The growing importance of traffic control management at road races creates a niche for AWP
We recently caught up with Clint Thezan and Todd Crider of AWP, Running USA's "Official Traffic Control Company," who offered insights into AWP's offerings for road races, trends they are seeing in traffic management of road races and more.
Running USA (RUSA): For those unaware of AWP and the services you offer, what's a general overview of what you can provide a road race?
AWP: In short, AWP can assist anything related to traffic control for an event director. We can erect signage, assist with cone placement for the running course, set barricade to secure the race course, establish detours away from the race course, assist ingress and egress to and from and event including packet pickup. We provide, set, and pickup equipment such as VMS/arrow boards, barricade, cones and barrels, pedestrian/French barricade and TMA vehicles.
Our services also include handling all traffic ingress and egress, design of Temporary Traffic Control Plans (TTCP) that complement the race course. We can even assist with parking management and placement of no parking signs ahead of event day.
RUSA: AWP wasn't always in the endurance events space. What created this addition to the company?
AWP: AWP has randomly assisted with endurance events and had some success early on. We then realized that there is really no one in the traffic control space that truly has a knowledge of event execution combined with DOT regulated traffic control. We also noticed that local governments are placing more regulations on events to keep them safe and requiring events to utilize traffic services.
Nowadays, local governments typically don't want to see police officers setting up traffic controls except where an officer is required...they want them policing. Given this knowledge, we then invested in industry professionals like Todd Crider, who is also a competitor, to bring the knowledge of endurance sports and authenticity in the event world to AWP. We are getting better every day and continue to learn savvy best practices with each event. The comprehensive knowledge we build on from years of performance in this space only brings greater benefits to our event clients.
AWP: We work with every type and size off race event from a 5k to Marathons and long-distance relay events in the running world. We have also assisted with triathlons and cycling events of all sizes. Types of service vary from event to event based on several factors. We have some events where we literally provide turn-key service of everything listed above from start to finish...including development of a Temporary Traffic Control Plan to setup and teardown of the event with a full events staff. We also service small events by renting equipment such as stands, cones and barricade. We truly can partner with events of all shapes and sizes.
RUSA: What's one trend you're seeing in traffic control logistics in sporting events and/or endurance events in 2017?
- Municipalities wanting less ownership of traffic control and placing it back on the events.
- Local governments and constituents want Police policing at events rather than setting up barricade and the race course
- More local government requiring Temporary traffic control plans for the event execution
RUSA: Logistics obviously play a key role in what AWP does. What's the process look like when you begin working with a race?
AWP: We take the time to learn as much about each race as possible. Our initial conversation begins in going over a race director’s checklist with the client. It’s a comprehensive list that enables our estimating team to provide an accurate quote. If it’s a complex setup then we will schedule a course tour between AWP and the race director. Our staff works closely with the race director to determine all the time lines involved in having the course and the outer lying equipment placed at the correct time and place. This data is used by operations to secure the availability of the equipment on race day. It also gives us time to transfer equipment amongst AWP facilities if needed.
RUSA: What's one area you notice races often overlook or under plan for when talking through their traffic planning?
- Permitting and local requirements
- Securing Traffic control too close to an event, leaving it to chance whether the traffic company has enough equipment available on short notice. If it hasn’t been reserved far enough in advance, the needed equipment could already be allocated to other customers.
- Underestimating the amount of equipment or number people to set up an event, as well as underestimating the amount of time it takes to set up.
What's the plan for AWP in the endurance sports space over the next 12-18 months?
AWP: Continue being a good partner and continually improve our offerings with each event so that we are sure to be known as the best in-class traffic control company in the events industry