In a continuing effort of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) in freeway incident management, the purpose of this project is threefold: (1) to collect data/information for implementing and coordinating freeway incident management strategies, (2) to prepare an incident response manual with all available data, and (3) to format the available data for possible use in a suitable expert system. The area covered by this study extends from the Four Lakes Interchange (exit 270) on the west to the Idaho state line (exit 299) on the east.
An advisory committee with representatives from all the agencies involved with freeway incident management was formed. The specific needs that everyone in the advisory committee acknowledged were those of coordination, staffing and training.
Information was mostly gathered through interviews with the various agencies, especially with Washington State Patrol (WSP) and WSDOT personnel. Many of the data and information were extracted from accident reports supplied by WSDOT and Computer Aided Dispatch logs from the WSP.
An Incident Response Manual (IRM) was then prepared. The selection of material to be included in the manual was based on the needs identified by the advisory committee. The focus was to provide a framework for the freeway incident management process to facilitate the coordination of the different agencies who play various roles in the process. The manual also provides information specific to the study area, particularly resources for incident response and detour routes in case of closure of any section of the 30-mile stretch of Interstate 90.
Various expert system shells were investigated to determine their feasibility for a knowledge-based expert system for freeway incident management and their suitability for our specific application. The software package KnowledgePro was selected as a development tool quite uniquely suitable for our purpose. Its abilities to develop hypertext-based expert systems and interactive linkages between text and graphics displays merited the selection. With such a development tool, the IRM could be easily coded into a computer version.