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Page 10
Suggested Citation:"Part 1." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25993.
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Page 11
Suggested Citation:"Part 1." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25993.
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Page 12
Suggested Citation:"Part 1." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25993.
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Page 12
Page 13
Suggested Citation:"Part 1." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25993.
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Page 13
Page 14
Suggested Citation:"Part 1." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25993.
×
Page 14
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"Part 1." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25993.
×
Page 15
Page 16
Suggested Citation:"Part 1." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25993.
×
Page 16
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"Part 1." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25993.
×
Page 17
Page 18
Suggested Citation:"Part 1." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25993.
×
Page 18

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Chapter 1: Pandemic Basics Key Facts A pandemic is a “global disease outbreak“ that may easily spread, with little or no immunity to the disease, resulting in a high rate of sickness and/or death. At the onset of a pandemic, no vaccine is available and there are limited, if any, successful medical treatments. Treatment or a vaccine may take some time to become available, if ever. Pandemics differ in their persistency, contagiousness, method of contagion, mutability, and lethality. These factors determine risk and must be included in the response to the disease. Understanding pandemics, their impacts to transportation, and potential effective response has become more important, not only for the response to COVID-19, but also if, as the World Health Organization warns, we are now “living in a time of viruses.” Most natural and manmade hazards create a distinct emergency event, an occurrence that lasts for a specific, short period of time. There is an “event” and then a post-event response and recovery period. Pandemics do not present a distinct “event.” Once there is an initial outbreak, the pandemic can last for months or longer. Instead of a recovery or return to normal, there may be a series of recovery phases. Pandemics have other characteristics that differ from other hazards. Table 1 highlights some of these differences. TABLE 1: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NATURAL/MANMADE HAZARDS AND PANDEMIC Natural & Manmade Hazards Pandemic Tends to be distinct event occurrence or short duration event (days/weeks) Can last for months or longer from initial onset with uncertain ending or ongoing more manageable threat Physical infrastructure damage Social impacts Standard emergency management /response operations May require change of habits and modification of normal operations Legislative and administrative issues may require special attention Increased supporting role for state and community Short-term service disruptions and revenue impacts Long-term service disruptions and revenue impacts Return to normal/recovery May require series of recovery phases Part 1 A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies 4

Impacts on Transportation All hazards have social and economic consequences, but unlike other more common emergency events, pandemics have minimal, if any, impact on infrastructure. Pandemics “cause significant absenteeism, disrupt essential services and operations, change patterns of commerce, and interrupt supply chains.” The social impacts on agency employees are significant. Direct impacts include exposure risks – illness and potential death – and the potential need to quarantine due to exposure or because family members are in high-risk occupations such as health care. Indirect impacts of the pandemic include the need to care for family members due to illness or disruptions of school or daycare. As COVID-19 demonstrated, the social impacts on the wider community are great as well. The community can experience disruptions of food distribution, education, routine medical care, social activities, and recreation. These disruptions can lead to job losses, business closures, reduced tax revenues, and fiscal challenges, with disproportionate impacts to traditionally underserved populations. Depending on the length of time, pandemics can significantly affect transportation revenues for highways as gasoline consumption and associated fuel tax revenues are reduced, along with reduced toll revenues- in both cases impacting paying off bonds and/or maintenance. Economic impacts on transportation agencies can be drastic. At its peak, COVID-19 reduced overall traffic up to 90% as people worked from and sheltered at home, although commercial traffic increased as demand for supplies and online purchases increased. Public transit was hardest hit. Public fear and concerns for safety, along with the lockdowns and telework, resulted in service reductions that have been slow to recover. The economic impacts of the disruptions and reductions in service along with the reductions in revenue due to the pandemic may take years to overcome. Social and commercial impacts are starting to redefine the nature of social life in urban, suburban, and rural communities that affect transportation decisions well into the future. Approaches to Pandemics As demonstrated throughout the world, pandemics can be contained and mitigated with persistence, vigilance, and mitigation. Transportation plays a key role in supporting these efforts. Several approaches are available for frameworks to respond to a pandemic, as illustrated in Table 2. When a pandemic occurs, there is potential for personnel and facilities to suddenly become unavailable. Either of these can cause a disruption of agency internal operations. A Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan addresses how to prepare for, respond during, and recover from such internal disruptions. The COOP perspective provides agencies with a framework to maintain essential staffing/facilities and to prevent or mitigate employee absences. Reducing the impact of a pandemic, or any emergency event, is the focus of the emergency response framework. From this perspective, transportation agencies play a critical role. They “sustain transportation services, mitigate adverse economic impacts, meet societal needs, and move emergency relief personnel and commodities.” “Public transit faces a near- perfect storm. Ridership— and fare revenue—have dropped dramatically, as many people work from home and others avoid mass anything… tax receipts are falling at all levels of government amid the coronavirus-induced economic downturn. Meanwhile, agencies are shelling out more in cleaning costs, to protect riders and workers. And no one knows when Americans who have a choice will get back on the bus.” Aarlam Marshall, Wired, July 2020 A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies 5

Additionally, in their support role as part of Emergency Support Function (ESF-1), transportation agencies provide resources and support to other agencies and to the community (See Appendix A). During a pandemic, agencies may be called upon to support local, state, and regional partners in both traditional and novel ways as illustrated in Figure 1. TABLE 2: OVERVIEW OF RESPONSE APPROACHES Approach Focus Characteristics Pandemic Implications Continuity of Operations (COOP) Internal Focus Restore/sustain agency functions and services Maintain staffing & prevent or mitigate employee absencesQuick restoration of essential functions Emergency Response Event Focus Respond to event Protect staff & public Support response & recovery Find financial support Mitigate consequences Restore services & initiate preventive response efforts Support Agency Community Focus Provide resources and assets to address community needs Support supply chain and community FIGURE 1: CDOT DELIVERS STRATEGIC NATIONAL STOCKPILE (SNS) SUPPLIES, APRIL, 2020 Source: Colorado Department of Transportation A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies 6

Pandemic Planning How to create an agency Pandemic Plan is addressed in NCHRP Report 769: A Guide for Public Transportation Pandemic Planning and Response. This page provides a brief overview of what should be included. How to Plan • Identify all relevant planning participants • Distinguish event elements generic to all disasters vs. specific to pandemic What’s in the plan • Definitions, organization, and roles • Pandemic vulnerability assessment • Priorities and policies • Decision guidance - Potential event stages, timeline • Coordination and collaboration - Identify traditional and new key stakeholders Communications • Strategies to receive information from emergency management (EM) and public health – situation reports, health alerts • Sharing of information with staff, customers –information to assist planning, steps to be taken in response, key messages to include • Sharing information with other transportation, EM, and public health agencies – impact on service, readiness, personnel and equipment needs, available resources, anticipated changes to services Resource expectations • Staffing • Assets – Facilities, vehicles, etc. • Equipment and supplies for response operations • Training Updating plan • Regular review cycle • Exercises • Lessons learned • After action reports A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies 7

Chapter 2: Key Questions to Ask In a pandemic, there are three overarching goals of a transportation agency. Health and safety needs to be first; without safe and healthy staff there is no response. Second, maintain transportation as an essential service to support the community and the supply chain. Finally, develop data driven, agile, flexible responses to the existing and future situations. The response to a pandemic must address local, state and federal actions that affect travel demand, such as stay-at-home or lockdown orders or requirements for non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to prevent the spread. Over time, the reopening of businesses and increase in social activities can also impact transportation services. There may be additional protocols required such as screening of staff and patrons for symptoms, face coverings, and social distancing. A series of decisions must be made to assist an agency in determining its responses and achieving its goal – from policy and priority decisions that drive staffing and resource decisions, to determining triggers and timing of actions to take, and addressing long-term financial and other implications. Asking the right questions creates the perspective necessary to focus on the ability to quickly adapt and return to service and withstand short-term and long-term impacts of the pandemic. Table 3 summarizes the types of decisions that need to be made with questions that address aspects to consider as those decisions are being made. TABLE 3: TYPES OF QUESTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS OF CRITICAL AGENCY AREAS Types Considerations Critical Areas Policy Are there agency policies established to address the situation? What additional agency policies must be put in place? How does the agency align its policies with state and local policies, if necessary? Are communications protocols and information management in place with health agencies? HR, Finance, COOP, Emergency Support Function 1 (ESF1) Priorities What are the agency mission essential functions (MEFs)? Are additional MEFs required? How does the agency support community essential services? Agency, ESF1, Supply Chain, Community Triggers What are the criteria or trigger points for initiating specific actions or implementations? When to implement plans, when should staff restrictions or service reductions occur? When to stand up Emergency Operations Center (EOC), support local EOCs and Joint Information Centers? Agency Operations, COOP, ESF1 Staffing Who are essential staff? Is additional staff needed? How does the agency maintain health and safety of staff? All Resources Are there adequate supplies to address needs? Is there technology in place to support the situation? Management, EM A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies 8

Types Considerations Critical Areas Timing What is the estimated duration of the event? Are phased approaches possible? What are the elements in each phase? All Finance Are there budget issues to address? Are there opportunities available? Agency Operations, Construction, and Maintenance Table 4 provides a matrix of key questions by mission area that can assist agencies in developing policies, strategies, approaches to effectively address a pandemic, and related plays in Part 3 of the Playbook. TABLE 4: KEY CONSIDERATIONS BY MISSION AREA Mission Area Category Key Questions Related Plays Preparedness Disease Characteristics/ Threat Severity – virulence, duration Transmission - modes Potential impact Monitoring – onset, asymptomatic percentage Screening – overt signs, methods Plans/Training Employee Impact Plans/SOPs Who is your organization dependent upon to get things done? When to dust off plans? When to confirm and revisit priorities/essential functions? Are there known alternative locations for maintaining operations, including working from home? What risks including concurrent risks are there? Plans/Training Personnel How and when to determine essential personnel? Has crosswalk been done? Who has been cross trained? Employee Impact Coordination Are there state or community deemed essential functions? What information is needed? How do you communicate if things change? Situational Awareness and Reporting Prevention/ Mitigation Countermeasures What types are available? Is guidance available? Is guidance agreed to by experts? Protective Actions Mitigation What additional capabilities are available? Have alternatives been identified? Protective Actions A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies 9

Mission Area Category Key Questions Related Plays Response Activation What levels of activation are there – stand-by, alert, monitoring, activate? What to stock up on supplies? When to activate plans? When to implement incident command center (ICS)/ unified command? Traffic Management, Plans/Training Tracking When to establish accounting codes, oversight and function/resource tracking? What data and reports to produce? Finance Supply Chain What functions/services/locations are critical to supply chain? Do you have the pre-incident waivers and/or approvals needed to respond to the incidents and after? Traffic Management Community What community needs are impacted or unmet? Are agency resources available to support community needs? Situational Awareness Communications What information is needed? For which audiences? What format/frequency to relay information? Who speaks for the Department? Is there a clear order of who speaks and under what circumstance? What role does the governor, or state emergency manager, or others play before the agency communicates with the outside world? Communications Tools and Technology What existing tools are available? What new/additional capabilities can be made available? All Recovery Restoration When is after? Is phased approach possible? Who does what? Stabilization Stabilization How to handle continuing long-term impacts? Stabilization Public Confidence What is needed to ensure confidence in safety? Public Confidence Lessons Learned What changes need to be considered for the next incident based on After Incident reports? Situational Awareness and Reporting A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies 10

Chapter 3: Key Players and Agencies Collaboration, coordination, and communications within a transportation agency and with other local, tribal and territorial, state, regional, and federal agencies that may be involved in pandemic emergency management can be challenging for state DOTs and other transportation agencies. Table 5 lists the key players both internal to the agency and externally and their critical roles. TABLE 5: KEY ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES Types Key Player Critical Roles Internal Agency Leadership and Department Heads HR, Finance, COOP, Emergency Support Function 1 (ESF1) Agency HQ EOC/DOC Agency District/parish EOC Roles, responsibilities, coordination (pre, during, and after) Transportation Services Maintenance and Operations (TSMO) Staffing and resources Human Relations Policies and clear expectations for organizations and employees for worker safety and for healthy/safe workplace Health Coordination with and advice from technical experts in the community (e.g., physicians, environmental health experts) who understand how to interpret recommendations and address related challenges Public Affairs Coordination of communications Financial Accounting codes, reimbursement compliance Purchasing/Logistics Ordering/purchasing processes Union Workforce Representatives Review labor agreements, participation in planning, employee buy-in/acceptance State/Local State and Local Government Emergency declarations Policy maker Consistency in guidance among jurisdictions and between levels of government (desirable) Department of Health Consult with and be able to articulate specific information and direction and control requirements for the transportation organization Understand how hospitals or nursing homes are transporting pandemic patients, or ICU patients Department of Human Services Coordinate on state shelter plans and desired transportation and/or communications support Emergency Management/EOC ESF 1 support and coordination/collaboration Directives to state departments A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies 11

Types Key Player Critical Roles Regional/ National FEMA All CDC, HHS Guidance and recommendations FHWA/US DOT Guidance and recommendations/directives Reg'l/Nat'l Associations – I-95 Corridor Coalition, All Hazards Consortium, etc. Information sharing and roles AASHTO/APTA/CTAA regional and national committees and working groups Information sharing DOT and transit agency peer groups Coordinating help from other agencies or DOTs Other External Community organizations Identify community needs requiring support Share safety protocols Share guidance and recommendations Energy and telecommunications companies Support and coordination Facilitate exceptional requirements, e.g. increased demand; expanded service coverage Commerce/supply chain - Trucking/ Freight Associations Logistics requirements, e.g. rest area protocols, safety protocols, CDL testing Contractors Coordinate availability and support including surge workforce requirements if necessary Communicate additional capabilities Vendors Coordinate availability and support including additional capabilities, e.g. services or products Suppliers Confirm goods availability, e.g., PPE, cleaning supplies, specialized equipment Identification of alternate sources A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies 12

Next: Part 2 »
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Understanding pandemics, their impacts to transportation, and potential effective response has become more important, not only for the response to COVID-19, but also if, as the World Health Organization warns, we are now “living in a time of viruses.”

TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program and Transit Cooperative Research Program have jointly issued this pre-publication draft of NCHRP Research Report 963/TCRP Research Report 225: A Pandemic Playbook for Transportation Agencies, which was created to improve transportation agency responses to a pandemic.

The Playbook concentrates on what needs to be done, when and by whom. It briefly addresses planning for a pandemic, a topic addressed in greater depth in NCHRP Report 769: A Guide for Public Transportation Pandemic Planning and Response. It summarizes effective practices currently used by transportation agencies based on interviews with state departments of transportation and transit agency leaders and operational personnel, supplemented with national and international research results.

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