FAQ - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Traffic Incident Management?

A. Traffic Incident Management (TIM) is a planned and coordinated program process to detect, respond to and remove traffic incidents and restore traffic capacity as safety and quickly as possible

Q. What are the differences between Traffic Incident Management, Incident Command and Emergency Management?

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

Traffic Incident Management is a 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 (IC) is the command and control structure for the effective management of personnel and equipment resources during an incident. Through IC, 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
  • Predestinated 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.

Q. How can effective Traffic Incident Management strategies and procedures help in a major emergency?

A. Major emergencies happen infrequently, but in order to ensure efficient and effective response, mutual planning, preparation and training are required of the responding parties. Traffic incidents happen frequently and differ from major emergencies primarily in scale. The responding partners are the same, especially 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, as well as cooperation among a large number of agencies and private sector responding parties. The more prepared public safety, transportation and private sector partners are to effectively responding to and resolving traffic incidents the better prepared they will also be at handling major emergencies when they occur.

Q. What is the National Unified Goal?

The National Unified Goal (NUG) for Traffic Incident Management is a unified national policy developed by major national organizations representing traffic incident responders, under the leadership of the NTIMC.

The NUG is not mandatory. It encourages state and local transportation and public safety agencies to adopt unified, multi-disciplinary policies, procedures and practices that will dramatically improve the way traffic incidents are managed on U.S. roadways.

Three major objectives of NUG:

  • Responder safety
  • Safe Quick Clearance
  • Prompt, reliable communications

The NUG promotes achievement of these objectives through 18 strategies:

  • TIM Partnerships and Programs.
  • Multidisciplinary NIMS and TIM Training.
  • Goals for Performance and Progress.
  • TIM Technology.
  • Effective TIM Policies.
  • Awareness and Education Partnerships.
  • Recommended Practices for Responder Safety.
  • Move Over/Slow Down Laws.
  • Driver Training and Awareness.
  • Multidisciplinary TIM Procedures.
  • Response and Clearance Time Goals.
  • 24/7 Availability.
  • Multidisciplinary Communications Practices and Procedures.
  • Prompt, Reliable Responder Notification.
  • Interoperable Voice and Data Networks.
  • Broadband Emergency Communications Systems.
  • Prompt, Reliable Traveler Information Systems.
  • Partnerships with News Media and Information Providers


Q. What is the National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training?

A. The National TIM Responder Training Program was developed through the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) and provides incident responders with a national curriculum developed by responders for responders. The training offers a set of practices and advanced standards to enable safer and faster clearance of traffic crashes. The training addresses all aspects of incident response, from the moment the first emergency call is made to the correct positioning of response vehicles and equipment, to a safe work area using traffic control devices, to final scene clearance.

Q. Who would benefit most from taking this training?

A. People who respond on a routine basis to traffic crashes, such as:

  • Law enforcement
  • Fire and rescue personnel
  • Emergency medical services
  • Transportation agencies
  • Towing and recovery professionals
  • Communications center and dispatch personnel
  • Hazardous materials spill response contractors
  • Coroners and medical examiners
  • Public works professionals

Q. Where can you take this training?

A. The TIM Responder Training in Arizona is available in-person, by visiting the Training Page on this site.

Q. What is the difference between the online training and the in-person training?

A. The four-hour, in-person training brings police, firefighters, transportation, towing, medical personnel and other incident responders together to engage in interactive training and foster working relationships. They learn how to work together in a coordinated manner from the moment the first emergency call is made to final scene clearance.

Q. What does it cost to take the TIM Responder Training?

A. The training is free of charge. Sometimes the hosting agency charges a fee to cover a cost of renting a venue where training is held.

Q. Are there any pre-qualifications to take the TIM Responder Training?

A. No, but it's helpful if you've completed National Incident Management System (NIMS) courses, ICS-100, 200 and IS-700.

Q. How do I become a TIM trainer?

A. To become a TIM trainer, you must complete a Train-the-Trainer course. Train-the-Trainer participants are expected to have both prior instructional and TIM experience. Contact us to inquire about Train-the-Trainer courses in your area.

Q. Will I receive a certificate for completing the TIM Responder Training?

A. Everyone who completes the in-person training will receive a certificate of completion. There is no required exam for the in-person training.

Q. What organizations, beyond the Federal Highway Administration, support this program?


  • International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • International Association of Fire Chiefs
  • National Volunteer Fire Council
  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  • Towing and Recovery Association of America
  • State Association of Chiefs of Police
  • National Sheriffs Association
  • American Public Works Association
  • International Municipal Signal Association
  • Institute of Traffic Engineers
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems of America
  • National Association of County Engineers
  • Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association
  • National Association of State EMS Officials
  • International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training

Q. Can I have a TIM class delivered at my Fire, EMS or Police facility?

A. Please fill out the form on Request Training page and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Q. Is TIM only for Highways and Limited Access Roadways?

A. No, TIM concepts can be applied anywhere.