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Headlights on…

The work I now do helps to shape national policies and programs in the transportation management, operations, and freight management areas.

Headlights on… Jeffrey LindleyJeffrey Lindley (photo)

Current Company:  Federal Highway Administration

Department: Office of Operations

Position/Title:  Associate Administrator for Operations

Please describe your early aspirations/career goals that led to your current role as Associate Administrator for Operations for the FHWA?

I did my undergraduate study in civil engineering with an emphasis in transportation engineering, which had interested me from an early age.  I was fortunate to land a traffic engineering position after graduation and have been involved in the transportation field since.  I joined FHWA as a research engineer in 1985 to work on transportation management and operations research issues and have held a variety of transportation safety, operations, ITS, and management positions.

Since graduating from Virginia Tech with a civil engineering degree and from the University of Maryland with a Master’s Degree in Transportation Engineering, you have held a vast number of positions in the industry. How has your experience as a civil engineer helped to shape the legislation that you now work on at a federal level?

The work I now do helps to shape national policies and programs in the transportation management, operations, and freight management areas.  My earlier positions as a practicing traffic engineer, transportation engineering consultant, research engineer, transportation management / ITS specialist, and my assignments in FHWA field offices have given me a broad perspective of the safety and operations problems facing States, metropolitan areas, and local communities across the United States.  My focus now is to use that perspective to lead the development of programs and approaches to address those problems.

President Barack Obama recently signed into law Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) that authorizes $105 billion for highway and transit programs through fiscal year 2014. What objectives does FHWA hope to achieve with this funding and how will Safety Service Patrols play a role in meeting these objectives?

The funding provided by MAP-21 will help States and metropolitan areas invest in projects and programs that will create jobs and improve safety and infrastructure condition, reduce congestion and improve system reliability, enhance freight movement and economic vitality, protect and enhance the natural environment, and reduce project delivery delays.  In both the areas of improving safety – our top priority – and reducing congestion, Safety Service Patrols play a vital by assisting motorists and responding to traffic incidents.

In your position at the FHWA, you provide national leadership and advocacy for the development and implementation of strategies and programs to reduce congestion and improve efficiency and reliability of both freight and passenger movement on the highway system. In your view, how effective are Safety Service Patrols in improving efficiency and reducing congestion on the highway system?

We have anecdotal information and evaluation results from a variety of States and metropolitan areas that indicates that Safety Service Patrols are a key, low cost tool to reduce congestion, improve efficiency and reliability, and safeguard responders and motorists.  When traffic incidents occur, the roving mobility of Safety Service Patrols and connection to a dispatch center enables them to arrive rapidly, obtain situational awareness information, remove vehicles from the roadway for minor crashes, implement scene safety measures, and provide support to responding law enforcement, fire, EMS, towing personnel and others on the scene.  They are trained and able to set up traffic control in accordance with the MUTCD, so that risks to motorists and first responders can be minimized.  FHWA is about to release a cost-benefit tool that will aid jurisdictions in demonstrating the operational effectiveness of these patrols.

What current projects are you working at the FHWA in the realm of highway safety? How are Safety Service Patrols involved in these projects or how can they become involved?

We have engaged in a number of activities that are focused on better traffic incident management (TIM) practices over the last several years.  In the last three years, we have visited the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the United States to conduct workshops designed to elevate the importance of TIM activities and share best practices.  FHWA is also working on a new TIM framework and integrating a revised TIM Handbook into this framework.  In part, framework will highlight the importance of Safety Service Patrols as a TIM tool.  We are also working to improve TIM practices nationally through enhanced coordination and collaboration among key transportation stakeholders and implementing a pilot program focused on collecting and assessing the benefits of TIM using performance measures.  One of our most visible activities over the next several years will be the delivery of the traffic incident responder training developed under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2), which we hope to deliver to more than 1,000,000 first responders over the next several years.

Perhaps the best way that Safety Service Patrol personnel can stay involved in what is happening at the national level is by becoming involved in the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition’s TIM Network (  The National TIM Coalition also maintains a webpage of items that may be of interest to Safety Service Patrols personnel, including individual State plans and best practices.  Visit:

What resources do you recommend state departments of transportation and toll road authorities use to facilitate the safe and effective operations of Safety Service Patrols across the country?

We maintain current information, publications, technical guidance, and other material on TIM programs and practices, including Safety Service Patrols, at  The National TIM Coalition site noted above is another great resource.

In 2007, the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition announced a National Unified Goal that included a pledge from the leading national responder organizations to work together to improve communication and coordination at crash scenes in order to minimize factors that can delay road clearance. Can you comment on the effectiveness of the NUG to date and FHWA’s role in supporting this initiative?

FHWA directly supported the development of the NUG through funding provided to the National TIM Coalition and participation in the process. The NUG is referenced in everything FHWA does related to TIM, from identifying national level program needs to supporting the development of TIM action plans at the State and local level.  FHWA is proud to be a supporter of the NUG and actively assists States and local jurisdictions view it as a tool that may be used in enhancing or building its local TIM Program.  Almost five years after the adoption of the NUG, it has been extremely effective in improving responder safety, safe quick clearance, and interoperable communication among responders and TIM program managers at all levels of government.

Given your experience in TIM, how do you think Safety Service Patrols compare with other incident management programs?

Safety Service Patrols are an important element of a comprehensive TIM program.  They are often transportation’s most visible element and are often in a unique position to provide information and recommendations based on the on-scene situation.  Safety Service Patrols are an important element in safeguarding motorists, but also focus on rapidly clearing blocked lanes and traffic incident scenes.

What changes in incident management do you envision over the next decade and how will it impact SSPs?

I believe that we will see enhanced capabilities in many areas with still maturing programs.  I also believe that connected-vehicle technology, which will enable vehicle-vehicle and vehicle-infrastructure communications and applications, will help motorists avoid becoming involved in crashes and avoid traffic incident scenes altogether through better traveler information and dynamic routing.

Moreover, due to FHWA’s efforts and those of our first responder partners, such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, U.S. Fire Administration and others, agencies will have well-trained responders who understand their respective roles and are committed to working together.  FHWA expects important advancements in the three main NUG objective areas at the national, State, regional and local levels, with partnering between transportation maintenance crews, public works crews and Safety Service Patrols to enhance the reach of the Safety Service Patrols.

What is the one theme you would want to reinforce in Safe Highway Matters’ forum?

The key for the advancement of TIM programs in the United States is “leadership” – understanding the strategic value of TIM to transportation safety and efficiency, incorporating it into agency vision, policies, and training, and making it happen.  An underlying theme is “partnerships” and the continued progress towards improving communication, coordination and collaboration among transportation and public safety agencies. Traffic incident management is important business, and Safety Service Patrols play a key role, but we need sustained leadership and partnership to realize the benefits.

Back to Safe Highway Matters: Fall 2012








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