Analysing interoperability between responder agencies at traffic incidents

The 6th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference will be held next week over 22 – 23 May at The Star Gold Coast.

Ms Vanessa Cattermole-Terzic, Principal Behavioural Scientist at the Department of Transport and Main Roads joins us to discuss ‘Analysing interoperability between responder agencies at traffic incidents’.

Vanessa Cattermole-Terzic

Effective traffic incident management optimizes road crash casualty outcomes while minimising the negative flow on effects of incidents, due to congestion. However incident scenes are complex, dynamic environments with distributed intra and inter-agency team functions.

Therefore, determining best practices at individual scenes is not easily evident. Theoretical models from human factors have been shown to effectively analyse complex socio-technical environments and these may be useful for analysing emergency responder functions at traffic incidents. The aim of this study was to investigate the applicability of one such model, Cognitive Work Analysis, as a tool to analyse the traffic incident management workplace, and provide information to improve intra and inter-agency performance and collaboration at incidents.

Results from sections of the Cognitive Work Analysis framework were discussed in this paper. Responders from Queensland Police Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and the Royal Automotive Club Queensland’s Traffic Response Unit participated in a desktop exercise for the study. As anticipated, Cognitive Work Analysis successfully mapped the desktop exercise and identified agency functions, priorities, tasks, and resource requirements, intra and inter-agency collaboration requirements, different operational strategy requirements and produced useful recommendations to further improve traffic incident management.

For more information on the 2017 Australian & New Zealand Disaster & Emergency Management Conference and to secure your spot, visit