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Resource Road Radio Use Pilot Project March 2008 BACKGROUND IMPROPER/INCORRECT USE OF 2-WAY RADIOS A KEY FACTOR IN SERIOUS INJURIES AND POSSIBLE FOREST ROAD DEATHS PROVINCIAL WORKING GROUP FORMED IN 2006 TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM

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Resource Road Radio Use Pilot Project

March 2008


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BACKGROUND

  • IMPROPER/INCORRECT USE OF 2-WAY RADIOS A KEY FACTOR IN SERIOUS INJURIES AND POSSIBLE FOREST ROAD DEATHS

  • PROVINCIAL WORKING GROUP FORMED IN 2006 TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM


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  • crashes and close calls due to lack of communication or miscommunication

  • inconsistencies in calling procedures, signage, area frequencies

  • too many channel changes, especially in multiple user situations (other industries, more than one mill or contractor, etc)

  • mobility of trucks – moving around the province, working in different areas because of weather and seasonal changes, truck shortages, new BCTS reallocation areas, longer hauls, 2 way hauls, mountain pine beetle, dimension logs, specialized mills....


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SPECIFIC ISSUES miscommunication

  • Overlaps of radio traffic from other operations or adjacent drainages

  • More than one radio frequency in use on a road.

  • Too many channel changes, especially in multiple user situations (other industries, more than one mill or contractor, etc)

  • One time or infrequent users have no access to radio frequencies or radio protocol

  • Holder of radio frequency, reluctant to provide access to channel to secondary users


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SPECIFIC ISSUES cont miscommunication

  • crashes and close calls because of lack of communication or miscommunication

  • inconsistencies in calling procedures, signage, area frequencies

  • Call procedures are unclear or change along a road or road system

  • mobility of trucks – moving around the province, working in different areas because of weather and seasonal changes, truck shortages, new BCTS reallocation areas, longer hauls, 2 way hauls, mountain pine beetle, dimension logs, specialized mills....


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  • Working Group formed in 2006 to improve resource road safety with representatives from:

  • MoFR Resource Tenures and Engineering Branch

  • B.C. Timber Sales

  • BCMOFR Radio Operations

  • B.C. Forest Safety Council, Trucksafe

  • Industry Canada, Spectrum Management

  • Working group developed a new communications protocol


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WORKING GROUP PROPOSALS miscommunication:

  • ESTABLISH A STAND-ALONE PROVINCE-WIDE SET OF RESOURCE ROAD CHANNELS

  • MOFR TO ALLOCATE ONE OF THESE CHANNELS TO EACH FOREST SERVICE ROAD SYSTEM

  • ESTABLISH A COMMON SET OF CHANNELS FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING SITES

  • STANDARDIZED ROAD CHANNEL SIGNAGE AT THE START OF A FOREST SERVICE ROAD

  • STANDARD FOR KILOMETRE MARKERS TO INCLUDE ROAD NAME, KM STATION AND DIRECTION OF TRAVEL AS USED ON THAT ROAD

  • TWO PILOT AREAS (CENTRAL/SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND/SUNSHINE COAST & OJAY AREA NEAR TUMBLER RIDGE)

  • IMPLEMENT PROVINCIALLY


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Regulations miscommunication

  • – Forest and Range Practices Act

  • FOREST SERVICE ROAD USE REGULATIONB.C. Reg. 70/2004


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Use of 2-way radio (S. 5) miscommunication

  • 1) A driver on a forest service road who uses a 2-way radio to communicate with other drivers on the road must announce, in accordance with any road markers posted at intervals along the road, 

    • (a) his or her position, and 

    • (b) the branch of the road being travelled, if the radio's signal can be received on more than one adjacent branch of the road. 

    • (2) Subsection (1) applies to a driver only if 

      • (a) the driver uses a radio frequency provided by the holder of a private commercial radio station licence, or other licence under the Radiocommunication Act (Canada) and the regulations under that Act, to communicate with the other drivers, and 

      • (b) the forest service road is posted with a sign that indicates the radio frequency that is to be used.


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Traffic control devices miscommunication (S.6)

  • (1) A district manager or an official may cause a traffic control device to be erected on a forest service road if, in the district manager's opinion, restrictions on the use of the road or the traffic on the road are required to achieve the purposes of section 4 (b) and (c) of the Ministry of Forests Act.

  • (2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), a traffic control device may be used in any of the following ways: 

    • (a) to close the road to all traffic or to specified categories or sizes of motor vehicles including those not engaged in commercial activities; 

    • (b) to close the road totally, or for a specified period of time; 

    • (c) to regulate the movement of traffic; 

    • (d) to require the use of 2-way radio systems during certain hours in order to coordinate the movement of traffic, including specifying the radio frequency to be used on portions of forest service roads;

    • (e) to restrict the use of vehicles having characteristics that could damage the forest service road or create a safety risk; 

    • (f) to warn drivers of hazardous or unusual conditions existing on forest service roads.


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Regulation Summary miscommunicationUse of 2-way radio

In general, a driver on a forest service road who uses a licensed 2-way radio to communicate with other drivers on the road must announce his or her position, in accordance with:

  • any road markers posted at intervals along the road, and

  • the forest service road sign that indicates the radio frequency that is to be used


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MoF Position on Radio Use for Staff miscommunication

  • Ministry policy has been that handheld radios for communicating with other vehicles on resource roads is not permitted - mobile (truck mounted) radio units are required.

  • In cases where temporary Ministry staff or Ministry Contractors (such as fire wardens) require access the Ministry can provide a higher power seatback unit (Mobile “breadboard” with magnetic mount antenna) to improve safety and communications with other road traffic.

  • For Protection staff, fire wardens or other contract users they can obtain a seatback radio by requesting through Regional Radio shops. Several have been ordered for districts.


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COAST PILOT which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)


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INITIAL IMPLICATIONS FOR which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)PILOT AREAS

  • Rationalize road systems and if necessary establish new PoC and road names.

  • Map road systems and spatially assign radio channels

  • Install frequencies in Ministry radios

  • Install new Radio Channel and kilometre marker signs

  • Advise road users

  • Advise public and others


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Notification Letter Template which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

  • Dear Permittee:

  • Please be advised that effective _____________ the Ministry of Forests and Range will be implementing part of the Resource Radio Frequency pilot project. All road users will be required to have the proper channels installed for operation on the ______________ Service Road (FSR). Radio frequencies will be posted at the start of the FSR.

  • It is recommended that permittee's have the full bank of new Resource Road frequencies installed. Industry Canada has sent all radio shops the necessary information to upgrade your radios. The initial frequency for the _______________ FSR is:

  • ____________, Frequency ____________, Tone __________

  • As this is a pilot project, the initial frequency may change if problems with transmissions or reception are encountered.

  • For more information please view the Ministry of Forests and Range website at

  • http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/dsi/ or the BC Timber Sales website at

  • http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/bcts/areas/TSG.htm or contact _______________, Engineering Specialist, BC Timber Sales, Strait of Georgia Business Area, at _______________.

  • Yours truly,

  • Trish Balcaen

  • District Manager

  • South Island Forest District


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Establishing Radio Channels which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)


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Resource Road Channels which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

  • A series of Resource Channels have been dedicated for use on FSR’s. These channels have been previously assigned and are unique to each road system.

  • Radio users are to only use the identified channel for that road system, which will be posted at the start of the FSR (use of alternate RR channels may interfere with other nearby road systems)


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VHF Radio Pilot Projects – Working Channels which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

  • 14 frequencies with 3 tone codes each for a total of 42 dedicated narrow band channels

  • 33 road and 9 loading channels

  • low (5W) and high (30W) power channels

  • standardized signage

  • standardized radio call procedures


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33- RR Channels which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

9- Loading Channels

42- Channels Total


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VHF Radio Pilot Projects – Preliminary Testing Results which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

  • Results to date:

  • 5W channels provide adequate coverage in most cases, often getting good audible reception at 7 – 18 km

  • Subtle ridges can create dead spots but hard to predict by visual inspection, reduces reception to 4 km

  • Adequate coverage depends on topography and road geometry

  • Tsitika signage has been very well received


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FSR Radio Mapping Procedures which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

  • The Road Manager will identify the “Main” road and establish Branch names and numbers.

  • The Road Manager will select the Point of Commencement (PoC) of each road.

  • The PoC will normally be the log dump, highway connection or junction with another FS road.

  • The kilometre numbering for each branch road off of the main will recommence at Km 0 and be spatially established.


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  • What’s an acceptable communication distance?

  • If 5W channels are implemented will a detailed risk assessment be required on each road to find dead spots and position “must call” signs?

  • Finalize call procedures

  • Determine Provincial roll out date

  • Public awareness


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Public/Other Commercial Users Awareness which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

  • Standardized signage

  • Standardized channels

  • Public Service Announcements (PSA’s)

  • Low watt FM broadcasts is key areas (Sproat Lake 88.1 MHz)


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Resource Road Call Procedures which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)


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Radio Call Procedure Goals which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

This procedure is intended to address four distinct parts;

  • 1) provision of dedicated “Resource Road Safety Channels”;

  • 2) Provision of operational “Loading Channels”

  • 3) Establishment of standardized road signage

  • 4) Development of standardized radio call procedures


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VHF Radio Pilot Projects – Call procedures which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

  • Default Call Procedure identified for province-wide use:

  • Call frequency: every km traveling in either direction

  • Call order: Road Name – Kilometer – Direction – Vehicle type

  • Rules for convoy calling

  • “Must call” at junctions and other key points


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Radio Call Procedures which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)

When using a radio to announce locations, the operator will;

  • Call when entering onto the FSR or onto any named spur roads

  • at each kilometre mark subsequently, or “Must Call” sign

  • announce vehicle type and then information as indicated on the sign (ie “Fuel Truck,--Eve River—12 km—Up”)

  • Every vehicle will call each kilometre


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Road Signage which are available to provide effective coverage to all users while operating on Forest Service Roads (FSR's.)


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Kilometre Signage posted at the PoC

  • Kilometre signs will be installed at every kilometre—visible from both directions

  • Signs will indicate road name, road mark and direction of travel.

  • Kilometre signs will be installed both ways on the road, to cover travel in either direction


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VHF Radio Pilot Projects - Signage posted at the PoC

  • New signage



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Loading Channels posted at the PoC

  • The loading channels are intended to be utilized for communications for operational requirements (e.g. between truck drivers and loader operators, during loading and unloading situations). They are not to be used while travelling on roads

  • Upon entering a cut block, landing or sort yard the radio channel to be used will be posted along with the worksite operator’s company name.

  • The worksite operator may select any of the available Loading Channels providing it does not conflict with other users in the immediate area.

  • The worksite operator will be responsible for supplying and installing the LD sign.


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Loading Channels cont posted at the PoC

  • The loading channels are intended to be utilized between truck drivers and loader operators, during loading and unloading situations. They are not to be used while traveling on roads

  • Upon entering cut block, landing or sort yard the radio channel to be used will be posted along with the worksite operators company name.


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Loading Channels posted at the PoC


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Loading Channels Signage posted at the PoC


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Trucksafe posted at the PoC

SAFETY IMPLICATIONS

On the Road to Safety


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  • How will this make the roads safer? posted at the PoC

  • every radio-equipped vehicle will have the same resource road safety channels programmed in across the province

  • dedicated resource road safety channels will be clearly identified by specific signage, which will ensure clear communication

  • road channels will not be used for loading channels

On the Road to Safety


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  • Forestry TruckSafe’s posted at the PoCCommitment

  • education of road users around new radio

  • channels and usage

  • communication with road users through

    Forest Safety Council website, Rumblings

    newsletter, presentations, media, public

    meetings

  • exploring options on finding funding assistance for re-programming with new channels in pilot areas

  • communications with Industry Canada and BC Timber Sales re: radio-use related incidents on roads

  • development of regional “radio calling procedures” with stakeholders

On the Road to Safety


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  • Forestry TruckSafe’s Commitment cont’d posted at the PoC

  • to support BCTS contractors by providing information packages

  • to educate non-forestry resource road users – oil & gas, mining, guiding, tourism, service industry

  • to provide web-based on-going support that will allow road users to identify what channels are used where; who is using them, what the “rules of the road are” and what the radio calling protocols are

  • provide “hotline” support to deal with issues as they arise

On the Road to Safety


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Trucksafe posted at the PoCSAFETY SURVEY FOR STANDARDIZED OFF-HIGHWAY RADIO CALLING PROCEDURES


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VHF Radio Pilot Projects – Call procedures Truckers/Users Perspective

  • Opportunity to fine-tune procedures for local conditions

  • Changes should be developed and endorsed by a road user committee

  • Positive feedback from recent Trucksafe survey:

  • Province wide standard supported

  • Majority favor “Up / Down” for call direction


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1. In your opinion, which of the following issues around radio use are the top three contributors to crashes or unsafe road use around the province?



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Calling direction: “Up” and “Down” good idea?

  • The proposed new rules would require vehicles to call “up” as they move away from the highway and “down” as they move towards the highway.


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3. Do you agree with the logic behind the working group’s recommendation to use “up” and “down” to indicate direction?



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Calling order their position on the radio?:

  • The proposed new rules would require drivers to call “Road – kilometer- direction – ‘type’ of vehicle”

  • Since knowing what’s coming may change how a driver chooses to operate (i.e.: pickup vs. log truck),

  • and since order of calling is important because often operators will start speaking before they key the mike, this calling order was chosen to try and make sure the most important information has the highest chance of getting broadcast. Signage will match the calling order.



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6. Should vehicles identify what type they are? recommendation about calling order(e.g.: pickup, lowbed, tanker, etc)



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8. What is the best way to inform road users about the radio calling standard? (Indicate as many as you like)


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Incident Reports Involving Radio Communications Lapses calling standard? (Indicate as many as you like)as reported to the B.C. Forest Safety Council (Trucksafe)


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Why is a standard radio use protocol necessary? calling standard? (Indicate as many as you like)

  • to reduce incidences of crashes in the bush because somebody was on the wrong channel

  • to ensure that wherever you are in the province, you have the right channel in your radio

Both these incidents were loaded trucks rear-ending other loaded trucks in adverse weather conditions –both weren’t on the right channel as they were short term hauls, and didn’t get channels programmed into their radios.


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