A Report Shows Unmanned Aircraft Systems Can Reduce Road Closure Times by 75 Percent When Deployed for Traffic Incident Management (TIM) saving $350 per minute.

A Report on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Details the Benefits and Cost Advantages When Implemented for Traffic Incident Management.

Date Posted

Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Traffic Incident Management

Summary Information

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) also known as drones, are aircraft that do not carry a human operator and are autonomous or remotely operated. UAS can provide aerial footage, collect data, and deliver payloads. This report describes how unmanned aircraft systems can benefit TIM-related activities by providing a general overview, benefits, and implementation guidance. UAS have proven to be cost effective when implemented within TIM deployments. In 2018, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) conducted a pilot program using UAS. For the program, the WSP held 125 UAS deployments in the state of Washington. The goal of the pilot program was to use UAS to conduct traffic crash investigations and determine the benefits of using UAS for TIM.


The Washington State Patrol documented 125 UAS deployments during their pilot program in 2018 and found that the deployments provided:

  • Seventy-five (75) percent reduction in road closure times, which are estimated to cost $350 per minute. 
  • This led to a total of $4,210,500 saved during a 9-month span in 2018.
Goal Areas
Results Type
Deployment Locations