennsylvania on average:

  • 355 reportable traffic crashes occur each day (approximately 15 crashes every hour)
  • 3 persons are fatally injured in reportable crashes each day (one fatality every eight hours)
  • 227 persons are injured in reportable crashes each day (about 9 injuries every hour)

Effective TIM improves the safety of motorists, incident victims, and emergency responders across all disciplines while simultaneously reducing congestion delays. TIM in Pennsylvania represents a blend of rural and urban needs, of volunteer and paid professionals, of personnel from state and local agencies, and of county governments and state directives.

Ultimately, TIM is a coordinated process that involves partners from both the public and private sector including, but certainly not limited to:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Fire/Rescue
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Transportation Agencies
  • Public Safety Communications
  • Emergency Management
  • Towing and Recovery
  • Hazardous Materials Responders/Contractors
  • Traffic Media Outlets


These three terms are often confused and sometime used interchangeably. They mean distinctively different things to different people.

Traffic Incident Management is that set of actions and procedures taken by multiple agencies and private sector partners acting cooperatively in a coordinated manner to prepare for and quickly and safely detect, respond to and remove traffic incidents and then to effectively address their lingering effects on traffic flow and safety.

Incident Command (ICS) is the command and control structure for the effective management of personnel and equipment resources during an incident. Through ICS, agencies working at an incident scene are able to achieve:

  • Common terminology
  • Modular organization
  • Integrated communications
  • Unified command structure
  • Consolidated action plan
  • Manageable span-of-control
  • Predesignated incident facilities
  • Comprehensive resource management

Emergency Management is a general term that describes public safety agencies as well as the set of practices and procedures used in response to an emergency incident. There are also Emergency Management agencies at the state and local level that are tasked with the planning and preparation for major natural and man-made emergencies. (Source: USDOT Federal Highway Administration)

Major emergencies happen infrequently, but pre-planning and training are vital to ensure efficient and effective responses. Traffic incidents happen frequently and differ from major emergencies primarily in scale. The responding partners are the same, especially far larger traffic incidents. Safe and effective coordinated multi-agency actions taken to quickly clear traffic incidents depend upon a high degree of institutional and technical coordination and cooperation among a large number of agencies and private sector responding parties. The better prepared public safety, transportation and private sector partners are to effectively responding to and resolving traffic incidents the better prepared they will also be to handling major emergencies when they occur.

TIM Training is for everyone including emergency responders, transportation professionals, tow operators, engineers, maintenance personnel, construction personnel, media outlets, and even the general public. If your daily responsibilities put you near moving traffic, you need to be trained in TIM.

Suburban and rural roads can be just as dangerous as major expressways and interstates! These roads often include geometric elements such as sharp curves and hills that can make responders nearly invisible to motorists.

TIM training (both classroom and online) is completely free of charge.

Pennsylvania has adapted the Federal Highway Administration TIM training and put it online using both the Train PA Learning Management System (for everyone) and the Pennsylvania Virtual Training Network (for municipal law enforcement). Sign up for online training by visiting our Training page.

Yes. Classroom training affords you the opportunity to network with your peers and build relationships that are critical to ensuring smooth operations when agencies interact on scene. Classroom training also includes small tabletop exercises designed to have participants get a better understanding of each other’s perspectives. On the other hand, online training allows the student to complete the full program at their own pace and acquire the same certificate of completion that would be achieved in the classroom. Online learners must also take a quiz at the end of each module and achieve a score of 80% or better to move forward.

Simple! Just go to the Contact Us page, fill out the brief online form, and click the Submit button. While you’re at it, don’t forget to tell your mutual aid partners to help develop larger, regional training classes!