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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation 2 Emergency and Evacuation Planning and Response This chapter provides an overview of emergency planning and response in general and evacuation planning in particular to provide a context for discussion of the potential role of transit in these plans. The chapter begins with an analysis of the types of disasters that may require emergency evacuation. It then shifts to a description of emergency planning and response, including both general principles and a brief history of emergency planning since the 1950s. A discussion of evacuation planning and response and of the potential contribution of transportation planning agencies follows. The final section reviews sources of funding for evacuation planning and operations. Typology of Major Disasters This study is focused on major emergency incidents that involve an evacuation and exceed local response capacity. The committee sought a database of such incidents to understand more fully their types, frequency, and locations. The only salient longitudinal database is maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA reports on the number of presidentially declared disasters—between 45 and 75 annually in recent years—both natural and human caused, that exceed local capacity, require state and federal assistance, and may involve an evacuation.1 Figure 2-1 displays historical data from the FEMA database by type for the years 1953 through 2007. Severe storms account for two-thirds (66 percent) of the total, followed by floods (10 percent) as a distant second, and hurricanes (8 percent) and tornados (5 percent) in third and fourth place, respectively. 1 The committee was also interested in non–presidentially declared incidents that involve multiple jurisdictions in a region but do not necessarily require federal or even state assistance; however, no database of such incidents could be found.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation FIGURE 2-1 Presidentially declared disasters by major type, 1953–2007. (SOURCE: Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, www.fema.gov/news/disaster_totals_annual.fema.) Major disasters are concentrated geographically. Nearly one-third of all presidentially declared disasters since 1953 have occurred in only 10 states (see Figure 2-2). However, different regions of the country are subject to different types of disasters (see Table 2-1). Another useful distinction is between hazards, such as tropical storms, that provide advance notice and recur with some regularity, and those, such as earthquakes and terrorist events, that strike without warning (no notice). Communities can plan for the former—the Gulf Coast states are a good example, with their designated evacuation routes and hurricane shelter systems—but planning for the latter is difficult.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation FIGURE 2-2 Presidentially declared disasters, top 10 states, 1953–2007. NOTE: Declared disasters in these 10 states represent 32 percent of all disasters. (SOURCE: Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, www.fema.gov/news/disaster_totals_annual.fema.) TABLE 2-1 Major Disaster Types and Locations Type of Disaster Major Geographic Location Winter storm Northeast/Midwest Tropical storm Gulf Coast Tornado Plains states Earthquake Western states Terrorism Large urban areas NOTE: Locations shown are the major ones where each type of disaster occurs. Each can also occur in other locations across the country. SOURCE: Synthesized from the FEMA database of presidentially declared disasters by year, 1953–2007.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation The disasters that have had the greatest impact on emergency management and policy in recent years—the terrorist attacks of September 11, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992—are low-probability but high-impact events as regards their devastation. The importance attached to preparing for such disasters is due to their potential to have catastrophic impacts. Given the general unpredictability of many hazards, uncertainty about their location and extent, and their potential for catastrophic effects, emergency managers and public safety planners have adopted an all-hazards approach to emergency planning and response. This approach is flexible, process-oriented, and scalable to the type and magnitude of a particular disaster. Emergency Planning and Response General Principles Emergency or disaster management is defined as the organization and management of resources and responsibilities involved in dealing with all aspects of emergencies (ISDR 2007). A good emergency management plan begins with a hazard or risk assessment to determine what types of incidents an area is most likely to experience. The risk each hazard poses depends on both the probability of its occurrence and the likely level of its impact. One of the most difficult challenges in emergency management is to determine what scale of emergency to plan for. For example, the Houston area is subject to numerous tropical storms, but only flood-prone areas need to evacuate, even in a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. Yet when Hurricane Rita struck soon after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, 1.5 million to 2.5 million Houstonians took to the roads, clogging the freeways. Since then, local emergency managers and transportation providers, in conjunction with state officials, have developed more robust plans for a mass evacuation and are encouraging sheltering in place where doing so is safe. Nevertheless, it remains an open question whether evacuating a large portion of a major metropolitan area is feasible and whether planning for such an eventuality makes sense. A basic tenet of American emergency management is that incidents should be handled as locally as possible; if an incident overwhelms local
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation capability, mutual-aid agreements with neighboring jurisdictions can and should be invoked or help from higher levels of government secured. Emergency response plans typically comprise four elements: Mitigation, Preparedness Response, and Recovery. Mitigation involves efforts to prevent hazards from developing into disasters in the first place (e.g., through flood levees or land use controls). In the event of a disaster, mitigation also refers to steps that can be taken both in advance of and during response to lessen the likelihood of damage and reduce the impacts. Preparedness involves the development of comprehensive emergency management plans and detailed emergency operational plans. These plans define a decision-making structure (i.e., chain of command), identify which agencies should be represented in the decision-making structure and in what capacity (e.g., primary or supporting role), and establish a communications system. Other key elements of preparedness include training, emergency drills, and plan maintenance and revisions. Many large urbanized areas have established emergency operations centers—sometimes in conjunction with area transportation management centers—where critical decision makers can operate in support of an emergency response. Response involves mobilizing first responders (e.g., police, fire, emergency medical services) and providing emergency support services at the disaster site. Depending on the nature of the incident, the response phase may also involve evacuation from the affected area. Finally, recovery involves reestablishing normal operations and can include returning evacuees to the affected area. Transit agencies can be important participants in all four activities. Transit has a role to play in mitigation by protecting its own assets (e.g., moving vehicles to higher ground during severe flooding) and establishing redundant communications systems to help ensure continuity of service. Transit agencies should also be part of preparedness plans and represented in the emergency command structure. They can play a vital role as well during the response phase, both in helping to evacuate those without access
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation to a private vehicle and in bringing emergency responders and equipment to the incident site. Finally, transit agencies can be involved in recovery, reestablishing normal transit operations and bringing evacuees back to the area if necessary. History The structure of emergency planning and response has evolved over the past 50 years or more, often in response to major disasters.2 For purposes of this brief overview, it is useful to divide this history into three periods. Civil Defense Era and Creation of FEMA Disaster response, particularly the role of the federal government, was formalized in 1950 by two important pieces of legislation. The outbreak of the Korean War and concern about a nuclear attack resulted in the Civil Defense Act of 1950, which expanded the concept of disaster to include intentional human-caused events and recognized the need for a coordinating federal role in disaster response (Ward and Wamsley 2007). The Federal Civil Defense Administration, which reported directly to the President, was created to coordinate civil defense efforts by all levels of government. The Federal Disaster Assistance Act of 1950 formalized a federal role in disaster assistance. It authorized the President to determine when such assistance would be provided (through a presidential declaration) and which federal agencies would be involved. However, the legislation also maintained the primacy of state and local governments in emergency planning and response. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Cold War and the nuclear arms race made the civil defense component of emergency management a priority, relegating federal response to natural disasters to a loosely coordinated response system (Ward and Wamsley 2007). However, a series of natural disasters—the Alaska earthquake of 1964 and hurricanes on the Gulf Coast (e.g., Hurricane Agnes in 1972)—and, finally, the human-caused accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania in 1979 provided the impetus for an overhaul of the nation’s disaster response 2 Much of the material in this section was drawn from Ward and Wamsley (2007) and Sylves (2007). See also “Disaster Time Line” in TR News (Rubin et al. 2007).
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation system and priorities. The states, through the National Governors Association (NGA), requested President Carter to centralize federal emergency assistance functions and streamline the number of agencies with which state and local governments were required to work.3 At the time of the NGA request, federal disaster response was scattered among more than 100 federal agencies. In response to the request, the President signed Executive Order 12148 in 1979, creating FEMA. The new agency began developing a comprehensive emergency management system based on an all-hazards approach to replace the diverse emergency response plans of the agencies it had absorbed. In 1988, Congress passed the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which established a system for initiating federal assistance to state and local governments.4 The act authorized the director of FEMA to prepare a Federal Response Plan (FRP) and required all states to prepare their own Emergency Operations Plans. The FRP was designed to work in tandem with the emerging state plans. Hurricane Andrew and the Reinvention of FEMA The FEMA created in 1979 did not fulfill its promise. During the Reagan Administration, the combination of a refocusing of disaster response on civilian defense and relatively few major natural disasters led to a weakened system for response to the latter events. Then a series of natural disasters occurred—the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in northern California; Hurricane Hugo, also in 1989; and Hurricane Andrew in 1992—and FEMA was widely criticized for its ineffective response. One of only three Category 5 hurricanes to strike the United States in the twentieth century and one of the nation’s costliest hurricanes (Sylves 2007), Andrew struck just before the 1992 presidential election. Newly elected President Clinton responded to the criticism of FEMA by appointing James Lee Witt as its head—the first 3 FEMA absorbed the Federal Insurance Administration, the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration, the National Weather Service Preparedness Program, the Federal Preparedness Agency of the General Services Administration, and the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Civil defense responsibilities were also transferred from the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency of the Defense Department (FEMA History, accessed on line at www.fema.gov/about/history.shtm on July 30, 2007). 4 The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121, et. seq.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation agency director with experience as a state emergency manager. He helped streamline disaster relief and recovery operations, required an agency focus on emergency preparedness and mitigation, and issued guidance (in 1996) to states and local governments for the development of their own emergency operations plans—State and Local Guide (SLG) 101—which remains a staple among state and local emergency planners.5 By the time Witt left the agency in 2001, FEMA had been elevated to the cabinet level. Hurricane Andrew also resulted in a revamping of state mutual-aid agreements, which became a common tool for coordinating disaster response at the state and local levels.6 A major advance in such agreements occurred in the 1990s. The devastation resulting from Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992 made it clear that even with federal support, states would need to call upon each other in times of emergency. Initiated by the Southern Governors Association and the Virginia Department of Emergency Services, the Southern Regional Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)—a state-to-state mutual-aid agreement—was formed in 1993. In 1995, its membership was opened to any state or territory that wished to participate, and the National Emergency Management Association was chosen as its administrator. Congress ratified EMAC in the following year (Public Law 104-321). Post–September 11 The terrorist attacks of September 11 resulted in a dramatic reorganization of emergency planning and response to enhance the nation’s emergency preparedness, particularly at the federal level. In 2001, President Bush established the Homeland Security Council within the White House. In the following year, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 5 The guide (FEMA 1996) provides a tool kit of ideas and advice for those responsible for developing emergency operations plans in state and local emergency management agencies, based on FEMA’s risk-based, all-hazards approach. 6 Some of the first mutual-aid agreements, which evolved into the Incident Command System (ICS), were developed in the 1970s following a series of major wildfires in California. Firefighters drawn from dozens of jurisdictions found that their management structures were incompatible and that they were unable to coordinate their resources to provide an effective response (USDOT 2006). Subsequently, an interagency task force of local, state, and federal agency representatives worked collaboratively to develop the ICS—a consistent, integrated framework for the management of emergencies requiring a multiagency response, which can be scaled appropriately to the size of the incident.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation creating a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—a major reorganization that consolidated FEMA and 22 other federal agencies, programs, and offices into a single cabinet-level agency.7 DHS officially began operations on January 24, 2003, with the mission of providing a coordinated approach to national security for emergencies and disasters, both natural and man-made. President Bush issued a series of national policy directives to build on existing federal, state, and local emergency response initiatives to enhance the capability of all levels of government to respond to major disasters. Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-5, Domestic Incident Management, issued in 2003, mandated that DHS create two plans—the National Incident Management System (NIMS) (also a mandate of the 2002 Homeland Security Act) and the National Response Plan (NRP). NIMS provides a consistent nationwide approach by which federal, state, local, and tribal governments; the private sector; and nongovernmental organizations can work together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic disasters, regardless of their cause, size, or complexity (DHS 2004). NIMS built on and incorporated existing best practices, such as the Incident Command System structure, to form six major components of an integrated systems approach.8 HSPD-5 required that all federal departments and agencies adopt NIMS and made its adoption a prerequisite for state and local jurisdictions to receive federal emergency preparedness assistance beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2005. HSPD-5 also required that DHS develop an operational incident management plan to complement NIMS, integrating federal domestic prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery plans into a single all-discipline, all-hazards approach (DHS 2004). Issued in final form in 2005, the resulting NRP defines the roles of both government agencies at various levels and nongovernmental organizations. The plan assigns these entities responsibilities and functional roles as emergency support functions (ESFs) (see Table 2-2), which serve as the primary operational-level mechanism through which federal agencies provide assistance to state, 7 Public Law No. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135, dated November 25, 2002. 8 The six components are command and management, preparedness, resource management, communications and information management, supporting technologies, and ongoing management and maintenance.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation TABLE 2-2 Emergency Support Functions in the National Response Plan (DHS 2004, ESF-v-vi) with Revisions from the National Response Framework (DHS 2008, 58–59) Emergency Support Functions Primary Department or Agency ESF-1 Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation ESF-2 Communications DHS ESF-3 Public Works and Engineering U.S. Department of Defense (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) [and DHS (FEMA)] ESF-4 Firefighting USDA (U.S. Forest Service) ESF-5 Emergency Management DHS (FEMA) ESF-6 Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services DHS (FEMA) [and American Red Cross] ESF-7 Logistics Management and Resource Support General Services Administration and DHS (FEMA) ESF-8 Public Health and Medical Services Department of Health and Human Services ESF-9 [Urban] Search and Rescue DHS (FEMA) ESF-10 Oil and Hazardous Materials Response Environmental Protection Agency [and DHS (U.S. Coast Guard)] ESF-11 Agriculture and Natural Resources USDA [and Department of the Interior] ESF-12 Energy Department of Energy ESF-13 Public Safety and Security [DHS and] Department of Justice ESF-14 Long-Term Community Recovery [and Mitigation] [USDA (Department of Commerce)], DHS (FEMA), [Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of the Treasury, and the Small Business Administration] ESF-15 External Affairs DHS (FEMA) NOTE: Italics indicate additions from the NRP; brackets indicate deletions. USDA = U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation local, and tribal governments (DHS 2004). Many state and local governments have adopted the NIMS and NRP structures in organizing their emergency operations plans. HSPD-8, National Preparedness, issued along with HSPD-5 in 2003, directed DHS to develop specific goals and targets for achieving national preparedness, establish a system for assessing the overall level of that preparedness, and provide financial assistance in the form of grants to support state and local governments in achieving the specified goals. DHS responded in 2005 by issuing National Preparedness Guidance that identifies the tasks and capabilities needed by local, state, and federal agencies to respond to a range of threats, from hurricanes and earthquakes to biological, chemical, and radiological events (USDOT 2006). Also in 2005, in coordination with other federal departments and agencies, DHS issued an Interim National Preparedness Goal that established a process for prioritizing federal preparedness assistance on the basis of risk and the need to enhance capabilities to further national priorities. Hurricane Katrina vividly demonstrated flaws in the NRP. To determine what had gone wrong, Congress mandated two complementary assessments—by DHS (DHS 2006) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT 2006). The findings from both reports are summarized in the next chapter and reviewed in greater detail in Appendix B. In response to these assessments, DHS released a successor to the NRP—the National Response Framework—in January 2008. The intent was to provide a streamlined document that would be more accessible and user-friendly for senior elected and appointed officials. Among other items, the National Response Framework contains a new annex on planning and carrying out a mass evacuation, the topic of the following section.9 Evacuation Planning and Response In general, state and local governments have the primary responsibility for an emergency evacuation, as they do for emergency response in general (see Figure 2-3). The city mayor (or city manager) and county executives, 9 The ESF framework through which federal agencies provide disaster assistance remained largely intact from the earlier NRP structure (see Table 2-2).
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation FIGURE 2-3 Bottom-up chain of responsibility for emergency management and evacuation and main responders in a major emergency. as the senior local elected officials in their respective jurisdictions, have the authority (through state laws and local ordinances) to direct emergency response activities that may include mandating an evacuation. Local governments, generally working through local emergency managers, have at their disposal police, fire, and emergency medical service providers, who can be called upon as first responders to assist in an evacuation. Transportation agencies typically play a supporting role. Where they are included, transit agencies, school districts, commuter rail systems, and even private operators (e.g., intercity bus companies, ferry companies) help provide transport for those who lack access to a private vehicle and wish to evacuate.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Local governments may enter into mutual-aid agreements, either formal or informal, with other jurisdictions to augment their resources. If local resources are likely to be exhausted in a major emergency, local officials will call for assistance from neighboring jurisdictions, invoking such agreements. If an emergency involves an entire region, local officials can request state assistance (see Figure 2-3). As the chief executive, the governor, typically operating in coordination with the state emergency management agency, will declare a state of emergency and direct the appropriate resources to assist the local jurisdiction. These resources include law enforcement, the state department of transportation (DOT), and possibly the National Guard if an evacuation is required. State DOTs typically manage contraflow operations, which enable both sides of a limited- or controlled-access state highway to carry evacuees in one direction, thereby increasing the highway’s capacity for those evacuating by private vehicle or bus. State agencies also may enter into mutual-aid agreements with other states in those locations where an emergency evacuation could involve multiple states, as occurred in Hurricane Katrina. Federal assistance is invoked only if state and local resources are overwhelmed in a catastrophic incident or when special equipment is needed (e.g., U.S. Coast Guard vessels, helicopters) (see Figure 2-3). Amendments to the Stafford Act in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina reaffirmed the primacy of state and local governments specifically with respect to evacuations. If federal assistance is required, DHS has clarified that FEMA is responsible for leading and coordinating that assistance, and the mass evacuation annex of the National Response Framework describes federal agency responsibilities in such cases (DHS 2007b). Federal law requires that local emergency planning officials develop emergency plans that encompass evacuation.10 Since 2006, plans have also been required to include provisions for populations with special needs, 10 Title 42 U.S.C. § 11003(c)(7). This requirement is part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986, also known as the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act, Title III. The act requires that community emergency response plans for chemical accidents include provisions for a precautionary evacuation and alternative traffic routes.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation including persons with disabilities (GAO 2006).11 FEMA’s SLG-101 provides a separate evacuation annex (as Attachment E) that many local governments have used as a template in designing such emergency evacuation plans. The annex begins with several operating assumptions for planning purposes regarding the likely number of evacuees. Then the document describes several operational concepts for carrying out a complete or partial evacuation, including definition of the areas likely to be evacuated; specification of the travel routes and destinations of evacuees; means of transport for evacuees, including provisions for evacuating special-needs populations and identification of assembly areas for picking up those who lack their own transportation; measures for controlling the flow of evacuees from the emergency site; and arrangements for returning evacuees to their homes. The remainder of the document identifies and explains the responsibilities of the possible organizations and individuals tasked with carrying out an evacuation. They include the chief executive, an evacuation coordinator, an emergency manager, law enforcement, public works, a public information officer, a mass care coordinator, a health and medical coordinator, the education department and school superintendent, and the animal care and control agency. The document ends with a discussion of administration and logistics and plan development and maintenance. Although the guidance was developed in 1996, it is notable for its inclusion of special-needs populations and its focus on pets and animal care in an emergency evacuation. Also notable, however, is the absence of any mention of transit agencies and their potential role in an emergency evacuation. The mass evacuation index of the National Response Framework provides an overview of evacuation functions, outlines agency roles and responsibilities, and offers guidelines for a mass evacuation during an incident requiring a coordinated federal response (DHS 2007b). Federal support for state and local government evacuation efforts requires cooperation among many different ESFs, including transportation (transportation support and 11 Presidential Executive Order 13347 requires that federal agencies consider the unique needs of employees with disabilities, as well as those the agencies serve (see the summary of the committee’s literature review in Chapter 3 and the detailed discussion of that review in Appendix B). The Americans with Disabilities Act requires states and urban areas to include accessibility for persons with disabilities in their emergency preparedness process (GAO 2006).
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation coordination for evacuation operations), public works and engineering (debris removal and clearance of evacuation routes), mass care (housing and human services), and public safety and security (crowd control, traffic direction, control of contraflow lanes), among others (DHS 2007b and Table 2-2). The role of transportation is specified—to ensure the evacuation of all affected populations, providing resources to those individuals who cannot self-evacuate and ensuring that sufficient transportation assets are available (DHS 2007b). Planning for the evacuation of special-needs populations is highlighted as a key consideration, as is the evacuation of service and companion animals. Transit and school buses are mentioned as a means of transporting evacuees without access to personal vehicles. The annex, however, is very general. For example, it offers no detailed guidance, particularly for state and local governments, about how to estimate the numbers of special needs groups who may need assistance or how to identify and plan for the deployment of accessible equipment in an evacuation. In early 2008, FEMA released for public comment its Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (FEMA 2008), which provides updated guidance for state, local, and tribal governments on the planning requirements for preparation of emergency operations plans. The draft document falls short of providing sufficient detail concerning the development of mass evacuation plans, including a template for a regional plan and the key agencies that should be involved. One issue that warrants more attention in emergency evacuation planning is the scale of evacuation. The DHS assessment of state and local emergency plans (DHS 2006) and the new mass evacuation annex to the National Response Framework are predicated on planning for a catastrophic emergency that would involve multiple agencies and would require evacuation of major portions of an urban area. Yet some local officials interviewed during the site visits conducted for this study questioned the feasibility of evacuating large segments of a metropolitan area. The evacuations resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are good illustrations of the problem. Although state and local governments have since been working to bolster plans for evacuation, the experience with Hurricane Rita in particular demonstrates the extraordinary challenge of trying to evacuate a large metropolitan area on short notice. Moreover, developing
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation emergency evacuation plans that are regional in scope—involving multiple jurisdictions, agencies, and states—is a major undertaking. Potential Contribution of Transportation Planning Agencies Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), working in coordination with local governments, have the lead responsibility for regional transportation planning in large urbanized areas. The Highway Act of 1973 required the establishment of MPOs in urbanized areas with a population of more than 50,000 and dedicated a small portion of each state’s funding from the Highway Trust Fund for this purpose. MPOs are composed primarily of local elected officials whose purpose is to facilitate decision making on regional transportation issues, including major capital investment projects and priorities. MPOs produce two primary products in the transportation planning process: a long-range transportation plan and a short-term transportation improvement program. The long-range plan typically looks ahead 20 to 30 years, incorporating forecasts of population, economic growth, and land use patterns, to help determine the locus and extent of demand for passenger and freight travel and supporting transportation infrastructure needs in the urbanized area. The transportation improvement program provides a list of short-term capital improvement projects that reflects available funding and is updated on a 4-year cycle. MPOs vary in their capacity and their role in individual urbanized areas, but their regional perspective could be useful in the development of regional emergency evacuation plans and supporting transportation capital improvement projects. For example, MPOs could become more involved in traffic modeling to simulate various evacuation scenarios and clearance times; the committee found several examples of this type of assistance during the site visits conducted for this study. MPOs could also help identify and program capital improvement projects in their regions to remove bottlenecks and add system capacity to enable a major evacuation, as well as to further other regional transportation objectives (e.g., safety, congestion relief). Finally, MPOs could play a role in facilitating the development of regional emergency plans, or at least helping to coordinate the transportation input to these efforts. The Metropolitan Washington
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Council of Governments, for example, which represents many local governments in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia, helped with the development of a regional emergency coordination plan for the National Capital Region. Sources of Funding for Emergency Evacuation Planning and Operations Federal Government The federal government is the primary source of funds to state and local governments for the improvement of emergency preparedness, including evacuation planning. DHS is the largest funder. In FY 2007, the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) provided about $1.6 billion in grant awards through five separate programs12 to enhance the ability of states, territories, and urban areas to prepare for, prevent, and respond to terrorist attacks and other major disasters. HSGP funds can be used to support a wide range of activities, including preparedness planning, equipment acquisition, training, exercises, management, and administration. Until 2006, the primary emphasis of HSGP was on preparedness for terrorist incidents rather than other disasters and on procurement of equipment rather than planning (GAO 2006). Hurricane Katrina focused attention on the importance of emergency operations planning for catastrophic disasters due to natural as well as human causes, which was added as a national priority and an area of eligibility in the program. The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 authorizes the use of Urban Area Security Initiative or other HSGP funds for states to develop catastrophic mass evacuation plans (DHS 2007b). The FY 2007 program guidance for HSGP, for example, includes as one of seven focus areas enhancing catastrophic 12 The five programs are (a) the State Homeland Security Program, which supports state homeland security strategies; (b) the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which funds the planning, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas, in particular to build capacity to handle terrorist acts; (c) the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program, directed at the law enforcement and public safety communities for the building of interoperable communications systems, enhancement of collaboration with non–law enforcement partners, and the like; (d) the Metropolitan Medical Response System, which is focused on developing a mass casualty incident preparedness program; and (e) the Citizen Corps Program, which provides funds for involving all citizens in emergency preparedness through personal preparedness, training, exercises, and volunteer service (DHS 2007a).
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation planning to address the results of the 2006 Nationwide Plan Review. More specifically, grant funds are available for evacuation planning, citizen preparedness and planning requirements for special-needs populations, logistics and resource management, continuity of operations and government, and recovery planning (DHS 2007a). Grantees are also urged to consider what role transit systems, intercity bus service providers, port infrastructure, and passenger rail can play in these plans. Until DHS completes its grant tracking system, however, there is no way of knowing what share of funding has been directed to these activities (GAO 2006). DHS has created a new Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program, funded at $69 million over 2 years (FY 2007 and 2008), to support regional all-hazards planning for catastrophic events. The objectives of the program are to establish regional catastrophic planning teams, identify and assess primary areas of concern, develop enhanced regional plans to address shortcomings and enable the coordination necessary to manage a catastrophic event, and link plans to resources. Grant applicants must focus on planning for seven scenarios that, in the judgment of DHS, represent the gravest dangers facing the United States. Five of the seven are focused on terrorism, the exceptions being pandemic influenza and a natural disaster such as a catastrophic earthquake or hurricane. Initial program funding is focused on the largest urban areas.13 Grant recipients must contribute 25 percent of the cost of their projects, either in cash or in kind, and set milestones, including starting and ending dates. Federal transportation funds are another source of federal assistance for improvements related to evacuation. Federal grant funds authorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) of 200514 may be used to fund highway capacity improvements, such as lane additions and major intersection improvements, 13 Tier I–eligible urban areas—New York City/northern New Jersey, the National Capital Region, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles/Long Beach, and the Bay Area—will receive $4 million each in FY 2007 and $2 million each in FY 2008. In FY 2008, four Tier II urban areas—Boston, Seattle, Norfolk, and Honolulu—will each receive $2 million. Finally, $5 million will be made available on a competitive basis in FY 2007 to Tier I urban areas, and $6 million and $5 million in FY 2008 to Tier I urban areas and selected Tier II urban areas, respectively. 14 SAFETEA-LU and the 2006 Appropriations Act requested that the U.S. Department of Transportation conduct a companion assessment to the DHS Nationwide Plan Review to evaluate the evacuation plans of state and local governments in the Gulf Coast region (USDOT 2006).
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation to enhance evacuation capabilities for major urban areas. Intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies, such as variable message signs, priority signal systems, portable cameras, traffic count detectors, and transportation management center enhancements, are also grant eligible. These technologies can help local responders guide evacuation operations in real time and receive rapid feedback on traffic conditions and problems. MPOs facilitate programming of these funds in urbanized areas. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is another potential source of funding and technical assistance, particularly for transit operators to enhance their role in supporting local emergency responders. The agency’s Five-Year Strategic Plan (FTA 2007) emphasizes the need for an all-hazards, integrated approach to safety, security, and emergency management. A technical assistance initiative, Connecting Communities, is FTA’s latest effort to connect the “community” of transit systems with local, county, state, and federal emergency response agencies and resources.15 Structured as a series of invitation-only workshops conducted under the auspices of the National Transit Institute, Connecting Communities is focused on the role of transit and transportation systems more broadly as resources during an emergency incident, as well as on the safety and protection of transit assets from attack. Although not directly targeting security or emergency management, FTA’s main funding programs can be used for capital improvements (e.g., rail projects) and bus purchases that can provide transit providers in urbanized areas with additional capacity and equipment to assist in an emergency evacuation. Providing such support is a standard, nonwaivable condition of FTA vehicle grants. State and Local Funding and Nongovernmental Initiatives State and local governments may use funding for highways and ITS improvements to pay for projects that enhance local evacuation capability, as discussed above. To the extent these projects serve other purposes, such as safety and congestion relief, they are likely to be more successful in competing with other local project priorities for funding. 15 Connecting Communities, accessed at www.connectingcommunities.net/index.html on July 31, 2007.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation States also may have specially earmarked funds for enhancing emergency preparedness and evacuation capabilities, although the extent of this practice is unknown. For example, Florida—one of the states visited for this study—collects $2 from homeowners’ insurance policies and $4 from business insurance policies annually, which is placed in an Emergency Management and Preparedness Assistance Trust Fund. These funds are competitively awarded to counties each year in the form of grants for emergency management. Texas, another one of the states visited for this study, has created a $15 million contingency fund that is earmarked for a state-declared disaster that does not involve the federal government. The state has financed the operational expenses of standby contracts with bus operators and towing companies during the hurricane season in recent years, and longer-term state highway construction projects designed to enhance the capacity of evacuation routes have been programmed. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA)—a nonprofit organization for the transit industry that advocates for the advancement of public transportation programs and initiatives in the United States—established a task force to determine how the transit industry could be better prepared and more responsive in future emergency evacuations. The resulting Emergency Response and Preparedness Program (ERPP), supported in partnership with FTA, is structured as a voluntary mutual-aid initiative.16 In joining ERPP, transit agencies must designate a point of contact within the agency and provide an inventory of available resources (personnel and equipment by type), which are entered into a national database that is now accessible to members on the web. In the event of an emergency, a transit provider can access the database to determine the nearest available resources and the associated contact. APTA will keep the inventory current. The requesting transit provider is responsible for negotiating the costs of services, insurance coverage, and reimbursement arrangements. To date, more than 200 APTA members have joined the program. ERPP has initiated the development of a visual mapping system to display member locations. Its website also provides links to related emergency preparedness sites and in the future 16 APTA, Emergency Response and Preparedness Program, accessed online at www.apta.com/services/emergency/security_preparedness.cfm on August 6, 2007.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation may expand its links to include emergency preparedness programs and databases of other agencies, such as state DOTs. Conclusion The terrorist attacks of September 11 and, more recently, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have focused attention on disasters that may involve an evacuation. Federal law has long required local emergency planning officials to develop emergency plans that include an evacuation plan. However, detailed operational plans for the evacuation of major urban areas have not been a priority, except perhaps in some hurricane-prone areas. Moreover, the role that transit could play, particularly in evacuating those without access to private vehicles and those who need assistance, has only recently been acknowledged. The next chapter summarizes what is known about the potential role of transit and the determinants of transit use in an emergency evacuation. References Abbreviations DHS U.S. Department of Homeland Security FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency FTA Federal Transit Administration GAO U.S. Government Accountability Office ISDR International Strategy for Disaster Reduction USDOT U.S. Department of Transportation DHS. 2004. National Incident Management System. www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/NIMS-90-web.pdf. DHS. 2006. Nationwide Plan Review, Phase 2 Report. Washington, D.C., June 16. www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/Prep_NationwidePlanReview.pdf. DHS. 2007a. FY 2007 Homeland Security Grant Program, Program Guidance and Application Kit. Office of Grants and Training. www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/grants_hsgp.htm. Accessed July 31, 2007. DHS. 2007b. National Response Framework, Mass Evacuation Incident Annex. Washington, D.C., July.
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The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation DHS. 2008. National Response Framework. Washington, D.C., Jan. 22. www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nrf/nrf-core.pdf. FEMA. 1996. State and Local Guide (SLG) 101: Guide for All-Hazard Emergency Operations Planning. www.fema.gov/pdf/plan/0-prelim.pdf. FEMA. 2008. Producing Emergency Plans: Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101: A Guide for All-Hazard Emergency Operations Planning for State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal Governments. Washington, D.C. FTA. 2007. Five-Year Strategic Plan. Office of Safety and Security, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C. GAO. 2006. Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations: Actions Needed to Clarify Responsibilities and Increase Preparedness for Evacuations. GAO-07-44. Washington, D.C., Dec. www.gao.gov/new.items/d0744.pdf. ISDR. 2007. Terminology: Basic Terms of Disaster Risk Reduction. www.unisdr.org/eng/library/lib-terminology-eng%20home.htm. Accessed Aug. 12, 2007. Rubin, C. B., I. Renda-Tanali, and W. R. Cumming. 2007. Disaster Time Line: Major Focusing Events and U.S. Outcomes (1978–2006). TR News, No. 250, May–June (insert). Sylves, R. T. 2007. Federal Emergency Management Comes of Age: 1979–2001. In Emergency Management: The American Experience 1900–2005 (C. B. Rubin, ed.), Public Entity Risk Institute, Fairfax, Va., Chapter 5, pp. 111–159. USDOT. 2006. Report to Congress on Catastrophic Hurricane Evacuation Plan Evaluation, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Washington, D.C., June 1. www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/hurricanevacuation/. Ward, R., and G. Wamsley. 2007. From a Painful Past to an Uncertain Future. In Emergency Management: The American Experience 1900–2005 (C. B. Rubin, ed.), Public Entity Risk Institute, Fairfax, Va., Chapter 8, pp. 207–241.