Crashes Involving Freeway Maintenance Vehicles Responding to Incidents in Pennsylvania Decreased from 30 in 2018 to Zero in 2020 in Areas Where Agency Vehicles Broadcast Real-Time Incident Alert Messages to Traveler Information Services and In-vehicle Navigation Apps.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Deployed an Incident Alert Notification System to Push Alerts to Motorist Smartphones Via Third Parties.

Date Posted

Emergency Vehicle Alerts Boost Driver Awareness

Summary Information

Motorist alert systems aim to inform drivers of the location of first responder activity on roadways and boost driver awareness of traffic incidents. Other than infrastructure components like information signs, motorists may receive alerts through smartphone applications or connected on-board units. Specifically, this study highlighted that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission equipped 158 maintenance and service patrol vehicles with the ability to broadcast emergency alerts, which aimed to share real-time incident information to a mapping provider to push notifications to subscribers within the vicinity of an incident. Impacts on the crash rate of emergency response vehicles were assessed.


When a traffic incident is detected, the service vehicle activates its vehicle mounted amber emergency warning lights and send a signal to the map and navigation service provider. The map provider then pushes an alert to road users who subscribes to these Traveler Information Services to improve situational awareness. 


  • Between 2018 and 2020, crashes involving freeway maintenance vehicles responding to incidents decreased from 30 to 0 in areas of Pennsylvania where agency vehicles broadcasted real-time incident alert messages to traveler information systems and in-vehicle navigation applications.
  • The incident management notification system was estimated to have alerted 2.8 million road users who subscribed to the map and navigation service provider to incidents happened on the Pennsylvania Turnpike network over 1.5 years.
  • Because responder vehicle location is a key part of the technology, some agencies succussed in using data dashboards for better resource management.
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Deployment Locations