Kansas City Scout


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MoDOT ANNOUNCES The Debut of I-49 in MO

Posted by Nancy Powell
Kansas City Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor

This historic occasion heralds the Interstate designation of 180 miles of what was formerly known as US 71 Highway along the western edge of Missouri south of Kansas City.  This act culminates years of planning to upgrade the route to interstate highway standards, which included the addition of new interchanges, overpasses and outer roads.  These safety enhancements did away with at-grade intersections, improving the overall safety for motorists using this highly travelled north – south route between Missouri and Louisiana.
The official unveiling ceremony was conducted at noon on Tuesday in Joplin, MO.  U.S. Senator Roy Blunt was a featured speaker along with Federal Highway officials and MoDOT Director, Kevin Keith.  Signs along the roadway now bear both the Interstate 49 shield as well as the US 71 sign since it will remain part of the national U.S. corridor.   North of the Three Trails Memorial Crossing in southern Kansas City, the route will retain its US 71 designation.  
Photo by Bob Edwards, MoDOT SW District Customer Relations Manager

Operationally, the new designation will impact commercial truckers and farmers using Interstate 49, as rules and regulations differ pertaining to maximum weight and axle weight distribution for trucks travelling on an interstate highway.  Additionally, agricultural implements are prohibited for operating under their own power on an interstate highway.  This machinery will need to be hauled beginning Dec. 12.  For more information about these regulations or to obtain an oversize, overweight permit, please contact MoDOT’s Motor Carrier Services division toll free at 866-831-6277.


Friday, November 30, 2012

December is here! Please Celebrate Responsibly!


Don't Be a' Blitzen!


 ...and Don't Drive Impaired!!

Posted by Nancy Powell 
KC Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor

As November winds down and December dawns under sunny skies and 60 degree temps, we here at Scout have been planning and preparing for winter since early fall, just in case. Fortunately, our readiness and resources haven’t yet been required.
But the holiday party season arrived last week.  Whether you are hosting a celebration or attending a gathering where alcohol is served, please assure that a designated driver is in the mix, for those who may enjoy the party a bit too much.  It’s just the right thing to do!
Here are a few SOBERING facts for you to consider:

1.  There were 17 roadway fatalities and 69 serious injuries attributed to impaired drivers in Missouri during December 2011
2.   Drivers aren’t always the only victims in these crashes.  In 2011, 216 people were killed and 865 sustained serious injuries in accidents that involved at least 1 impaired driver
3.   If you cause a fatal crash while intoxicated, you can be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony resulting in up to seven years of prison time, a $5,000 fine or both.
4.   If that crash involves a highway worker, the fine is up to $10,000 and loss of license for up to a year.

Scout is vigilant in getting out this message, because we lost one of our own to a drunk driver in September and we vowed to use every opportunity to share this simple request:


Expect to see reminders around town in participating restaurants and places where alcohol is served. MoDOT is mounting a statewide ‘Impaired Driving’ campaign December 10th through 16th to keep awareness levels up and fatalities down.  Look for these guys at your favorite watering holes! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

KC Scout thanks Boy Scout Troop 178

Troop 178 From Nativity of Mary, Independence, MO

Posted by Nancy Powell
KC Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor

As part of my duties at Scout, I often give group tours of our Traffic Management Center. One such tour occurred earlier this week with 16 young Tiger Cub and Webelo Boy Scouts from Nativity of Mary Scout Troop 178 in Independence, MO. These young people, accompanied by numerous parents and Scout Leaders, were a very attentive audience as I explained the history and function of KC Scout’s Traffic Management Center. Their questions were excellent! They wanted to know how cameras worked in the rain and fog; they asked if our cameras were equipped with night vision; they wanted to know if our equipment used antennas; they asked what happens when cameras stop working; they asked if we ever had equipment stolen or destroyed. They were eager to share what they knew about traffic safety rules such as moving over for emergency vehicles, and they were aware of the dangers that highway workers experienced on the job.

After all the questions had been answered, the den mother who arranged the tour earlier in the month, remembered our having discussed that my son had been involved in Cub Scouting many years ago and was now an officer in the US Army, once again deployed to Afghanistan. She handed me a stack of handmade cards from these young Scouts, honoring Veteran’s Day and thanking soldiers everywhere for helping to keep America safe. She told me the Troop would keep cards and letters coming and will hold my son and his troops up in prayer. Then a dad introduced himself as a dispatch officer with the Independence Police Department. He expressed his ongoing condolences for Scout’s recent loss of Clifton Scott, Motorist Assist Operator. Their personnel were also on scene that awful night and for them, as for us, the healing continues. My heart was touched and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet these young people and their involved parents and leaders. Thanksgiving Day has lasted all through the week! 
Thank you, Troop 178


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012


From Your Friends at KC Scout

Posted by Nancy Powell
KC Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor

KANSAS Roadway Fatality Numbers for 2012

On November 5, 2012 the Topeka Capital-Journal reported a total of 313 fatalities on Kansas roadways for the first 10 months of 2012.  To call attention to this startling statistic, KDOT, the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office, KHP and AAA have compared the loss of 313 lives to that of the population of Arcadia, KS located near the western border of the state.  In this context, had Arcadia been wiped off the map due to disease or disaster, there would be a massive public reaction.

We call attention to 313 unnecessary deaths because we believe the same sense of public outrage and demand for response is needed to reduce roadway fatalities.
Norraine Wingfield, KTSRO’s Project Director.

In August alone, 74% of Kansas roadway fatalities were attributed to unbelted occupants.  Protect yourself and those you love.  Visit KDOT’s website for important Holiday/Winter travel information and news:


Buckle Up, Every Trip, Every Time


Monday, November 19, 2012

Seat Belt Use is Up In the USA Today

Posted by Nancy Powell
Kansas City Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor

As reported in Thursday's USA TODAY, seat belt usage nationally, hit a record high this year with 86% of motorists now buckling up, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.  This represents a 2% increase over last year.  The largest gain in regional use came from the South with 85% of motorists using seat belts over last year’s 80% usage.  U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood noted that seat belt use has continued its upward trend from 1994 when only 58% of motorists surveyed claimed to regularly use seat belts.

Each June, state surveys are conducted at pre-selected locations in numerous counties. The data collected at these sites is calculated into a safety belt usage rate using a formula approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The safety belt usage survey enables data collection from locations representative of 85 percent of the state’s population. The data collection plan is the same each year for consistency and compliance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Guidelines.  Data is collected on an annual basis and this measure is updated in October of the following year. Safety belt use in Missouri remained at 79 percent in 2012, the same as 2011. This represents the highest usage in Missouri since 2004.  Kansas numbers have not yet been released for 2012.
In Missouri the numbers stack up like this:
Information from "Tracker", MoDOT's Performance Measurements Tool
Last month, Missouri transportation officials met and released a “Blueprint to Save More Lives,” that identifies statewide initiatives to achieve a goal of reducing fatalities in Missouri to 700 or fewer by 2016. In August of 2012, MoDOT began a campaign to call attention to the number of roadway fatalities in the state. Each week, the fatality totals are posted on a number of message boards around the State, including the percentage of fatalities due to unbelted occupants. 
As of November 19, 2012
Currently, 33 states have a primary safety belt law, including Kansas. The primary seat belt law means law enforcement may stop a vehicle if they observe an occupant is not wearing a safety belt. Missouri has a secondary safety belt law, which means law enforcement may not stop a vehicle solely to determine safety belt compliance. Law enforcement must observe another driving violation to stop a vehicle and issue a safety belt citation.


This week ushers in the Holiday season with families travelling across the country to visit loved ones.  Please don’t be the next highway statistic.    BUCKLE UP AND ARRIVE ALIVE! 
Let Thanksgiving last throughout the year!

From Your Friends At KC Scout!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Posted by Nancy Powell
Kansas City Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor

Today is an important day for our Nation as well as our states.  Please participate in the process.  It's a responsibility we share as Americans.  The issues are complex.  The choices not always easy.  But it is worth remembering that America's sons and daughters, mothers and fathers are serving this country both here and abroad to defend the right to cast a vote for the candidate of one's choice. 
In one week, we will be honoring our Veteran's, past and present. We did that last week here at Scout with our USO Tribute.  Thank a veteran today, next week and in the months ahead.  Your simple acknowledgment of their service will mean more than you may ever know.  I ask this, partly because my son proudly serves in the US Army and will be redeployed back to Afghanistan in two weeks but mostly because it is the right thing to do!
America, the beautiful, is recovering from Hurricane Sandy's destruction on the east coast, wildfires on the west coast, and its national fabric is fraying due to a long campaign season of partisan politics.  Let's heal this divided country. 
During tours of KC Scout's Traffic Management Center, I remind visitors that Scout is a bi-state operation, jointly funded and managed by two Departments of Transportation (MO and KS), one urban, one primarily rural, with two very different cultures and operating philosophies.  But what is remarkable about Scout, is that our two state government agencies work together, despite their inherent differences, to solve a common problem: managing traffic congestion in the metro KC area.

Celebrate America on this Election Day!


Monday, November 5, 2012

On a less serious topic... KC Scout Wins 1st Place!


… For “Best Dressed Department” in MoDOT’s KC District Annual Halloween Costume Contest with Cathy Jones, KDOT’s Liaison to KC Scout earning 1st Place honors for “Best Individual Costume.” 
Posted by Nancy Powell, KC Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor
L-R, Nancy Powell, Howard Anderson, Cathy Jones,
Amy Stevinson and Don Spencer at the USO!
Mr. Miller's appearance
courtesy of Jason Sims
Throughout the year, MoDOT and Scout focus on getting the job done safely and keeping costs under control.  But periodically, as an organization, MoDOT promotes departmental team spirit with District Management’s support of fun events for its hardworking state employees.  Halloween is one of those unique occasions.  This year’s event was sponsored by the Employee Advisory Extension Council.

Cathy Jones as "Rosie The Riveter"  1st Place Individual Winner!
Scout takes this annual challenge very seriously and has built a reputation of “staging” elaborate theme-oriented  entries.  This year we presented “USO Tour ‘43” complete with homemade goodies, patriotic decorations and Big Band music.  During the costume judging, Bob Hope (Don Spencer) welcomed everyone, assisted by Glenn Miller (Jason Sims) on his saxophone belting out a bluesy “In The Mood.”  Army grunt (Howard Anderson) got the crowd on its feet when he dropped to the floor after launching a grenade at the judge’s table, barely missing Judge Brian Kidwell but launching a round of laughter among the troops!  But the heroine of the day was Scout’s own “Rosie The Riveter” (Cathy Jones) who also coordinated this year’s collaborative theme.

Henry Uti Salutes The Troops!
Three years ago, Scout’s glass-walled TMC went under the sea to become an AES (Aquarium of Exotic Species).  The next year, we promoted our favorite musical heroes at “Rock Fest 2010” and last year’s theme “Crypt Of The Living Dead” was ghoulishly fun!  No one can say the hard-working folks at Scout don’t know how to play well together!
2009 "Under The Sea" with Scout!

Rock Fest 2010
2011 Crypt Inhabitants


Even Scout's Mascot gets into the act

Monday, October 15, 2012


Posted by Nancy Powell, KC Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor

KC Scout Supports Belton Masonic Lodge #450 Child Identification Program

Event held at the High Blue Wellness Center, Belton, MO

This most worthy FREE annual community event was held on Saturday, October 6th in Belton, MO.  Sponsored jointly by the Missouri Masonic Children’s Foundation and Belton Masonic Lodge #450, MOCHIP is a comprehensive child identification and protection program designed to provide Missouri families with a proactive means of being prepared if a child or teenager goes missing.  Volunteers from Belton Masonic Lodge #450 coordinated and promoted the event while a team of St. Joseph area Lodge and Auxiliary members provided the technology used to capture a child’s digital photograph, fingerprints and vital AMBER Alert compatible information which is then provided to parents on a mini-CD disc.  A+ students from Belton High School assisted with the data capture and collection. No information was retained by the organization and all computers were fully scrubbed of any information at the conclusion of the event.  The only record that is kept by the Foundation is the signed parental consent form.
Scout backpacks, coloring books & crayons were handed out
to more than 175 children at the event. 

In addition to height and weight information, digital facial photos and fingerprints, a dental bite impression was captured, which like fingerprints, is unique to each individual.  The wafer also collects enough saliva to provide a DNA sample and a source scent for trained canine search and recovery teams.  Combined, this information is a valuable resource for law enforcement in the critical minutes following the discovery that a child is missing.
KC Scout staff along with MoDOT Motorist Assist Operator Craig Burgett were on hand to answer questions about AMBER Alert activations and the role KC Scout plays in assisting local law enforcement.  During the five hour event, over 170 children from toddlers to teens were safeguarded by having their personal identity profile captured to CD for easy retrieval and sharing by parents if the unthinkable should happen.  And as we know from all too recent experience, it does happen.  Best to be prepared!
KC Scout Motorist Assist Operator Craig Burgett

Belton PD School Resource Officer Tom Phillips and Cathy Jones, KC Scout


St. Joseph Lodge Technical Support/Registration Volunteer

Masonic Lodge #450 Volunteers

Friday, October 12, 2012

AMBER Alert Marks 10 Year Milestone

Posted by Nancy Powell
KC Scout TMC Supervisor

But sadly, not all AMBER Alerts have happy endings
Earlier this evening before posting this blog, Colorado authorities positively identified the dismembered body of missing 10 year old Jessica Ridgeway, who disappeared on her way to school in Westminster, CO last Wednesday, October 5th.  An AMBER Alert was issued that same day, but there was very little information available at that time.  Jessica's father and his family reside in Independence, MO and we extend our sincere sympathies on their tragic loss. 
This month marks the 10th Anniversary of the DOJ mandate that all 50 states adopt the AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert system, which unofficially began in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. That impromptu plan was created as a legacy to nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnaped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities soon set up their own AMBER plans as the idea was adopted across the nation. 
In October 2002, then President George W. Bush, directed Attorney General (and Missouri native) John Ashcroft to appoint an AMBER Alert Coordinator at the first-ever White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children.  Subsequently, the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act, was signed on April 30, 2003, which strengthened law enforcement’s ability to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish violent crimes committed against children. The PROTECT Act codified the previously-established National AMBER Alert Coordinator role in the Department of Justice. 
According to the AMBER Alert website, 591 abducted children have been safely recovered since 1996.  Today all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have AMBER Alert plans. 
The US Department of Transportation was an early supporter of the use of electronic roadway message devices for AMBER Alert notifications to the motoring public.  In August of 2002, the FHWA Office of Operations issued a Policy Memorandum to state DOTs detailing consistent criteria for using CMS/DMS (Changeable Message Signs/Dynamic Message Signs) to help recover abducted children that has proven successful across the country, both as a means of locating an abducted child and serving as a deterrent to those who may be considering such an act.  Furthermore, federal funding was made available to implement such programs at the state DOT level as early as February 2003.
KC Scout actively participates in the issuance of AMBER Alerts when the issuing agency is one of three distinct sources; The Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Kansas City Metro Squad or the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.  Local law enforcement agencies must coordinate with one of these three agencies in order for an AMBER Alert to be posted on Missouri and Kansas KC Scout message boards.  The intent of this policy is to assure that the information is vetted fully to avoid false or hoax notifications from persons engaged in custody battles or with an intent to distribute misinformation.
For more information, visit the AMBER Alert website at: (http://www.amberalert.gov/site_index.htm)

Friday, October 5, 2012

On A Very Sad Note

Posted by Nancy Powell
KC Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor


"...When will they ever learn?..."

The line above is from the 1961 folk song by Pete Seeger entitled “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”  It was originally penned as a rhetorical meditation on death that has since been re-recorded in various genres dozens of times over the past 50 years.  It stood as an anthem against the loss of young soldiers during the Vietnam era, and now, half a century later, the message is still one of senseless loss among other heroes of these modern times.  MoDOT and the KC Scout family continue to grieve the devastating loss of Mr. Clifton Scott, a 15 year Department veteran and beloved colleague who died after being struck on I-70 early on the morning of September 21st as he was assisting first responders on the scene of an earlier accident.  His life was taken in an instant by a driver who chose to get behind the wheel of a car with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit.   The emphasis is on the word “chose” because that driver had other choices that night.  He could have called a cab or a family member but instead he chose to exercise his right to poor judgment and will have to live the remainder of his life with the consequences of his actions.  Clifton Scott’s 15 year old son, Clifton, Jr. will live the remainder of his life without the companionship and love of an adoring father. 

But one senseless death was apparently not enough to make others choose more wisely.  On September 29th, the day that Mr. Scott was laid to rest, a 41 year old man from Kansas City was struck and killed while he stood outside his broken down minivan on I-35 in Johnson County by an inattentive driver who also struck a second pedestrian at the scene, before running away from the wreckage.  And it gets worse.  On Monday, October 1st a 54 year old woman died in a crash at 40 Hwy and I-70 involving a semi tractor trailer that turned left in front of her vehicle.  Drunk driving, distracted driving, it has many names.  But it has one common characteristic – it can be avoided.  It is a simple choice. 

“When will they ever learn?”  Let that day be today.  MOVE OVER and SLOW DOWN for Emergency Vehicles, including MoDOT and Tow vehicles on the roadway.  DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE!!  No message is worth losing your life or taking another’s.  DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!! Use good judgment instead of standing in judgment for a bad decision that can never be undone.  The choice belongs to everyone.


“Where have all the flowers gone?  Gone to young men everyone.”
Rest In Peace,
Clifton Scott
Sept. 25, 1961 – Sept. 21, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Attired for Success

Posted by Nancy Powell, Scout Traffic Management Center Supervisor

Like most organizations, KC Scout adopted a business casual dress code for its Traffic Systems Operators.  Their jobs are not glamourous, but they do work with the latest technology in a modern Transportation Management Center and the work they perform helps keep motorists and the general public informed of traffic related incidents on our major highways and interstates.

Recently two of Scout's midday Operators, decided to raise the notch and dress for success on Tuesdays in a new tradition that has become known as "Tie Tuesday."  Last Tuesday they doubled their efforts in honor of a co-worker's 50th birthday!  Doubtful this will catch on but it's nice to see men attired in business suits on occasion!

Scout salutes David and Ronnie, two distinctively sartorial individuals!

David Peterlin and Ronald Fellers


Monday, March 12, 2012

Scout Integrating Weather With Traffic Management

Posted by Nancy Powell
KC Scout TMC Systems Supervisor

In 2009, KC Scout was selected to participate in a national study by the Federal Highway Administration. This opportunity was designed to help Traffic Man­agement Centers identify current levels of weather integration and determine a strategy for expanding the role that weather plays in roadway management and congestion reduction. In 2010, an Implementation Plan was developed based on six high level needs that had been identified to achieve Scout’s goal to include weather into the Traffic Management Center advisory and control efforts. In 2011, the plan was used and includes six target goals: • Disseminate weather information to a larger set of stakeholders and users in the region • Provide better enroute information on weather conditions to aid travelers in decision making • Develop and implement clear, written policies and procedures for handling weather events • Improve the timeliness of weather management response including deployment of field personnel and equipment • Assist in interpreting weather information and how best to adjust operations in light of that information • Provide better real-time information on road conditions during weather events To date, Scout has integrated a direct National Weather Service feed of severe weather advisories and warnings into its software system to automatically alert operators when an event is forecasted. This “push to the desktop” integration relieves the operators from having to maintain separate Internet Explorer windows for reactive tracking of changing weather conditions. Weather events can now be monitored and updated with the same level of effort as any traffic or road­work incident. DMS message boards can be activated in a timely manner and are structured within a messaging hierarchy that allows incident information to take precedence when necessary, with an automatic return to the weather advisory message once that incident has cleared. In addition, Scout can now track and measure impacts of weather messaging on a real-time basis to determine if advisory messages are being heeded by the motoring public and altering driving behavior to reduce collisions, slide-offs and other preventable traffic impacts. Having weather integrated into Scout’s operational plan is another way of utilizing technology to keep the motoring public safe and informed while reducing the impact of deteriorating road conditions during severe weather events.