Traffic tiger team takes on morning mess
by Lt. Col. Rick Wright
A tiger team was recently chartered by Col. Irv Lee, 6th Mission Support Group commander, to study traffic flow issues at the three vehicle gates of MacDill. A cross-functional team was selected that consisted of two members from each group within the wing, as well as representation from the two largest mission partners of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command. This team's charter was to observe, assess and recommend possible solutions to alleviate these delays.
These recommendations have been submitted to wing leadership for consideration, but the intent of this article is to identify what the team observed that slowed down traffic at the gates, and ways in which the base populace can assist in reducing traffic congestion at the gates to make the drive to work easier and less stressful for everyone.
Background data was provided to the team that showed the heaviest traffic flow (2,500 vehicles per hour total) at all gates is between 7 and 8 a.m., and on average the Dale Mabry Gate has double the traffic flow of each of the other two gates. Of particular note, there were two engineering traffic surveys done, one in 2002 and one in 2003, both of which had the same results. However, having two sources of data to back this up was necessary to make recommendations based on factual data to senior leadership. Here are some things all team members observed during the course of study:
The team took the data provided, along with the observations detailed above and discussed recommendations to reduce congestion. We noticed that most instances where drivers were having problems entering the base were caused by the drivers themselves-no ID, ID not readily available and having to search through the car for it, people asking for directions, and people contesting entry requirements with the entry controllers were those we observed most. Here are some suggestions that everyone who drives on base should consider to ease the flow through the gates, make everyone's commute a little easier and help security forces get people through the gate quicker:
These observations and recommendations are not scientific, nor conclusive. There is no one silver bullet to fix the traffic congestion at the gates, but everyone must work together and contribute what they can to this effort. For some people, it may be slightly changing duty hours, others may decide to join a carpool or ride the bus, and for some it may simply be having their ID ready when they come to the gate in the morning.
It is everyone's responsibility who lives, works or shops at MacDill to do what they can to assist in this effort. If we don't all pitch in it won't get any better and we'll all be staring at each other waiting to get in the gates.