VA Transportation Officials Reflect On Lessons Learned A Year After Winter Storm Standstill

WTOP reports, Virginia DOT has rolled out an automatic phone alert system for drivers whose vehicles are stuck in severe transportation emergencies such as last year’s winter storm that left thousands of drivers trapped for up to 24 hours on a portion of I-95 in northern Virginia, near Washington, DC. The system was implemented as a solution to one of the failures in that emergency: Trapped drivers were unable to get information from VDOT about the situation. The new system will send alerts based on geographic location, and drivers will be able to communicate in a two-way exchange.

An August audit by Virginia’s inspector general cited communication as one of several points of failure in the January storm. The audit followed a 41-page after-action report on the incident that examined, among other things, how the state’s transportation and emergency management departments and the Virginia State Police could improve their responses to similar situations.