Incident Response Program

Incident response is a traffic congestion mitigation strategy. It is a team of agencies, vendors, and other resources to respond to, investigate, and clean up traffic incidents.

Incidents must be detected and cleared as fast as possible to minimize the impact on congestion, especially during peak periods. Every minute a lane remains blocked results in four to ten minutes of traffic congestion (depending on traffic volume). The average Washington motorist spends two weeks of every year stuck in traffic so it's easy to see why the Incident Response Team (IRT) serves a crucial role in keeping Washington moving.

Economic Benefit 
Responder and motorist safety are top priority. Blocking incidents, idling cars and late deliveries have a cost. WSDOT estimates that the efforts of its incident response teams saves the economy of Washington State more than $65 million per year in lost time and fuel.

Who do you call for assistance? 
Dial 911 - if you observe debris blocking a travel lane or are involved in a collision, disabled vehicle, or other emergency.

If you have been assisted by the Incident Response Team and would like to leave a comment, please fill out the IRT Comment Card.

WSDOT Partnership
Traffic Incident Management is a key component in the Joint Operations Policy Statement (JOPS) agreement between WSDOT and the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and the WA Fire Chiefs (WFC). We have established a mutual goal of safely clearing highway traffic incidents within 90 minutes. Achieving this goal requires additional partnerships with local fire and EMS services, the tow industry, the media, the insurance industry, transit and the motoring public. The purpose of establishing quick-clearance goals is to enhance motorist and responder safety and minimize congestion.

Policies and initiatives



For information about the program contact  Vince Fairhurst, Incident Response Team Program Manager at 360-705-7287 or Tony Leingang, Incident Management and Operations Administrator at 360-709-8002.