March 13, 2007
The Mobility Corps

This sounds like a good idea.

Responding to traffic hot spots by motor scooter, compact car and bucket truck, the city's long-awaited Mobility Response Team will hit the streets in July to guide traffic safely past accidents and broken stoplights.

The team, which Mayor Bill White outlined last May, will include 24 civilian mobility service officers dispatched from the Houston TranStar control center and working from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., under police supervision.

"There's no substitute for a human being who is trained, with judgment, being on the site to direct that traffic," White said in explaining the plan last week to the City Council.

"We need to have civilians properly trained and in uniform doing that so we don't have to take police officers off the beat," he said.

Wearing khaki uniforms and lime-green vests, the mobility team will stay mostly on city streets, leaving hazardous freeway scenes to the Houston Police Department's motorcycle patrol, said Lt. Jeff Rosenthal, who will oversee the team along with three police sergeants.

They'll have Houston Police Academy training, and will also have the equipment to fix broken traffic lights, but they won't be full-fledged cops; this is all they'll be doing. Seems to me that's what you want - having a group that's dedicated to traffic control handle this sort of task, which should free up officers for higher-priority work. I look forward to seeing what kind of an effect they can have.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 13, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles