Command-Level Decision Making for Transportation Emergency Managers

Command-level decision making is a critical factor in successfully managing and mitigating critical incidents. Incident training for transit emergency response personnel is currently conducted manually. A significant number of individuals (including command-level senior staff) and commitment of time are needed to exercise and train for specific scenarios. At many transit agencies, emergency response and recovery training is conducted one time each year, with varying quality, thereby limiting the opportunities that command-level senior staff have to improve their incident management skills. Simulation provides a safe and realistic environment in which responders can hone their decision-making skills. Research has shown that responders (including command-level staff) who have more experience with critical incidents are more likely to make more “workable,” “timely,” and “cost-effective” decisions. By increasing the effectiveness of training, transit agencies will be better prepared to manage critical incidents. The National Guard Bureau and the TRB Cooperative Research Programs have sponsored development of training simulation scenarios and no-license-fee systems on which to deploy them. Research is needed to develop additional scenarios specifically for the transit industry, which would supplement discussion and operations-based exercises as a means to simulate, train, and assess critical incident decision making reflecting real-world constraints. To do so, the scenarios and the system they are deployed on must be affordable, cost-effective, easy to setup and use, have readily available support, provide a measured assessment, and allow participants to exercise the resources and policies they use currently in response to emergencies. The objective of the research is to develop a scenario-based training system compliant with federal standards (e.g., the National Incident Management System and the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program) and relevant transit industry standards and regulations. It is anticipated that the training system will be delivered through an automated, functional exercise simulation system capable of providing on-demand emergency response training and exercises. It is anticipated that the training system will operate either on an existing platform (e.g., NGB EMST, ACRP AEROS/TUFD) or an alternate system with substantially similar key functions and attributes. The system should accommodate individual training, team training, and multi-agency training within one framework. It should also address novice, intermediate, and expert levels of learning and provide foundational concepts in a knowledge-level system for prerequisite study prior to team exercises, thus moving the learner from novice to expert. The system must be cost free to the end-user, scalable, easy to setup and use, have readily available support, provide a measured assessment, and allow participants to exercise the resources and policies they use currently in response to emergencies. The system should also allow a transit agency/property to customize training and exercises reflecting particular staffing and geographic characteristics. The system must be configured to protect security sensitive information; it should present training and exercise options; and it should be able to track the progress of individual employees and teams in meeting training requirements.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $1060548
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project A-36

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Parker, Stephan

  • Performing Organizations:

    Engineering and Computer Simulations

  • Principal Investigators:

    Ayson, Eglin

    Whitney, George

  • Start Date: 20101101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20210630
  • Actual Completion Date: 20210630

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01648238
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project A-36
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 9 2017 3:02PM