DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS: MANAGEMENT OF TRAFFIC CONTROL FUNCTIONS

10-A
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS:
MANAGEMENT OF TRAFFIC CONTROL FUNCTIONS
Problem Identification:
The Bureau of Transportation’s Traffic Control unit is costly to operate and sometimes provides what appears to be duplicative or unneeded services. Additionally, due to their appearance, members of this unit can be confused for Police Department personnel.

Recommended Action:
Utilize uniformed traffic control personnel for only large- scale special events. Additionally, consider transferring management of this function to the Baltimore City Police Department.

Classification:
Cost Savings, Organizational

Functional/Operational Area:
Bureau of Transportation

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
90 days

Next Steps:
Reconsider the necessity of maintaining such a large contingent of traffic enforcement officers. Audit each assigned post, identify the unnecessary, and achieve reductions in force. Consider transferring the operational responsibility for this function to the Police Department.

Analysis:
In FY2000, the Traffic Computer and Communications division of DPW’s Bureau of Transportation had a budget that exceeded $2.1 million. Of this amount, nearly $1.9 million went for traffic control activities related to maintaining the orderly and safe flow of traffic and pedestrians. This unit of nearly 50 enforcement officers is particularly visible at large scale events such as Baltimore Orioles and Ravens games and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts. Additionally, officers are frequently seen at various times of the day in downtown Baltimore attempting to direct traffic and the flow of pedestrians.

The necessity of traffic and pedestrian control personnel is very obvious before and after well-attended public events. During some events at the stadium complex, select intersections have been observed to be occupied by personnel from both the DPW Traffic Unit and the Police Department. This appears to be an unnecessary duplication of effort. Furthermore, the value-added contribution of this unit is questionable during regular morning and afternoon commutes, as well as during the afternoon lunch hours.

Careful consideration should be given as to whether the Police Department might be best positioned to determine the need and deployment of traffic control personnel. If the determination is made that the current level of service provided by the City is redundant or unnecessary, these financial resources should be reapplied to address more pressing service needs.