National Academies Press: OpenBook

The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation: Special Report 294 (2008)

Chapter: Appendix D Case Studies

« Previous: Appendix C Assessment of Transit's Role in Emergency Response andEvacuation Plans of 33 Urbanized Areas and Related States
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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.

Appendix D Case Studies Case Study Questionnaires As discussed in Chapter 1, the committee’s information-gathering efforts included a series of five case studies. For each of these studies, question- naires were provided in advance of the site visits and used as the basis for interviews with emergency managers and representatives of transit agencies and departments of transportation. These questionnaires are reproduced below, followed by a summary of the results of each case study. Questions for Interviews with Emergency Managers Background Questions   1. Please provide basic information on the responsibility of your agency in the region in the event of an emergency. Who has the major responsibility for emergency planning, response, and evacuation? Where do transit agencies fit?   2. Have you completed a hazard analysis for the region, and can you describe the most important hazards facing the region? Emergency Planning   1. Is there a detailed metropolitanwide emergency plan for the evacuation of citizens in an emergency? Please provide a brief overview of the plan and its major elements. For how long has the plan been in operation?   2. Does the plan differentiate between planned (expected) versus unplanned (unexpected) incidents (e.g., hurricanes versus terrorist attacks or earthquakes)?   3. Is transit integrated into the plan? Please explain.   4. Are there formal arrangements with transit providers in other juris- dictions should emergency evacuation needs overwhelm the local tran- sit provider? Please describe, including agreements about financing and liability. 174 37274mvp186_288 174 11/24/08 12:21:01 PM

Case Studies 175   5. Are there formal arrangements with other transportation provid- ers, such as commuter rail systems, Amtrak, school bus companies, and intercity bus lines to assist in an emergency evacuation, if needed? Please describe, including agreements about financing and liability.   6. Are arrangements in place to coordinate evacuation by bus with other vehicular traffic in case of an emergency evacuation? Who will manage this?   7. What arrangements are in place with the state or other jurisdictions outside the region should an emergency require evacuation of a large por- tion of the metropolitan area?   8. What arrangements have been made, if any, for the evacuation of the following special needs populations: a. Carless residents? b. The elderly? c. The disabled? d. Those of the above who are non-English speaking? e. People with pets?   9. Do you have any estimate of the size of these various populations, recognizing that there may be some overlap among them? 10. For those special needs populations that require assistance, what provisions have been made for them to access transit (e.g., special needs registries? use of 311/911 systems?). 11. Is paratransit included as part of the plan for emergency evacuation, and if so, how will these vehicles be deployed? 12. Are school buses part of the plan, and, if so, how will they be deployed? 13. Does the plan consider other institutions that may need to be evacu- ated in an emergency? Do you know if these institutions and those provid- ing access to special needs populations will be using the same providers, whose staff and equipment would be stretched in an emergency? a. Corrections b. Hospitals/health care c. Housing for the elderly d. Schools e. Police/fire/medical personnel 14. Has the plan been publicized? For example, have pickup points been designated where riders can access transit? Have maps or other informa- tion been made available? Please provide details. 37274mvp186_288 175 11/24/08 12:21:01 PM

176 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation 15. Do you have, or could you provide, an estimate of the maximum amount of people/hour that could be moved by transit in the event of an emergency evacuation? How long would it take to evacuate the majority of the population by transit and personal vehicle in the event of a major incident? 16. Has the emergency evacuation plan ever been tested, either in a drill or in a real emergency? What lessons were learned in this exercise? 17. What constraints (e.g., financial resources, staff, lack of authority, lack of influence over key players in the emergency response system) limit your agency’s ability to plan for evacuations? 18. Has your agency or others in the region applied for federal funds (e.g., from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Transit Administration) for emergency evacuation? If so, how much was received, and what were the funds used for? 19. In your judgment, what are the most important factors for a success- ful evacuation in general, and, in particular, regarding the use of transit? 20. What do you see as the major strengths of the emergency evacua- tion plan? 21. What are the key weaknesses that need to be addressed? Emergency Response   1. Please describe the chain of command for decision-making in the event of an emergency evacuation, including where transit officials fit in the process. What is the decision process to determine if an evacuation is war- ranted? When would those discussions start? Who would be involved? What are the key factors to be considered? What are the thresholds or triggers that drive the process? Are transit officials included in these discussions?   2. Please describe the process for communicating with transit provid- ers and other local or state agencies involved in organizing an evacuation in the event of an emergency. Does the emergency management agency have the ability to communicate via voice (radio) and data (e-mail, critical incident management software) with the other agencies that are crucial to a successful response (i.e., law enforcement, public works, traffic opera- tions, transit)?   3. Is the transit agency represented at the City/County Emergency Man- agement Agency Emergency Operations Center or Transportation Manage- ment Center during an emergency? 37274mvp186_288 176 11/24/08 12:21:01 PM

Case Studies 177   4. What arrangements have been made, if any, for evacuation of the families of operating personnel whom you would expect to work during an emergency evacuation?   5. Do you have designated evacuation routes, or will normal service routes be used in an evacuation?   6. Have you inspected evacuation routes for potential problems, such as a. Flooding b. Streets that the police may close down due to proximity to critical locations c. Other   7. Will people be stationed along the routes to communicate changes to routes if necessary?   8. Have shelters and reception centers been identified that will accept evacuees traveling by transit? How will the evacuees know where they are going?   9. Has any provision been made for using transit to bring equipment and personnel to the emergency site(s)? Recovery Operations   1. Does the plan look at how people will reenter the area after an evac- uation and what the role of transit might be in recovery operations?   2. What role does law enforcement play in providing security, traffic control, and coordination with transit and other relevant agencies? Questions for Interviews with Transit Agencies Background Questions   1. Please provide basic information on the size and geographic charac- teristics of the urbanized area (e.g., population, density, other factors that could affect evacuation capability).   2. Provide basic information on the size and responsibilities of your transit system [e.g., ridership, modes (rail, bus, etc.), hours of operation, number of employees, annual budget].   3. Provide information on the main hazards facing the region and who has the major responsibility for emergency planning and response. Where does transit fit? 37274mvp186_288 177 11/24/08 12:21:01 PM

178 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Emergency Planning   1. Is there a detailed plan for using the transit system to evacuate peo- ple from critical locations in the region in the event of an emergency? Please provide a brief overview of the plan and its major elements. How long has the plan been in operation?   2. Is the plan part of a larger metropolitanwide emergency evacuation plan? If so, for how long has this been the case? What agency or official is responsible for this metropolitan plan, and what input did your agency have in developing/maintaining it?   3. Does the plan differentiate between planned (expected) versus unplanned (unexpected) incidents (e.g., hurricanes versus terrorist attacks or earthquakes)?   4. Do you have formal arrangements with transit providers in other jurisdictions should emergency evacuation needs overwhelm your agency’s resources? Please describe, including agreements about financ- ing and liability.   5. Do you have formal arrangements with other transportation provid- ers, such as commuter rail systems, Amtrak, school bus companies, and intercity bus lines to coordinate with them in case of an emergency evacua- tion? Please describe, including agreements about financing and liability.   6. Do you have arrangements with the Department of Transportation to coordinate evacuation by bus with other vehicular traffic in case of an emergency evacuation?   7. What arrangements are in place with the state or other jurisdictions outside the region should an emergency require evacuation of a large por- tion of the metropolitan area?   8. What arrangements have been made, if any, for the evacuation of the following special needs populations: a. Carless residents? b. The elderly? c. The disabled? d. Those of the above who are non-English speaking? e. People with pets?   9. Do you have any estimate of the size of these various populations, recognizing that there may be some overlap among them? 37274mvp186_288 178 11/24/08 12:21:01 PM

Case Studies 179 10. For those special needs populations that require assistance, what provisions have been made for them to access transit (e.g., special needs registries? use of 311/911 systems?). 11. Is paratransit included as part of the plan for emergency evacuation, and if so, how will these vehicles be deployed? 12. Are school buses part of the plan, and, if so, how will they be deployed? 13. Does the plan consider other institutions that may expect to use your services? Do you know if these institutions and those providing access to special needs populations will be using the same providers, whose staff and equipment would be stretched in an emergency? a. Corrections b. Hospitals/health care c. Housing for the elderly d. Schools e. Police/fire/medical personnel 14. Has the plan been publicized? For example, have pickup points been designated where riders can access transit? Have maps or other informa- tion been made available? Please provide details. 15. Do you have, or could you provide, an estimate of the maximum amount of people/hour that could be moved by transit in the event of an emergency evacuation? Could this number exceed the afternoon peak rush? How long would it take to evacuate the majority of the population in the event of a major incident? 16. Has the emergency evacuation plan (just the transit agency) or that of the larger metropolitan area (involving all the relevant agencies) ever been tested, either in a drill or in a real emergency? What lessons were learned in this exercise? 17. What constraints (e.g., financial resources, staff, lack of authority, lack of influence over key players in the emergency response system) limit your agency’s ability to plan for evacuations? 18. Has your agency or others in the region applied for federal funds (e.g., from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Transit Administration) for evacuation planning? If so, how much was received, and what were the funds used for? 37274mvp186_288 179 11/24/08 12:21:02 PM

180 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation 19. In your judgment, what are the most important factors for a suc- cessful evacuation using transit? 20. What do you see as the major strengths of the emergency evacua- tion plan? 21. What are the key weaknesses that need to be addressed? Emergency Response   1. Please describe the chain of command for decision making in the event of an emergency evacuation (a) within your own agency and (b) with respect to the metropolitanwide plan. Are transit personnel trained in NIMS (National Incident Management System)/ICS (Incident Command System)?   2. Please describe the process for communicating with other transpor- tation providers and other local or state agencies involved in organizing an evacuation in the event of an emergency. Does the transit agency have the ability to communicate via voice (radio) and data (e-mail, critical incident management software) with the other agencies that are crucial to a suc- cessful response (i.e., law enforcement, public works, traffic operations, emergency management)?   3. Does your agency send a representative to the City/County Emer- gency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center or Transporta- tion Management Center during an emergency?   4. What arrangements have been made, if any, for evacuating the fami- lies of transit operating personnel whom you would expect to work during an emergency evacuation?   5. Have you factored into your plan the amount of time necessary to move all your assets to safe ground prior to damaging conditions setting in (planned/expected incidents), and do the city planners know about this time?   6. Do you have designated evacuation routes, or will normal service routes be used in an evacuation?   7. Have you inspected evacuation routes for potential problems, such as a. Flooding b. Streets that the police may close down due to proximity to critical locations c. Other 37274mvp186_288 180 11/24/08 12:21:02 PM

Case Studies 181   8. Will people be stationed along the routes to communicate changes to routes if necessary?   9. Have shelters and reception centers been identified that will accept the evacuees traveling by transit? How will the evacuees know where they are going? 10. Has any provision been made for using transit to bring equipment and personnel to the emergency site(s)? Recovery Operations   1. Does the plan look at how people will reenter the area after an evac- uation and transit’s role in that? Questions for Interviews with Departments of Transportation Background Questions   1. Please provide basic information on the size and geographic charac- teristics of the urbanized area (e.g., population, density, factors about the highway system and congestion that could affect evacuation capability).   2. Provide basic information on the size and responsibilities of your department (e.g., number of employees, annual budget, major responsi- bilities for area road system).   3. Provide information on the main hazards facing the region and who has the major responsibility for emergency planning and response. Where does DOT fit? Emergency Planning   1. Is there a detailed plan for using the highway system to evacuate people from critical locations in the region in the event of an emergency? Please provide a brief overview of the plan and its major elements. How long has the plan been in operation?   2. Is the plan part of a larger metropolitanwide emergency evacuation plan? If so, for how long has this been the case? What agency or official is responsible for this metropolitan plan, and what input did the DOT have in developing/maintaining it?   3. Does the plan differentiate between planned (expected) versus unplanned (unexpected) incidents (e.g., hurricanes versus terrorist attacks or earthquakes)? 37274mvp186_288 181 11/24/08 12:21:02 PM

182 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation   4. Does the DOT have arrangements with other transportation provid- ers (e.g., transit agencies, schools) to coordinate evacuation by bus with other vehicular traffic in case of an emergency evacuation?   5. What arrangements are in place with the state or other jurisdictions outside the region should an emergency require evacuation of a large por- tion of the metropolitan area?   6. What arrangements have been made, if any, for the evacuation of the following special needs populations: a. Carless residents? b. The elderly? c. The disabled? d. Those of the above who are non-English speaking? e. People with pets?   7. Do you have, or could you provide, an estimate of the maximum amount of people/hour that could be moved in the event of an emergency evacuation? Could this number exceed the afternoon peak rush? How long would it take to evacuate the majority of the population in the event of a major incident?   8. Has the emergency evacuation plan ever been tested, either in a drill or in a real emergency? What lessons were learned in this exercise?   9. What constraints (e.g., financial resources, staff, lack of authority, lack of influence over key players in the emergency response system) limit your agency’s ability to plan for evacuations? 10. Has your agency or others in the region applied for federal funds (e.g., from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Highway Administration) for evacuation planning? If so, how much was received, and what were the funds used for? 11. In your judgment, what are the most important factors for a suc- cessful evacuation? 12. What do you see as the major strengths of the emergency evacua- tion plan? 13. What are the key weaknesses that need to be addressed? Emergency Response   1. Please describe the chain of command for decision making in the event of an emergency evacuation (a) within your own agency and (b) with respect 37274mvp186_288 182 11/24/08 12:21:02 PM

Case Studies 183 to the metropolitanwide plan. Are DOT personnel trained in NIMS (National Incident Management System)/ICS (Incident Command System)?   2. Please describe the process for communicating with other trans- portation providers and other local or state agencies involved in organiz- ing an evacuation in the event of an emergency. Does the DOT have the ability to communicate via voice (radio) and data (e-mail, critical incident management software) with the other agencies that are crucial to a suc- cessful response (i.e., law enforcement, public works, traffic operations, emergency management)?   3. Does your agency send a representative to the City/County Emer- gency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center or Transporta- tion Management Center during an emergency?   4. What arrangements have been made, if any, for evacuating the fami- lies of DOT operating personnel whom you would expect to work during an emergency evacuation?   5. Have you factored into your plan the amount of time necessary to move all your assets to safe ground prior to damaging conditions setting in (planned/expected incidents), and do the city planners know about this time?   6. Do you have designated evacuation routes, or will normal service routes be used in an evacuation?   7. Have you inspected evacuation routes for potential problems, such as a. Flooding b. Streets that the police may close down due to proximity to critical locations c. Other   8. Will people be stationed along the routes to communicate changes to routes if necessary?   9. Does the DOT have plans for using contraflow operations, if needed, in an evacuation? If so, who will make the decision to begin contraflow operations, and how will this be communicated to other emergency responders, transportation providers, and the public? What provisions have been made for expediting bus travel and providing access for emer- gency responders in a contraflow situation? 10. Have arrangements been made to provide gas and other supplies along evacuation routes? 37274mvp186_288 183 11/24/08 12:21:02 PM

184 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation 11. Have arrangements been made to clear evacuation routes of broken- down vehicles (e.g., contracts with towing companies)? 12. Have shelters and reception centers been identified that will accept evacuees traveling by transit? How will the evacuees know where they are going? 13. Has any provision been made for using transit or other transportation providers to bring equipment and personnel to the emergency site(s)? Recovery Operations   1. Does the plan look at how people will reenter the area after an evac- uation? What is DOT’s role in that? Houston Case Study In addition to responses to the questionnaires presented above, this case study is based on information gathered during a site visit made on Feb- ruary 13–14, 2007. Overview Houston Demographics and Geography According to the U.S. Census, the population of the Houston urbanized area (UA) was approximately 3.8 million in 2000, making it the 10th-largest of the 38 UAs with populations of greater than 1 million. The two primary political jurisdictions that overlap the UA are the City of Houston, with a 2000 population of 1.9 million, and Harris County, with a 2000 population of 3.6 million, the third-most-populous county in the United States. The Houston region is growing rapidly. The population of Harris County alone is projected to double by 2015. The Houston UA is notable for its low density. Of the 38 largest UAs, it ranks eighth in land area (square miles) and 19th in population density. According to the 2000 Census, 11 percent of occupied housing units lacked access to a vehicle, a fact that, combined with the area’s low density, poses a challenge for the effective use of public transportation in an emergency evacuation.  D  ata on UA population, land area, and population density were drawn from the U.S. Bureau of the Census’s 2000 Decennial Census of Population and Housing and the Federal Transit Administration’s 2003 National Transit Database. 37274mvp186_288 184 11/24/08 12:21:02 PM

Case Studies 185 The majority of the Houston UA is located inland from the Gulf Coast and is therefore not subject to storm surge. Nevertheless, the UA’s proxim- ity to the Gulf and low height—50 feet on average above sea level—make it vulnerable to frequent flooding. In addition, an estimated 800,000 to 1 million residents of Galveston, other coastal counties, and a portion of Harris County are vulnerable to both flooding and storm surge. These resi- dents typically evacuate to or through Houston, depending on the magni- tude of the storm, thereby complicating any evacuation that involves the Houston UA itself (see Figure D-1). METRO METRO is the primary transit system serving the Houston UA. Created in 1978, it serves the City of Houston, 13 other cities, and major unincorpo- rated portions of Harris County. Supported by a 1-cent sales tax, METRO has a broader range of responsibilities than most transit systems. With its fleet of approximately 1,200 buses, it provides extensive local and express bus service, operates a 7.5-mile light rail system in downtown Houston, and provides demand response service to the disabled through 118 METROlift vans. In addition, METRO operates an extensive (103-mile) network of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes along major freeways and a motorist assistance program. Emergency Planning The Offices of Emergency Management (OEMs) of both the City of Houston and Harris County have primary responsibility for emergency planning and response in the Houston UA. METRO has lead responsibility for carrying out the transportation functions detailed in the Transportation Annex of the Emergency Management Plan for the City of Houston. Each of the OEM representatives with whom the committee spoke during the site visit noted how important it was for METRO to be involved in all aspects of emergency planning and how strong agency relationships had been forged. The main hazards facing the area are hurricanes, storm flooding, and chemical releases from the petrochemical industry located near the Port of Houston. According to local officials, these hazards do not require evacu- ation of the entire Houston regional area; Hurricane Rita was an excep- tion, as described in the following section. If an evacuation is necessary, 37274mvp186_288 185 11/24/08 12:21:02 PM

186 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation FIGURE D-1 Houston, Texas, UA. elected officials—the Mayor of the City of Houston and the Harris County Judge—are responsible for making the call. This authority was provided in 2005 by a legislative change. Presently, there is some discussion of vesting this authority in the Governor’s Office, but local jurisdictions such as the City of Houston and Harris County do not support this proposal. METRO’s Role in Emergency Evacuation During and After Hurricane Rita Surprisingly, hurricanes on the scale of Katrina and Rita are infrequent events for the Houston area. The last major hurricane was Category 3 Ali- cia in 1983, and METRO, which had been in existence only 5 years at the time, had no plans to stop normal service. In 2001, tropical storm Allison, which did not reach hurricane status, caused intense flooding, particularly in parts of downtown Houston. As a result of the storm, 30,000 were left homeless, businesses were damaged, and several hospitals were forced to evacuate patients; however, a major evacuation was not necessary. In 2005, the Houston area braced for two major hurricanes that followed in 37274mvp186_288 186 11/24/08 12:21:03 PM

Case Studies 187 close succession. Hurricane Katrina did not threaten the area directly, but the vivid images of Katrina victims were still fresh in the minds of Housto- nians when Category 5 Hurricane Rita bore down on the region less than 1 month after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. METRO learned many valuable lessons in dealing with Hurricane Katrina that it applied in the evacuation preceding Hurricane Rita. METRO’s pri- mary role during Katrina was to move newly arrived New Orleans evacuees from area airports into Houston, where shelter was provided at the Astro- dome and nearby Reliant Park. Relief activities lasted 20 days. An incident command center was established at Reliant Park, where METRO operations and police personnel received and fielded requests for service. In addition to transporting evacuees, METRO provided trolley, bus, and rail service for some 150,000 to 200,000 Katrina victims—among them 4,000 school-aged children—from the small city that formed at Reliant Park to neighboring medical facilities, government offices, and food and retail outlets. Hurricane Rita was originally thought to be on a direct path to Galves- ton and Houston, although it subsequently declined in force and veered away from the Houston area. Evacuations were ordered for Galveston on Tuesday. All residents were expected to leave by noon on Wednesday— 2 days before the hurricane’s estimated landfall—but large numbers of Houstonians also took to the roads on Wednesday and Thursday, clogging the area’s four major freeway evacuation routes. The existing evacuation plan was geared to a partial exodus of no more than 1 million people from storm surge zones and assumed vehicle occupancy rates of about 2.1 per- sons per car. Instead, between 1.5 and 2.5 million people attempted to evacuate Harris County, taking with them all the vehicles, boats, and trail- ers they owned, resulting in occupancy rates of about 1.2 persons per car. The result was predictable—massive traffic jams, with vehicles that ran out of fuel or broke down, for a period of 24 hours or more. Despite the bedlam on the freeways, METRO was able to play an impor- tant role in the evacuation of residents of Galveston and Houston with- out access to private transportation who attempted to flee the region in advance of Hurricane Rita. In part because of its role in helping victims  A  ccording to modeling estimates provided after Hurricane Rita by the Houston–Galveston Area Council, it would take 80 to 120 hours to evacuate 3 million residents from the Galveston, Hous- ton, and other coastal areas, assuming use of contraflow and optimum flow conditions. 37274mvp186_288 187 11/24/08 12:21:03 PM

188 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation of Hurricane Katrina, METRO already had good working relationships with many of the area’s emergency responders. Moreover, the agency was a member of the unified command center team that operated out of Houston TranStar, the region’s state-of-the-art transportation management center. METRO is now a member of the regional unified area command structure, which was established after Hurricane Rita on the recommendation of the Governor’s Task Force on Evacuation, Transportation, and Logistics and is physically located at TranStar. METRO has a police captain assigned to TranStar and is a member of its leadership team. All of the other team members interviewed for this study—representatives of the Harris County OEM, the City of Houston OEM, TranStar management, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)—underscored the importance of establishing good working relationships with METRO personnel and keeping them involved in all aspects of planning. During the evacuation, METRO performed the following functions: • Coordinated bus transport for those who lacked access to or who chose not to use a personal vehicle in the evacuation from Galveston and Houston; 500 METRO buses and 500 other vehicles transported approxi- mately 20,000 individuals in 4,500 trips. • Supplemented bus transport with rail by arranging for the use of Amtrak and Trinity Railroad (Dallas commuter rail) trains to move people out of Galveston and Houston. • Handled special-needs populations through the 311 system (manned phones) and last-minute neighborhood sweeps of flood-prone areas. • Provided logistics support to stranded motorists along freeways, using 18 METRO buses, bus operators, police, and 350 volunteers to distribute 45,000 bottles of water. • Brought fuel to emergency response teams. • Played a lead role in convincing the state to open contraflow lanes to ease freeway congestion. • Provided transport back to Houston and Galveston after the storm for those who had no access to a private vehicle. • Provided shelter, food, and facilities for its critical employees and their families, when needed. 37274mvp186_288 188 11/24/08 12:21:03 PM

Case Studies 189 Remaining Challenges Jurisdictional Issues One of the major issues raised during Hurricane Rita, affecting both METRO and those attempting to evacuate by car, was the capacity of jurisdictions located outside the urbanized portions of Harris County to handle the exodus from a major UA. Motorists who were attempting to pass through smaller cities and rural areas once they left Houston were unable to find fuel, provi- sions, or shelter. Moreover, communication with potential receiver com- munities was poor. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) (the state police) is the state’s primary law enforcement agency in rural areas and has good communications with small communities. However, communication between the leadership team at TranStar and DPS was insufficient to pre- pare them for the numbers of people headed their way. Houston officials believe that the state needs to play a larger role in emer- gency planning should an evacuation of similar magnitude be required in the future. A representative of the Governor’s Division of Emergency Man- agement was part of the unified command center team at TranStar dur- ing Hurricane Rita and coordinated with METRO to provide additional buses to help fill surge capacity needs during the evacuation. DPS was not represented at TranStar and should be in the future. Even with improved communications, however, only another major urban area, such as Dal- las, would be able to handle the large numbers of evacuees during such an event. The state needs to broker arrangements with Dallas regarding the provision of equipment and shelter for Houstonians in the event of another major evacuation. In the longer term, TxDOT must consider major high- way and interchange improvements to eliminate traffic bottlenecks outside the Houston UA. The City of Galveston has already entered into an agreement with Austin to accept Galveston residents in a future evacuation. In 2006, an interlocal agreement for emergency transportation services was signed by METRO and the City of Galveston. Under the agreement, 30 METRO or contract buses would be made available to Galveston in the event of an incident requiring mandatory evacuation of the city. The agreement spells out reimbursement details, indemnification and insurance arrangements, and the terms of agreement renewal or termination. 37274mvp186_288 189 11/24/08 12:21:03 PM

190 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Traffic Management Issues The capacity limitations described above affected travel both by bus (METRO) and by private vehicle during the evacuation. For example, multilane free- ways narrowed to two lanes about 70 miles from downtown Houston, creat- ing massive traffic bottlenecks. No plans had been developed for contraflow, although the state, at the urging of METRO and others, opened contraflow lanes to ease the congestion. Occupancy restrictions on HOV lanes were also dropped, and all lanes were operated in a northbound direction. How- ever, no provision was made for access by emergency vehicles or for buses or emergency vehicles that needed to make multiple trips. Moreover, cameras and other intelligent transportation systems that support traffic manage- ment at TranStar did not extend into rural areas. TxDOT has since partially remedied this situation by installing 80 new web-accessible cameras in rural areas and interactive signs at points where highways converge, which will be used to provide evacuees with shelter locations and other information in the event of another evacuation. Breakdowns were another issue during the Rita evacuation, further clogging freeway lanes and impeding emergency vehicles from provid- ing assistance. Many vehicles ran out of fuel while stopped in traffic, and gas stations along the freeway ran out of supplies. Recommendations for improving the situation include use of park-and-ride lots for broken-down vehicles, roving towing contractors (another area for state assistance), and prestaged fuel depots, as well as restricted use of HOV lanes for high- capacity vehicles, buses, and emergency vehicles. The Harris County and City of Houston OEMs are also investigating the use of park-and-ride and municipal parking lots within the city and county limits where residents could leave their extra vehicles and trailers to keep them off the road. Equipment and Drivers METRO faced shortages of equipment and drivers in attempting to meet the needs of an evacuation on an unprecedented scale. It attempted to address the equipment shortfall through the use of state-provided buses, school buses, and rail. However, meeting surge capacity needs remains a challenge. METRO is working with school districts to determine how their buses and the schools themselves could best be used in an evacua- tion. Recognizing that the first priority of school bus drivers is to transport 37274mvp186_288 190 11/24/08 12:21:04 PM

Case Studies 191 school children, METRO believes the best strategy is to use its own buses and school buses for local pickups and drop-offs at schools and other con- gregating sites, where state contract buses would then pick passengers up for longer-haul transport to shelters outside the Houston UA. Rail is the most efficient way of moving large numbers of people with- out cars. METRO has recommended prepositioning of rolling stock and aggressive use of freight right-of-way in the event of another major evacua- tion. Implementing this strategy would require action by the state and the Federal Railroad Administration to resolve issues concerning right-of-way use, acquisition of rolling stock, and coordination with receiving jurisdic- tions to provide local transport and shelter for evacuees arriving by train. Special-Needs Populations Plans for the evacuation and transport of special-needs populations were quickly overwhelmed during Hurricane Rita. (Special-needs populations are defined broadly, ranging from anyone without access to a car to those requiring medical equipment to be transported with them.) The City of Houston and METRO had to take on this responsibility, which continues to be a major challenge. By some estimates, as many as 500,000 people could need public transport in an emergency evacuation. To help iden- tify special-needs populations, particularly those who are not institution- alized, the city has set up a voluntary special registry, but thus far only about 4,500 individuals have opted into the system. Working with the Area Agency on Aging of the Houston–Galveston Area Council—the council of governments for the Houston area—a survey was administered to identify those who could need transportation in a future emergency, and a common city–county database for handling requests during an evacuation is being developed. More outreach to special-needs populations through churches, area groups on aging, and other nonprofits would be desirable. A campaign is needed to explain who should be registered so that city and county man- agers understand not only how many people will have to be evacuated but also what types of evacuation equipment will be needed. The 311 system has been modified so that all the information can be entered rapidly into a database to help identify what callers need in the way of transportation.  T  he Houston–Galveston Area Council covers a 13-county area. 37274mvp186_288 191 11/24/08 12:21:04 PM

192 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Another challenge is adequate equipment and trained personnel, par- ticularly to handle the transportation of those with disabilities during an emergency evacuation. Typically, METRO uses its fleet of 118 paratran- sit vehicles and lift-equipped vans operated by private taxi companies to transport some 40,000 persons with disabilities daily. However, this level of service is inadequate for a major evacuation. Nursing homes, continuing care facilities, and hospitals have their own evacuation plans and transport providers and thus do not need to draw on METRO’s equipment. Never- theless, many of these institutions could depend on the same ambulances and private contractors that METRO might use to supplement its bus and paratransit equipment in an emergency evacuation. Identifying these pro- viders and the adequacy of their equipment to meet multiple demands is a relevant concern. Also, efforts are being made to protect some of these groups in place. Doing so requires hardening of some facilities and a public awareness campaign to encourage individuals to prepare for taking care of themselves. The Harris County and City of Houston OEMs are working with hospitals and nursing homes to identify facility improvements neces- sary to enable them to shelter in place. Funding Many of the improvements suggested to enhance the evacuation capacity of METRO and others will require funding. For example, METRO was left to cover the costs of fuel used and driver overtime during the Rita evacu- ation, as well as the cost of 130 satellite phones purchased to ensure con- tinuity of communications capability. METRO has set up an emergency contingency planning fund to cover such costs in the future. However, METRO officials believe they should be considered first responders and thus eligible for reimbursement of many of these expenses. Funds are also needed to reimburse METRO, contractors, and others for the expenses they incur even if an emergency subsequently proves to be minor and little damage is done. For events with advance warning, such as hurricanes, suc- cessful evacuation of large areas requires that the evacuation begin well in advance of the storm’s making landfall. A mechanism must be in place for reimbursement of expenses incurred during this period. The state also has numerous funding needs, including operational expenses of standby contracts with bus operators and possibly towing com- 37274mvp186_288 192 11/24/08 12:21:04 PM

Case Studies 193 panies, costs of setting up roving state regional incident response teams, and longer-term highway construction projects to enhance the capacity of evacuation routes. At the time this case study was conducted, the state budget included a request for a $50 million disaster contingency fund to provide for many of these needs. Reducing Demand for Evacuation One way to reduce the demands placed on METRO and other emergency responders is to limit the extent of future evacuations. Local officials believe the “Katrina effect” was responsible for the mass evacuation in the face of Hurricane Rita and that evacuation of the entire Houston UA is an unlikely scenario. A public education effort—“Run from the Water, Hide from the Wind”—will be launched to provide information about likely wind speeds in the event of a hurricane for those who do not live in storm surge zones. The idea is to encourage residents to shelter in place. Retrofitting of shelters in the Houston UA to withstand winds of 150 mph or more is also being pursued as a strategy for reducing transport distances for the elderly, and special wind-proofed and staffed medical shelters are also being considered for hospitals in storm surge zones that may be forced to evacuate. Summary METRO is a critical partner on the emergency team that manages evacu- ations in the Houston UA. Its prominent role stems in part from its sub- stantial transportation responsibilities in the region and its steady funding base. The role played by METRO first in handling Katrina evacuees and then in helping manage the Rita evacuation demonstrated its capabilities. In the future, METRO would like to play an even greater role in regional emergency planning and evacuation, expanding beyond its service area to include the entire Houston–Galveston Area Council region and clarifying its responsibilities in coordinating transit buses, contract buses, taxis, and school buses in the city’s emergency plan. Several challenges remain, including scaling up to meet the surge capac- ity demands of an evacuation on the order of Rita while also trying to reduce  T  he actual funding provided was $15 million, to be used when the state declares a disaster but the federal government does not. 37274mvp186_288 193 11/24/08 12:21:04 PM

194 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation the demand for evacuation through public education. Also needed are bet- ter coordination with the state and statewide action on fuel and shelter provision, standby contracts with equipment providers (e.g., towing com- panies, backup buses), and provision of strategic rail equipment; devel- opment of contraflow plans that include dedicated use of HOV lanes for high-occupancy vehicles, buses, and emergency vehicles; and better ways of identifying and handling the transport of special-needs populations. This case study also raises several more general policy issues that may be relevant for other large UAs. The capacity of a highway and public transportation network to accomplish timely evacuation of an entire major metropolitan area is questionable. Only a fraction of the Houston area population was able to evacuate in the 2 days before Hurricane Rita made landfall, and this was an advance-notice emergency event. Capacity improvements could improve this record, but the expectations of the pub- lic and policy makers regarding the ability of a major region to evacuate are likely to exceed system capacity. Coordination is another key policy issue. Although local governments have the primary responsibility for mandating an evacuation and planning for its execution, a successful evacuation depends heavily on others, as the experience with Rita showed. For example, the state is responsible for contra­flow operations. Small jurisdictions outside the UA can quickly be overwhelmed by evacuees, and even other neighboring major metropolitan areas, such as Dallas in the case of Houston, may not be able or willing to muster equipment and shelter as quickly as necessary to assist in an evacu- ation. The state must be significantly involved in regional evacuation plan- ning that potentially affects other areas of the state before an emergency strikes, both in brokering arrangements among jurisdictions and in ensur- ing timely state action, equipment, and resources. Coordination is also critical at the local level, especially for special-needs populations, whose evacuation is likely to place multiple demands on limited equipment and drivers. Difficult issues include establishing who gets “first call”—a nurs- ing home, home care patients, the disabled—and honestly informing such groups of the level of service they can expect in an evacuation. Funding is another issue. During the Rita evacuation, METRO operated as a first responder, yet the agency does not have this status as regards eli- gibility for reimbursement. If other transit providers are to be encouraged 37274mvp186_288 194 11/24/08 12:21:04 PM

Case Studies 195 to play similar roles, who will pay for their services and how? State funding is an issue as well. Just as the state must be a partner in helping to plan for and execute a successful regional evacuation, it must find the wherewithal to pay for standby bus and towing contracts, fuel, and perhaps well-staged surplus rail equipment. In the longer term, the state must finance highway capacity improvement projects that enhance traffic flow during an emer- gency but must compete with other highway and public transportation capital investments in the state budgeting process. Committee Members and Staff in Attendance Thomas Lambert (lead) Arnold Howitt Kenneth Brown Nancy Humphrey Briefings Tim Kelly, Captain, Department of Policy and Traffic Management, METRO John P. Walsh, Senior Director, Bus Maintenance, and Katrina Miesch, Operations Planning, METRO Stuart Corder, Director of Transportation Operations, Texas Department of Trans- portation Christy (Durham) Willhite, Chief Transportation Planner, Houston–Galveston Area Council Sharon A. Nalls, Emergency Management Coordinator, Office of Emergency Manage- ment, City of Houston Mike Montgomery, Director/Fire Marshal, Fire Marshal’s Office, Harris County Documents Consulted   1.  Governor’s Task Force on Evacuation, Transportation, and Logistics. February 14, 2006.   2. Lambert, T. 2007. Hurricane Evacuation Texas Style. METRO Police Department, PowerPoint Presentation, February 7.   3.  Hurricane Rita Observations. 2005. METRO Police Department, October 14.   4. METRO Observations—Hurricane Rita Evacuation. February 6, 2007.   5.  Feeley, D. F. 2006. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Regional Coordination. METRO Emer- gency Operations. METRO, Presentation to the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, January 24. 37274mvp186_288 195 11/24/08 12:21:04 PM

196 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation   6. Walsh, J. P. undated. Transit Vehicle Technology Applications for Houston METRO, METRO’s Lessons Learned Responding to Regional Evacuations. METRO.   7.  Annex S: Transportation, City of Houston. September 5, 2001.   8. Houston–Galveston Area Evacuation and Response Task Force. Recommendations Report, April 2006.   9. Durham, C. 2006 (August). Hurricane Evacuation. Presented at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, January 24, 2007. 10. Interlocal Agreement, Emergency Transportation Services. City of Galveston and METRO, April 13, 2006. Chicago Case Study In addition to responses to the questionnaires presented above, this case study is based on information gathered during a site visit made on June 12, 2007. Overview Chicago Demographics and Geography According to the U.S. Census, the population of the Chicago UA was approximately 8.3 million in 2000, making it the third-largest of the 38 UAs with populations greater than 1 million. The Chicago UA is the second-largest after New York in land area (square miles) and ninth in population density. The City of Chicago forms a dense core of the UA, with a 2000 population of 2.9 million, and a central business district (CBD), known as the Loop, with a daytime population of approximately 660,000. As is typical of many older cities, development proceeded outward from the core—in the case of Chicago, into Cook, Lake, DuPage, and other sur- rounding counties. The City of Chicago has a high percentage of vulnerable populations. Eighteen percent of families are living below the poverty line; more than 10 percent of residents are 65 or older; 12 percent of persons over age 5 have disabilities; 34 percent of residents speak a language other than English at  D  ata on UA population, land area, and population density were drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Decennial Census of Population and Housing and the Federal Transit Administration’s 2005 National Transit Database.  S  tatistics cited here come from a community profile prepared by the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. 37274mvp186_288 196 11/24/08 12:21:04 PM

Case Studies 197 FIGURE D-2 Chicago, Illinois, UA. home—primarily Spanish; and 22,500 households have very limited Eng- lish skills. In addition, the 2000 Census reported that 15 percent of occupied housing units in the UA were without access to a vehicle. Many of these groups are served by Chicago’s extensive transit system but are likely to require special attention and assistance in an emergency evacuation. The City of Chicago, and more specifically the Loop, is bounded on the east by the 28-mile shoreline of Lake Michigan (see Figure D-2). The transportation network of highways, transit, and rail lines radiates out- ward from the core—north, west, and south. Transit Chicago’s transportation network is well developed, including an exten- sive transit and highway system and freight rail network. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), with 1,900 buses and 1,150 heavy railcars, is the second-largest transit system in the United States. It provides 1.4 million rides on an average weekday and serves the City of Chicago and 40 adjoin- ing suburban communities—a service area of about 220 square miles and 37274mvp186_288 197 11/24/08 12:21:05 PM

198 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation 3.8 million people. Metra, the second-largest commuter railroad in the United States, provides commuter rail service to approximately 310,000 riders per day through a hub-and-spoke network of 11 rail lines, radiating from the City of Chicago to six counties in northeastern Illinois. The sixth- largest carrier in the United States, PACE provides bus and vanpool service in the Chicago suburbs, as well as paratransit service in the City of Chicago, through its fleet of 700 large buses, 500 minivans, 450 paratransit vehicles, and 600 vanpools., In addition, Chicago is served by Amtrak through its hub at Union Station and by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transporta- tion District (NICTD), which provides commuter rail service from South Bend, Indiana, to downtown Chicago. Chicago also has an extensive sys- tem of limited-access highways, including 64 miles of expressways, which radiate outward from the downtown area. Finally, Chicago is an important rail hub, with three major transfer facilities where cross-country freight is transferred to other cities and rail lines. Emergency Planning The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) has primary responsibility for the development of emergency and evacuation plans, training and drills, and plan maintenance for the City of Chicago. The Chicago Emergency Operations Plan includes a separate emergency support function for evacuation, as well as for transportation. The Chi- cago Police Department has the primary responsibility for evacuation, and OEMC is the lead coordinating agency. The Chicago Department of Transportation has the primary responsibility for coordination of repair and clearance of transportation infrastructure in an emergency to support response operations and restore safe transport of people and goods. Multiple types of emergencies may require a partial or full evacuation of the Chicago CBD or other locations within the city. Various hazard assess-  P  ACE took over paratransit services within the City of Chicago less than 1 year ago.  T  he Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) provides financial review, oversight, and planning for CTA, Metra, and PACE. Created in 1974 as a special-purpose unit of local government, RTA’s mission is to ensure financially sound, comprehensive, and coordinated public transportation for northeastern Illinois.  R  oughly two-thirds of the nation’s freight traffic originates in, terminates in, or travels through Chicago. 37274mvp186_288 198 11/24/08 12:21:05 PM

Case Studies 199 ments for the City of Chicago have identified few if any hazards, however, that would require evacuation of the entire city; thus, the focus is on the CBD. Potential hazards include natural events—tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, or severe weather—and human-caused events—transportation acci- dents; hazardous materials releases; power outages; and terrorist events involving biological, radiological, incendiary, chemical, or explosive ele- ments. Because of the wide range of unplanned emergencies for which the Chicago area must be prepared, emergency evacuation plans are focused on clear organization and assignment of responsibilities, well-established mechanisms for coordination of agency personnel and assets, and an orderly system for real-time communication among critical agencies. The City of Chicago’s CBD evacuation plan is scalable. It includes pro- visions for determining the level and extent of evacuation required, iden- tifying evacuation routes, defining roles and responsibilities, activating the Joint Operations Center (JOC) if necessary, and establishing assembly and transportation centers (ATCs) if needed. Three levels of evacuation have been designated. A Level I evacuation is similar to rush hour. There is no immediate danger, and, with the exception of an increase in CTA and Metra services, external resources are not required. A Level II or III evacu- ation requires extensive support from outside agencies and resources; trig- gers activation of the JOC—the state-of-the-art traffic management and emergency control center where all the major agencies, including transit, are represented; and likely requires activation of the ATCs. The mayor, in consultation with public safety officials and OEMC, is responsible for initiating a Level I evacuation. In the event a Level II or III evacuation is required, OEMC (with the consent of the mayor’s office) requests activa- tion of the state plan. The governor is responsible for making an emergency declaration, and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency coordinates with the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Transporta- tion (IDOT) to support the evacuation. Transit’s Role in Emergency Evacuation Chicago area transit agencies each have their own evacuation plans. How- ever, CTA, Metra, and Amtrak are all identified as key support agencies in the City of Chicago CBD Evacuation Plan. Their plans are part of the overall CBD evacuation plan—mirroring the same plan activation levels (I, II, and III) for 37274mvp186_288 199 11/24/08 12:21:05 PM

200 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation operational consistency—and there is close coordination with OEMC.10 The roles of the major transit providers are described as follows. Evacuation CTA considers itself a first responder in an emergency and is listed as a pri- mary support agency in the event of an evacuation. A Level I evacuation would require normal CTA and Metra services, but at increased frequen- cies. In the event of a Level II or Level III emergency, CTA trains would be operated as shuttles, and buses would be redeployed as appropriate to move people out of the CBD as expeditiously as possible from ATCs to preidentified staging areas, whose locations would depend on the severity of the incident and the designated perimeter. A CTA site coordinator would be dispatched to each drop-off site to assist with customer dispersal. CTA estimates that it could evacuate more than 100,000 people per hour by rail and about 40,000 people per hour by bus—numbers in excess of the system’s rush hour capac- ity. Of course these estimates depend on the type, location, and severity of the incident and assume that CTA assets are not damaged. CTA believes it has sufficient equipment and great flexibility to move personnel and equipment among lines to handle the vast majority of emergencies. Metra and other rail providers also have key roles to play in an evacuation, particularly in a Level II or III emergency. Metra’s first priority would be to evacuate its own trains from the CBD. It would also coordinate changes in schedule and routes with OEMC, CTA, Cook County Sheriff’s Police, and other suburban law enforcement officials to supplement CTA services. If the incident occurred off-peak when equipment and personnel were not as read- ily available, Metra estimates that personnel would be prepared to move trains from coach yards to all major downtown terminals within 30 minutes of noti- fication.11 If OEMC directed passengers to the right train, Metra believes it could handle surge capacity in an emergency. Following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, in New York City—although the availability of crews and equipment was optimal—it took just 1∂ hours to evacuate everyone who 10 P  ACE and NICTD are not directly identified in the plan, but both agencies have agreements with CTA and Metra to take care of their suburban bus and commuter rail passengers, respectively, in the event of an emergency. 11 A  t a minimum, Metra would be able to provide one train per line within the 30-minute notifica- tion period, a second train per line within 40 minutes, and a third train within 60 minutes. 37274mvp186_288 200 11/24/08 12:21:05 PM

Case Studies 201 wanted to leave the CBD. Metra does not have buses or a sufficient police force to move passengers once they reach suburban rail stations and would have to count on others to provide such transport, as well as security. PACE could help provide suburban bus transport in an emergency evacu- ation. It is also the Chicago area’s primary paratransit and vanpool provider for special-needs populations, whom it serves largely through private con- tractors. PACE does not consider itself a primary responder, although it has its own evacuation plan. In an emergency, it would follow the lead of local emergency managers and send supervisors along with equipment to assist special-needs customers. Although PACE has provided OEMC with a list of equipment and has coordinated with CTA and Metra regarding equipment deployment in an emergency, it is not formally part of the CBD evacuation plan. Nevertheless, the agency is working closely with the mayor’s office to help develop a voluntary special-needs registry. It is also developing a com- puterized database of its customers, has made arrangements for reimburse- ment of its private contractors for equipment use in an emergency, and has trained local police and fire personnel on its equipment. Amtrak is also listed as a key support agency in the City of Chicago’s CBD evacuation plan, although it is a much smaller player than Metra. In an emer- gency, Amtrak could help with an evacuation. Its trains come in and out of Union Station in downtown Chicago, and it has a major maintenance facility located 1 mile from Union Station and another major facility near Indianapo- lis from which more equipment could be deployed. The biggest challenge would be to provide equipment in real time, particularly in off-peak times. Chicago’s Class I freight rail carriers have formed the Chicago Transpor- tation Coordination Office (CTCO) to help coordinate freight and keep it moving in the Chicago area. CTCO has no formal role in the evacuation plan, but in the event of an emergency, it could help clear tracks for use by Metra and Amtrak through the alert system now used to communicate with carriers when congestion is heavy. Approximately 80 percent of pas- senger rail operates on freight tracks in the Chicago area. Evacuation Routes Unlike cities that experience frequent evacuations, such as Miami, Florida, the City of Chicago does not have permanently established, predetermined evacuation routes. Nevertheless, there are several major expressways and 37274mvp186_288 201 11/24/08 12:21:05 PM

202 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation arterial streets that would be used for evacuee egress and emergency vehicle ingress in the event of an emergency. In a Level II or III emergency, OEMC would likely request activation of the state plan, which contains provisions for using Chicago freeways in a last-resort, contraflow arrangement to evacu- ate the CBD expeditiously. The State of Illinois—IDOT and the Illinois State Police—would support the Chicago DOT and the Chicago Police Department in executing the plan. According to CTA, the reversible commuter lanes on these freeways could be used for buses to help expedite the evacuation. The Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS), the metropolitan planning orga- nization for the Chicago area, estimates that it would take approximately 1∂ to 2 hours to evacuate the CBD using 23 existing outbound expressway lanes with an additional 11 inbound lanes in a contraflow arrangement.12 Command and Control Transit providers are well represented in the emergency decision-making structure. CTA, Metra, and Amtrak are all listed as key support agencies in the City of Chicago’s CBD evacuation plan, and they would all be represented at the JOC should it be activated in the event of a Level II or III evacuation. Communications In the event of activation of the CBD evacuation plan, OEMC is responsible for notifying all participating city, county, state, and federal departments; sister and external agencies; and the private sector. In general, communica- tions are handled through a variety of mechanisms, including contact lists and telephone trees, e-mails to building managers, and reverse 911 calls. CTA has lists of other transit providers to contact in an emergency. Although there is no single communications system among transit providers, all major providers, including Amtrak and NICTD, are part of the Chicago Transit Alert Network (CTAN).13 CTAN provides a mechanism for information exchange among key regional transit providers, who drill every week on use of the system. Initially, notifications were accomplished via phone contacts only. More recently, Emergency Management Network (EMnet) terminals 12 T  he estimate assumes evacuation during the midday period (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). 13 C  TAN was created as a regional means of information and intelligence sharing. All area transit providers are part of the Regional Transit Security Working Group. To receive federal funding, they are required to develop a regional transit security strategy. CTAN is part of this initiative. 37274mvp186_288 202 11/24/08 12:21:06 PM

Case Studies 203 were installed in the operations or security centers of all transit providers, freight rail carriers (e.g., Union Pacific Railroad, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, NICTD), and area police and fire departments. An Internet/ satellite-based software program, EMnet offers a secure platform for real- time messaging among networked partners, providing another means of communication along with the telephone notification system and moving the area closer to a fully interoperable communications system.14 Technology The Chicago area has implemented an extensive surveillance network for security, for example, for monitoring critical infrastructure, which also may be used during times of emergency when the potential exists for a major evacuation. The City of Chicago has placed cameras on virtually every corner of the CBD and has integrated the camera networks of the private sector and IDOT. The cameras can be used to monitor traffic egress from the city and can thus provide decision makers with greater situational awareness during an emergency. Support for Incident Response The personnel and equipment of many transit providers could also be used to help transport emergency responders and bring equipment to the site of an incident. CTA indicated that it has made provisions for bringing personnel, supplies, and equipment to an emergency site. The agency has experience with bringing police into the City of Chicago to provide secu- rity at Fourth of July celebrations and other major events. If contraflow plans were invoked in a Level II or III evacuation, CTA buses could travel on two reversible expressway lanes dedicated to exclusive use of emer- gency and incident management vehicles. Amtrak could also assist in transporting personnel and equipment to the emergency site. As indicated previously, Amtrak has equipment at nearby 14 T  he system, which was developed by COMLABS, provides a platform for broadcasting of Emer- gency Alert System messages; for two-way messaging among emergency response and critical agency personnel; and for forwarding of emergency messages automatically to pagers, cell phones, and e-mail addresses. The deployment of EMnet to all police and fire departments in Illinois was facilitated through the Illinois Terrorism Task Force and Mutual Aid organizations, such as the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System and the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System, to help ensure communications interoperability and immediate notification of emergency circumstances. 37274mvp186_288 203 11/24/08 12:21:06 PM

204 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation facilities that could be made available. There is no formal memorandum of understanding in place, but Amtrak does not believe this to be necessary; it is part of the City of Chicago’s CBD evacuation plan, and the necessary processes are already in place. Recovery Transit providers also have a role to play in recovery, although this role has received less attention than others in some evacuation plans. For example, once the immediate danger had passed, CTA would either restore normal service, enabling evacuees to return to the CBD or continue to outlying areas; reroute service around problem areas; or, if the CBD remained closed, estab- lish shuttle service between drop-off points and end-of-line terminals. Exercises and Drills Transit providers have all taken part in area emergency exercises and drills. On September 7, 2006, the City of Chicago OEMC conducted a first-of-its-kind emergency exercise involving evacuation of four commercial high-rise build- ings in the CBD at the peak of rush hour traffic. More than 4,000 individuals participated. The purpose was to test emergency notification and communi- cation systems; evacuate building occupants to ATCs; test ATC intake, regis- tration, and triage operations; and increase public awareness and education about emergency preparedness. CTA was part of the exercise and staged buses at the ATCs, although no one was actually evacuated by bus. On September 11, 2001, CTA evacuated passengers who wished to leave the CBD, and it moved more than 1,000 passengers out of the CBD during a major power outage in September 2006. Metra has participated in tabletop exercises with other tran- sit providers, and it had experience in evacuating passengers as long ago as the Mississippi River floods of 1993 and more recently on September 11. Both Metra and CTA implement significant schedule enhancements to accommo- date the ingress and egress of spectators to and from major events taking place in Chicago, such as the fireworks on July 3 (nearly 1 million spectators), annual Venetian Night, and the Air and Water Show. Amtrak has also been part of numerous drills, some involving CTA, Metra, and PACE. Chicago’s experience in hosting more than 7,000 persons displaced by Hurricane Katrina helped in identifying facilities to care for the elderly and the mentally ill, which could be used in subsequent evacuations. Finally, CTCO participated in a Department 37274mvp186_288 204 11/24/08 12:21:06 PM

Case Studies 205 of Homeland Security (DHS) tabletop exercise, although it has not been as closely involved in city evacuation drills. Remaining Challenges Special-Needs Populations Identifying and evacuating special-needs populations, particularly those who would need assistance in an emergency, remains a major challenge. The emphasis has been on self-help; high-rise buildings in the Loop, for example, have been asked to identify workers with disabilities and plan for how they would be evacuated in an emergency. In addition, CATS has pro- vided estimates of the numbers of disabled workers in the CBD, their ability to self-evacuate (i.e., drive), and their locations. Similar maps have not been developed for other vulnerable populations, such as the elderly. Perhaps part of the reason lies in the assumption by area emergency planners that evacu- ation of the entire CBD or an even larger area is an unlikely event, so that special-needs populations would not require evacuation but could shelter in place. Nevertheless, if an evacuation of the CBD or a partial evacuation were necessary, most evacuation plans require that individuals walk to staging areas for transport by bus or train (e.g., Amtrak); this could be a problem for those with disabilities. PACE, which provides paratransit service in the City of Chicago, is close to having a computerized inventory of its customers to assist in scheduling, which could also be used in an emergency. Should an evacuation be necessary, the agency has made provision for sending super­ visors along with equipment to assist passengers at drop-off locations. PACE is also working closely with the mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities to establish a special voluntary registry of individuals who need assistance, but this effort is still in the initial stages.15 PACE officials acknowledge the importance of evacuating those who need assistance but also perceive that transit is viewed as a “catch all” for transporting special-needs populations and is limited in the assistance it can realistically provide. 15 T  he Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Chicago Region Evacuation Planning Group (see the next subsection), of which OEMC is a cochair, is establishing committees that will address such issues as mass care and sheltering, special needs, transportation, and logistics as part of the development of a regional evacuation plan. The mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, the Chicago Department on Aging, the Chicago Department of Human Services, the American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army will all be part of this effort. 37274mvp186_288 205 11/24/08 12:21:06 PM

206 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Development of a Regional Evacuation Plan Chicago’s evacuation plans are currently focused primarily on evacuation of the CBD. Each of the surrounding counties—Cook, Lake, and DuPage, for example—has its own evacuation plan, as does each of the major area transit providers. OEMC recognizes the need for more coordinated evacuation plan- ning among the jurisdictions throughout the region to prepare for a major evacuation from the Chicago area. Accordingly, the Chicago Region Evacua- tion Planning Group was formed to develop a plan, identify and coordinate evacuation routes, and establish a mass care comprehensive plan for a manda- tory evacuation of 1 million people, encompassing an area within a 200-mile radius of downtown Chicago. The group held its first meeting in December 2006. The Executive Steering Committee is cochaired by OEMC, the State of Illinois, and Region V of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. No timetable has been set for development of a written regional evacuation plan. There has also been some discussion of developing a regional rail plan, which would involve all the major transit providers, as well as Amtrak and the freight railroads, but funding for this activity is an issue. Jurisdictional Issues IDOT, in coordination with the Chicago DOT and state and local law enforcement officials, is responsible for implementing contraflow plans for a major evacuation of the Chicago CBD. Sites have been identified in collar counties and beyond where evacuees could be sheltered, par- ticularly in the winter, and the Red Cross is developing a national shelter database and identifying information (e.g., whether the shelters are able to handle evacuees with disabilities) that will support the effort. Never- theless, Metra officials noted that suburban jurisdictions are concerned about handling the influx of evacuees in a major incident.16 Metra itself has limited capacity to police or move passengers once they arrive at drop- off locations. These are major topics for consideration in the regional plan development effort, which will involve other states (i.e., Indiana, Michigan, 16 M  etra staff recently met with police and fire chiefs from Cook County and the surrounding col- lar counties to explain Metra’s evacuation procedures in the event of a regional evacuation and share information. According to participants, the meeting helped allay concerns and increase understanding of possible impacts on outlying areas from a Chicago-centric evacuation. 37274mvp186_288 206 11/24/08 12:21:06 PM

Case Studies 207 and Wisconsin) in addition to OEMC, the American Red Cross, and the Chicago Metro County Coordinators Council.17 Broadening of Participation in Evacuation Planning Numerous agencies are already participating in the City of Chicago’s evacu- ation planning and would be represented at the JOC should it be activated. Nevertheless, some other key groups should be part of this effort. OEMC, for example, agreed that CTCO, which represents the major freight and passenger rail (e.g., Amtrak) carriers in the region, should participate in evacuation planning and should probably be part of the JOC. OEMC also needs to coordinate more closely with hazmat carriers.18 Finally, although the Chicago Public Schools are listed as a participating agency in the City of Chicago’s evacuation plan, OEMC has not fully explored the use of school buses for evacuation in a major emergency. Funding Federal funding is essential for evacuation planning and drills. The Chicago area has received DHS grants for emergency planning but not for evacuation planning specifically. Most area transit providers, as well as Amtrak and, to a lesser extent, the freight railroads (through CTCO), have participated in tabletop exercises from time to time. Additional funding for more drills and exercises would be beneficial, according to interviewees. Summary As an older metropolitan area, Chicago has a well-developed transporta- tion system, including an extensive transit and highway network with con- siderable redundancy and multiple ways of moving people. Area transit providers believe they have adequate personnel and equipment to handle 17 T  he Metro County Coordinators Council comprises emergency management staff from the City of Chicago; Cook, Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, and Will Counties; the Salvation Army; the Red Cross; the Illinois Emergency Management Agency; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; DHS; and any other organizations that need to be represented. The council meets to discuss issues and develop strategies related to homeland security and emergency management from a regional perspective. 18 O  EMC staff is meeting shortly with a group from the Transportation Security Administration to discuss a recent assessment of freight railroads in the Chicago metropolitan area, focused on the issue of transportation of hazardous materials. 37274mvp186_288 207 11/24/08 12:21:06 PM

208 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation all but a very major emergency incident, such as the terrorist attacks of September 11 or detection of chemical, biological, or radiological agents in the CBD, which could trigger a major evacuation requiring extensive support from outside agencies and resources. Chicago area transit providers have been directly involved in evacuation planning for the CBD. They are part of the emergency decision-making structure and would be represented with other key local agencies at the JOC should it be activated in an emergency. There is good coordination among all the key agencies, and in the event of an emergency, transit pro- viders would have established methods for communicating both within their own agencies and with other transit agencies, as well as with local emergency managers and law enforcement personnel. Finally, most have participated together in local emergency exercises and drills. Nevertheless, several challenges remain. Key among these is planning for evacuation of special-needs populations—identifying these people, pro- viding assistance for those who cannot help themselves in an emergency evacuation, ensuring that shelters (if needed) are adequately equipped to handle the elderly and those with disabilities, and communicating plans and contact information to special-needs groups. Another challenge is development of a regional evacuation plan to ensure that all the major players are coordinated in the event of a major emergency. Coordination is also necessary with the collar suburbs, exurban areas, and nearby states to help ensure adequate shelters, police protection, fuel, and supplies so that outlying communities will not be overwhelmed in the event of a major evacuation of the City of Chicago. Progress has been made in several of these areas, but substantial issues still remain to be resolved. This case study also raises several more general policy issues that may be relevant for other large UAs. A key issue is whether it is realistic to con- sider evacuation of a major city. Hazard analyses of Chicago have identi- fied few if any hazards that would require evacuation of the entire city; the worst-case, Level-III scenario assumes evacuation of the CBD—a much smaller area. The issue has been raised in other jurisdictions and is critical, because planning for a more extensive emergency evacuation may focus priorities and limited funding on a low-probability event. Planning for a no-notice emergency is another key policy issue. Unlike cities that face weather-related emergencies, such as hurricanes that strike 37274mvp186_288 208 11/24/08 12:21:07 PM

Case Studies 209 the area with regularity during hurricane season, Chicago and many other UAs are likely to face emergencies that provide no warning. All the transit providers interviewed noted that the timing of an incident is critical in terms of having personnel and equipment available. Incidents that occur during the midday period, from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., are particularly difficult because fewer transit personnel and equipment are available during this nonpeak period. Thus, mechanisms need to be in place for communicating rapidly with critical personnel in the event of an incident and ensuring that both drivers and equipment can be secured within a reasonable period. The limits on the use of transit to evacuate special-needs populations is another key issue. Planning for evacuation of these populations needs to receive more attention in many UAs, and Chicago is no exception. As PACE management noted, however, transit is often a catch-all means of transport for a diverse group of individuals. Thus, it is important to be clear about what services transit can realistically provide and for whom, as well as to encourage self-help efforts, such as Chicago’s initiative to get each high-rise building in the CBD to develop its own plan and identify workers with disabilities who would need assistance in an evacuation. Finally, funding is an important issue. As the City of Chicago’s CBD evacuation plan notes, the city would require extensive support from regional, state, and federal agencies in a major emergency. Federal fund- ing from DHS has been forthcoming, but area officials believe that more targeted funding for evacuation planning would be productive. Committee Members and Staff in Attendance Andrew Velásquez III (lead) Ali Haghani Nancy Humphrey (by teleconference) Briefings Earl W. Zuelke, Jr., Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Management and Communica- tions, City of Chicago James G. Argiropoulos, Managing Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Management and Communications, City of Chicago Patrick J. Daley, Vice President, Security, Safety, and Control Center, Chicago Transit Authority 37274mvp186_288 209 11/24/08 12:21:07 PM

210 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Earl Wacker and Robert Holstrum, Chicago Transportation Coordination Office Jocelyn R. Harper, Manager of Emergency Preparedness, and Robert Saver, Amtrak Sharon A. Austin, Senior Director, Customer Service and System Security, and James Sanford, Chief of Police, Metra Melinda J. Metzger, Deputy Executive Director, PACE Documents Consulted 1. City of Chicago Central Business District Evacuation Plan, Executive Summary and Com- plete Plan. June 7, 2007. 2. City of Chicago, Emergency Support Function #16: Evacuation. June 2007. 3. Office of Emergency Management and Communications of the City of Chicago. City Wide All-Hazard Mitigation Plan, Community Profile, Chapter 2. March 2006. 4. Office of Emergency Management and Communications of the City of Chicago. Sep- tember 7, 2006 Central Business District Evacuation Exercise After Action Report. Chicago, Ill., April 3, 2007. 5. Chicago Region Evacuation Planning Committee. Undated. 6. Illinois Department of Transportation—Highways. Evacuation Plan for Chicago Central Business District and Chicago Expressway System. Informational copy, January 2004. 7. Sternberg, K. 2006. Taking Care of Business. Homeland Protection Professional, Oct., pp. 26–29. New York–New Jersey Case Study In addition to responses to the questionnaires presented above, this case study is based on information gathered during a site visit made on July 11–12, 2007. Overview Demographics and Geography According to the U.S. Census, the population of the New York–Newark UA19 was approximately 17.8 million in 2000—the largest of the 38 UAs with populations greater than 1 million.20 Approximately 8 million live in the five boroughs that make up New York City (NYC). The remainder 19 F  or brevity, the New York–Newark UA is referred to in this appendix as the New York UA. 20 D  ata on urbanized area population, land area, and population density were drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Decennial Census of Population and Housing, and the Federal Transit Administration’s 2005 National Transit Database. 37274mvp186_288 210 11/24/08 12:21:07 PM

Case Studies 211 FIGURE D-3 New York–Newark UA. are divided among neighboring counties in New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester, and Connecticut (see Figure D-3). The New York UA is also the largest of the 38 UAs in land area—nearly 60 percent larger than the Chicago UA, the second-largest—and highest in population density. The New York UA has the highest number and percentage of carless households of the 38 UAs. In the 2000 Census, some 2.1 million house- holders, representing 18 percent of all householders, reported not having a car. The numbers are even higher in NYC, where 56 percent of house- holds reported not having a car, ranging from 77 percent in Manhattan to 8 percent in Staten Island. The large numbers of carless, particularly in Manhattan, reflect the existence of an extensive transit network; limited on-street and expensive off-street parking; and a high level of congestion on area highways, which makes travel by private vehicle difficult. NYC also has large numbers of vulnerable people. Some 14 percent have disabilities; 11 percent of families are living below the poverty line; 10 per- cent of residents are aged 65 or older; and emergency preparedness infor- mation is provided in 11 different languages, reflecting the diversity of the 37274mvp186_288 211 11/24/08 12:21:07 PM

212 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation population. Many of these people are served by transit—NYC boasts the highest transit use in the United States—but many are likely to require special attention and assistance in an emergency evacuation. Many areas of the New York UA are surrounded, and portions are sepa- rated (e.g., Manhattan from northern New Jersey), by water. The area is served by an extensive network of highways, transit (rail and bus), com- muter and passenger rail, and ferry service. The infrastructure is old, how- ever, and capacity and congestion present a challenge to effective service provision. Transit The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)21 operates North Amer- ica’s largest transit network. Service is most dense in NYC. The MTA NYC Transit (NYCT)-Subway system has an average weekday ridership of 4.9 mil- lion, and the MTA NYC Transit-Bus system provides service to 2.4 million riders daily for a total average weekday ridership of 7.3 million. NYCT also contracts with 14 carriers to provide paratransit services.22 In addition, the MTA system includes the Long Island Rail Road, the largest commuter rail- road in the United States; Long Island Bus, which serves Nassau, Western Suffolk, and Eastern Queens Counties; the Metro-North Railroad, running north out of Manhattan and serving Westchester County and other subur- ban New York and Connecticut counties; and a new MTA Bus Company, created in 2004 to assume the operations of seven private bus companies, which provides local services in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, as well as express service from Manhattan to these boroughs. According to the 2000 Census, approximately 98 percent of NYC residents live within one-quarter mile of an MTA NYCT subway station, a Staten Island Railway station,23 or a local bus route. 21 M  TA was chartered as a public-benefit corporation by the New York State Legislature in 1965. It is responsible for managing, financing, and operating transit service in the New York area through its operating subsidiaries. 22 N  YCT leases 1,694 vehicles to the carriers, who employ nearly 2,500 drivers. The drivers are not NYCT employees, but NYCT owns and assigns the work for the vehicles. 23 T  he Staten Island Railway—a commuter rail line on Staten Island—is a division of the NYC Transit-Subway system. Its main function is to bring passengers from the south end of Staten Island to the St. George Terminal on the north side and the Staten Island Ferry, which operates out of the terminal. 37274mvp186_288 212 11/24/08 12:21:07 PM

Case Studies 213 In addition to the transit services provided under the MTA umbrella, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) provides rail service between Manhattan and New Jersey on Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH). The Staten Island Ferry, which is under the NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) offers service between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island. New Jersey Transit (NJT) provides rail, light rail (Hudson– Bergen light rail line), and bus service between Manhattan and New Jersey. The New York UA is also served by Amtrak (mainly intercity passenger travel). Ferries provide yet another means of transport. In addition to the Staten Island Ferry, numerous private ferry companies transport commuters between northern New Jersey and Manhattan. Emergency Planning The New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYCOEM)— organizationally part of the Office of the Mayor—has primary responsibility for planning and coordinating emergency management activities for NYC and for activating the emergency operations center (EOC)—a new state- of-the art-facility located in Brooklyn—in the event of an emergency.24 NYCOEM coordinates with all the key agencies in the region regarding emergency planning, including the New York Police Department (NYPD); the Fire Department, City of New York; MTA; the Port Authority; the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), Region 1 (NYC) and Region 8 (Nassau and Suffolk Counties); NYC DOT; and the OEM for the State of New Jersey. NYCOEM has also developed a scalable system of 65 evacuation centers, each of which operates as the hub of a “solar system” network of five to 10 shelters, some 500 shelters in all, throughout the city. The agency is responsible for public outreach as well. NYCOEM gets its message out through its Ready New York guide and hurricane brochures, as well as its website and evacuation zone finder and the 311 system. According to emergency management officials, New York encompasses too vast an area and too large a population to consider fully evacuating the 24 N  YCOEM was established in 1996 as a mayoral office and was granted department status in the New York City Charter in November 2001. OEM works to mitigate, plan, and prepare for emer- gencies; educate the public about preparedness; coordinate emergency response and recovery efforts; collect and disseminate critical information; and seek funding opportunities to support the overall preparedness of the City of New York. 37274mvp186_288 213 11/24/08 12:21:08 PM

214 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation city in the event of an emergency. Nevertheless, there are many types of emergencies that could require a partial evacuation. NYCOEM has taken an all-hazards approach to emergency planning and evacuation. Among the emergencies it has considered are advance-notice events, such as hur- ricanes, and no-notice events, such as terrorist attacks, power outages, and earthquakes. NYCOEM has prepared detailed plans for a hurricane scenario and for an unspecified areawide emergency. Both plans have separate transit components. Of course, NYC has had recent experience with severe emer- gencies, some of which have required evacuation. Much of Lower Manhat- tan was evacuated during the terrorist attack of September 11, and transit and ferries played a major role in the evacuation. The 2003 Northeast black- out involved considerable movement of people, mainly getting commuters back home, but in that case the transit system itself was affected. In New York—a home-rule state—responsibility for mandating an evac- uation rests with local government. In NYC, the mayor has responsibil- ity for ordering an evacuation. NYPD is the lead operating agency in any evacuation, and NYCOEM plays the lead coordinating role. NYCOEM coordinates with SEMO and the OEMs of the surrounding jurisdictions and makes a recommendation to the mayor regarding the need for an evacuation. If an evacuation is recommended, the mayor, in coordination with SEMO and the local OEM, issues the evacuation order. In a major emergency, the governor can declare a state of emergency and request fed- eral assistance. State assistance is coordinated through the headquarters of SEMO. A similar process is involved in New Jersey, where the authority to declare an emergency and order an evacuation rests with local gov- ernment, and higher levels of government (e.g., counties or the state) are involved depending on the scale of the incident. If state assistance is required, the governor declares an emergency; the New Jersey State Police plays the lead operational role in any evacuation; and the state OEM, oper- ating through regional offices, has the primary coordinating function. Transit’s Role in Emergency Evacuation Because of the reliance of New Yorkers on transit services, particularly in NYC, the New York UA’s extensive network of transit providers is an integral part of the emergency plans for NYC and surrounding counties. NYCOEM’s Areawide Evacuation Plan contains a separate transit agency coordination 37274mvp186_288 214 11/24/08 12:21:08 PM

Case Studies 215 document that lays out the general notification and coordination principles to be applied by NYCOEM and the region’s transit agencies in the event of an evacuation of a portion of NYC. The primary role of each transit provider is noted, primary points of contact are identified, and all agencies are rep- resented at the NYC EOC should it be activated. Detailed service plans are to be developed once NYCOEM determines the nature and extent of the incident and thus the magnitude of the evacuation required. NYCT has also developed a scalable and detailed Hurricane Evacuation Service Plan for use in the event that a hurricane or major coastal storm requires an evacuation of storm surge zones. NYCOEM provided NYCT with estimated numbers of potential evacuees from which the detailed service plans were developed for three scenarios, reflecting hurricanes of different levels of intensity (Category 1, 2, or 3+).25 The advance warning provided in the event of a hurricane and the ability to identify those at risk by geographic location and hurricane intensity have enabled such detailed advance service plans to be prepared. Both documents lay out principles for determining how transit would operate in the event of an advance-notice or no-notice emergency and evacuation. Among the most important is that transit operators would provide service that resembled “regular” service as closely as possible (unless, of course, the transit system itself has been compromised), so as to minimize any confusion among customers or operating personnel and simplify customer information requirements. In addition to these NYC initiatives, the New Jersey OEM (Northern Region) recently revised the Trans-Hudson Emergency Transportation Plan26 to improve the capability to get some 300,000 to 400,000 New Jer- sey commuters back home in the event of an emergency in NYC. The plan 25 T  he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, working with PB Consult, provided NYCOEM with the esti- mates of the potential numbers of evacuees. 26 T  he Trans-Hudson Emergency Transportation Plan is the first phase of a four-phase effort to improve evacuation planning. New Jersey is working on a Phase II plan for an event similar to the terrorist attack of September 11, which would involve sheltering and possible decontamination. The OEMs of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware are all working on this effort. Phases III and IV, which are in the preliminary planning stage, involve plans for a partial regional evacuation or a major regional evacuation due to a catastrophic event that would include multiple states and introduce long-term sheltering issues. The idea is to proceed from plans for a smaller evacuation and build toward more significant events that would affect much larger areas and involve more jurisdictions. 37274mvp186_288 215 11/24/08 12:21:08 PM

216 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation involves not only NJT—mainly bus transport—but also private ferry com- panies. In an emergency, the colonel of the New Jersey State Police, who is also the State Director of the New Jersey OEM, would activate the plan after consultation with other key agencies, as well as the EOC at the Port Authority Tech Center in Jersey City, right outside the Holland Tunnel. The major agencies involved—New Jersey State Police, NYPD, NYCOEM, the Port Authority, NJT, and the Pennsylvania OEM—would also activate their individual EOCs. A truly regional, multistate plan for emergency evacuation has not been developed. Initial steps have been taken with the creation of a Regional Evacuation Liaison Team. Members currently include NYC; Westchester, Suffolk, and Nassau Counties; the Port Authority; MTA; the New York State Police, the New York State Thruway Authority; and New York State DOT Regions 8, 10, and 11.27 Funding for such an ambitious effort, how- ever, is an issue. The roles of the major transit providers as detailed in existing evacuation plans are described below. Evacuation The most detailed role for transit is provided in the MTA NYCT Hurricane Evacuation Service Plan.28 The primary role of NYCT is to move those in flood zones out of harm’s way to safe locations with friends and family or to public evacuation centers. In the worst-case scenario—a Category 3+ hurricane—the mayor would order 2.3 million New Yorkers to evacuate before the storm made landfall; 1.2 million are expected to travel by transit. Over a several-hour period, some 973,000 would travel to private shelters, while an estimated 395,000 from flood zones would travel to public evacu- ation centers.29 Once at these centers, evacuees would be transported the short remaining distance to local shelters by school buses under contract to NYCOEM. 27 R  egion 8 covers Westchester, Ulster, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, and Duchess Counties. 28 F  ollowing the committee’s site visit, NYCT staff indicated that a new NYC OEM Coastal Storm Plan assumed larger numbers of evacuees using transit in a Category 3+ hurricane—1.8 million would travel by transit, and 526,000 would travel to public evacuation centers. New transit service estimates based on the new numbers are not yet available. 29 P  rovision was made for an additional 81,000 evacuating from areas outside flood zones to public evacuation centers. NYCOEM estimates the capacity of its 500 hurricane shelters as approxi- mately 650,000, well in excess of shelter demand. 37274mvp186_288 216 11/24/08 12:21:08 PM

Case Studies 217 Given the large numbers of potential evacuees, NYCT used its travel forecast modeling capability to determine which bus and subway routes evacuees would be most likely to use to reach public evacuation centers.30 The analysis showed that subway service should be increased on 11 routes to meet surge capacity and to provide a sustainable level of service. An additional 879 NYCT and MTA buses would be required to meet surge requirements on existing bus routes and for operation on more efficient (requiring few transfers) storm routes in some areas. NYCT believes there is sufficient capacity to meet these surge requirements. During a normal morning peak hour, NYCT subway and bus services transport approxi- mately 500,000 and 240,000 passengers, respectively. In a hurricane evacuation scenario, many commuters and school-bound riders would not be using the system; presumably, most businesses and schools would be closed in advance of a hurricane. This capacity would then be available for evacuees. Thus, for example, even assuming 100 percent evacuation, the rail system could provide service at an even level for approximately 12 hours and handle roughly one-quarter of the total number of expected evacuees in any 1-hour period, according to NYCT estimates. The plan calls for the curtailment of subway service 8 hours (6 hours for bus ser- vice) before the predicted onset of sustained gale-force winds, so that per- sonnel and equipment could be moved to safe locations. In the event of a no-notice emergency, the primary role of NYCT would be to transport customers to their final destinations if possible, or to the next transit connection or to reception centers if necessary. (The cur- rent plan calls for suspension of service in the event of a terrorist attack.) Because of its greater capacity, rail is envisioned as the primary mode for evacuating passengers. Buses would be used as a distributor or supplement to rail transit or for the transport of passengers with special transportation needs (see the discussion below). In the case of a no-notice emergency, capacity could be an issue, particularly if parts of the transit system itself were damaged. The time of day of an incident also affects capacity: capacity is more limited at off-peak times in terms of availability of personnel and equipment. Alternative service plans would have to be formulated at the 30 N  o information was available about where people sheltering with friends and family would be traveling, so it was assumed they would be moving in the direction of the CBD, away from the flood zone. 37274mvp186_288 217 11/24/08 12:21:08 PM

218 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation time of the incident. However, NYCT has considerable experience with implementing alternative service arrangements in its day-to-day opera- tions, responding to various kinds of service outages or diversions, so it has a ready set of scenarios to draw upon. Meeting capacity requirements also depends on all employees showing up for work. NYCT staff pointed to the dedication of staff on September 11 but also acknowledged that circum- stances could be different depending on the type of emergency. The MTA is beginning to work on an employee family assistance plan. NJT and the Port Authority would also play important roles in any evacu- ation scenario. NJT is a statewide agency, but 90 percent of its operations serve the NYC area. Pennsylvania Station is NJT-Rail’s main terminal in Man- hattan and under normal circumstances moves about 80,000 passengers dur- ing the combined morning and afternoon peak periods. Surge capacity could be increased under load-and-go operations, but this capability would depend on whether the terminal and equipment were undamaged. Amtrak owns the tracks on which NJT-Rail operates, and there is currently no memorandum of understanding regarding who has precedence in an emergency.31 NJT-Bus operates from the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan through the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey and under normal operations moves about 120,000 passengers during the combined morning and afternoon peak periods. The Trans-Hudson Emergency Transportation Plan provides for alternative bus loading from the street should the Port Authority bus termi- nal be compromised in any way. Buses would then travel on dedicated lanes through the Lincoln Tunnel and on the New Jersey Turnpike to the main reception center in northern New Jersey—Liberty State Park—where provi- sion would be made for further passenger transport or shelter if necessary. The Port Authority’s PATH trains would also carry commuters back to New Jersey in an evacuation. PATH operates out of five terminal stations—two located in Manhattan (33rd Street and the World Trade Center) and three in New Jersey (Hoboken, Journal Square, and Newark). Under normal circum- stances, PATH moves 200,000 passengers each weekday in both directions. 31 I  n fact, should there be an attack on any part of the network, Amtrak would go into “Code Black,” shutting down the system, and in the process, NJT-Rail and its Pennsylvania Station terminal. A new tunnel being constructed under the Hudson River should be available no later than 2016 and will double the capacity of NJT-Rail service to New York and provide redundancy in the system. 37274mvp186_288 218 11/24/08 12:21:08 PM

Case Studies 219 In the event PATH service itself were interrupted, New Jersey commuters could also use private ferries to return home. NYCOEM and the New Jersey OEM are working on a joint agreement with five major private ferry com- panies to provide such service in an emergency, and new berths have been provided for docking at Liberty Park. As part of this effort, geographic infor- mation systems (GIS) are being used to prepare an inventory of all ferry ves- sels, as well as locations where they could dock in New Jersey. The plan is to identify a limited number of docking locations in advance so that the Coast Guard, which has command over the ferry routes, could quickly determine the best routes for ferry trips and communicate these to the ferry operators at the time of an emergency event. Of course, the NYPD Harbor Patrol and the New Jersey State Police Marine Services would assist in any evacuation. Command and Control Transit providers are well represented in the emergency decision-making structure. In the event of an emergency, each transit agency would send a representative to the NYC EOC. In the case of MTA, one representa- tive might serve as the point of contact for multiple MTA agencies. This would be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature and the scope of the incident. Most of the transit agencies (e.g., MTA NYCT- Subway, MTA NYCT-Bus) and other key agencies (e.g., NYPD) also have their own EOCs at which the detailed direction of their own people is handled during an emergency.32 The areawide evacuation plan identifies the principal points of contact in an emergency. Representatives at the NYC EOC would be responsible for communicating with their respective agencies’ command centers. Communications In an emergency, NYCOEM is responsible for notifying all transit agen- cies (including NJT), among others, regarding the nature and location of the hazard; the number of residents to be evacuated, if necessary; decon- 32 T  he MTA Police is in the process of establishing an MTA-wide EOC to coordinate activities and communications among the MTA agencies. This initiative stems from a recommendation follow- ing the August 8, 2007, flooding that rendered much of the rail transit system inoperable. One of the major complaints was the lack of timely information for customers about service changes. In addition, the MTA agencies themselves were unaware of the status of their partner agencies. 37274mvp186_288 219 11/24/08 12:21:09 PM

220 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation tamination needs and procedures, if appropriate; evacuation center loca- tions that have been activated, if any; diversions between modes already under way; activation of procedures to authorize transit vehicles to access restricted areas; and resources needed, such as for transport of emergency personnel or evacuees with special needs. Telephone numbers for primary and backup contacts have been identified. In general, communications are handled through a variety of mechanisms, including hard line, cell, and satellite phones, as well as radios. The region has not developed an interoperable communications system, although New Jersey has received some funding from DHS to develop such a system in that state.33 Transit providers can also use TRANSCOM, an electronic communica- tions system, to communicate with each other. Created in 1986, TRANSCOM is available to a coalition of 16 transportation and public safety agencies in the New York–New Jersey and Connecticut region to collect real-time regional information on traffic and transportation management and dis- seminate it to member agencies.34 In an emergency, transit providers would communicate with their cus- tomers through public address systems on station platforms, on trains, and in terminals; through announcements and postings by station agents; on websites and through text messages to subscribing customers; and through messages that NYCOEM could help disseminate. (MTA agencies all have communication and notification procedures in place that are used on a day-to-day basis to report service changes and outages.) Transit providers hope to minimize any confusion by running schedules as close to normal as possible. If an evacuation were required, transit provider supervisory and station staff would help direct passengers to the correct train or bus to access evacuation centers, and announcements would be made on board. At stations where service was to be increased, additional station agents and supervisors would be present to help control crowds and provide cus- 33 N  ew Jersey interviewees noted the need for a more well-developed interagency communications system. In 2006, the state set aside $4.6 million of a DHS Transit Grant for development of an interoperable communications system. 34 M  ember agencies include the New York State, NYC, New Jersey, and Connecticut departments of transportation; the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the New York State Thruway Author- ity; the New Jersey, NYC, and New York State Police Departments; MTA; MTA NYCT; MTA Bridges and Tunnels; the Port Authority; the New York State Bridge Authority; NJT; and the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation. 37274mvp186_288 220 11/24/08 12:21:09 PM

Case Studies 221 tomer information. In some locations, station supervisors and managers, with the assistance of NYPD, might need to take more drastic action, such as metering people into the station and onto the platform. Support for Incident Response and Recovery NYCOEM is responsible for notifying transit agencies of resources and support needed for transporting emergency personnel to an incident site at the time. According to NYCOEM, plans have been developed for this eventuality. Use of transit personnel and equipment for this purpose would obviously affect service capacity available for evacuees. The role of transit in recovery is not a major planning focus at the moment. Restoration of service, of course, would depend on the nature of the emergency. In the event of a hurricane, restoration of service would depend on the extent of flooding in rail tunnels and the amount of debris on the streets, affecting bus travel. MTA staff also noted that there is a trade-off between attempting to operate service for a longer time before a hurricane and the ability to start up service quickly after the storm has subsided. MTA itself has developed a service restoration plan that would be initiated as soon as an incident occurred. Key MTA staff would meet at the NYT-Subway Rail Control Center with representatives of the police and fire departments, NYCOEM, and other agencies to begin mobilizing resources. Exercises and Drills Conducting a full-scale evacuation drill in NYC is not possible given the size of the population. Nevertheless, tabletop exercises are held frequently in New York, New Jersey, and Long Island. New Jersey, for example, just held such an exercise to test the Trans-Hudson Emergency Transporta- tion Plan. NYCOEM held an exercise to test the evacuation center and sheltering plan; it opened one evacuation center and two shelters in the exercise. The New York–New Jersey area has also had considerable expe- rience with managing emergencies and presumably has learned much from this experience. Finally, NYC has been the site of numerous planned events—the Pope’s visit in 1999, the Republican National Convention in 2004, and annual New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square and Fourth of July celebrations—where extensive experience has been gained regard- ing transit use and crowd control. 37274mvp186_288 221 11/24/08 12:21:09 PM

222 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Remaining Challenges Special-Needs Populations Successful evacuation of special-needs populations, even for an advance- notice event such as a hurricane, will be a challenge. NYCOEM has respon- sibility for planning the evacuation of these populations, which the agency defines as those who are homebound with a medical condition. In a worst- case hurricane scenario, NYCOEM estimates that approximately 300,000 such individuals would need to be evacuated. Although the agency has mapped some census data on special-needs populations by using GIS tech- nology, it does not have a complete picture of the numbers, types, and locations of these individuals or of the resources available (e.g., accessible vehicles, licensed drivers, skilled personnel) to assist them. NYCOEM has not tried to create a voluntary special registry for special-needs evacuees, primarily because it believes that keeping such a registry up to date would be impossible. Rather, it is working with community organizations that provide services to these groups to identify their needs in an emergency evacuation and is working as well with community emergency response teams.35 The agency also encourages special-needs populations to arrange for their own transport in an emergency. If that is not possible, a last-resort Homebound Evacuation Operations Plan will go into effect. If a “Recom- mendation of Evacuation for Individuals with Special Needs” is issued, individuals needing assistance will be able to call 311. They will then be divided into three groups: (a) those who need public transport and can walk to the curbside to access it, (b) those who can sit in a vehicle but cannot walk to access it, and (c) those who need medical assistance. For those who are ambulatory, NYC paratransit vehicles and MTA-accessible buses or supplementary school buses with lifts will transport them to pub- lic shelters.36 For those who can sit but not walk, NYC firefighters will bring them to MTA paratransit vehicles or accessible MTA or school 35 C  urrently there are 62 such teams in the city. The goal is to establish at least one for each community. 36 P  aratransit customers will also be able to call the paratransit call-in line for service, although all who need assistance will be encouraged to use the 311 number. Nevertheless, paratransit pro- viders have a list of shelters in their system and are working with NYCOEM to determine how many of the 106,000 registrants live in a flood zone. This year, in their annual survey, paratransit service providers are asking registrants whether they expect to use Access-a-Ride services in an evacuation. 37274mvp186_288 222 11/24/08 12:21:09 PM

Case Studies 223 buses. For those who need medical attention, 311 operators will transfer them to emergency medical services, which will arrange for ambulances to take them to the nearest hospital outside the evacuation zones. With the exception of those who need medical assistance, people with special needs will be taken to public shelters and will be advised of this by the 311 operators.37 In addition, as part of the Homebound Evacuation Operations Plan, NYCOEM is developing an advance warning system with health care providers, which will be activated to notify members of the need to begin evacuation, also with the 311 system. Implementing the plan in a timely way at the same time that others are evacuating is likely to create conflicts. For example, if special-needs populations are not evacuated early on, they are likely to draw on per- sonnel (i.e., firefighters) and equipment (i.e., accessible buses) that may be needed for other purposes (e.g., evacuating those who are ambula- tory and do not require assistance). These problems would be exacer- bated in a no-notice emergency. Another key issue is whether drivers of the 14 carriers contracted to provide paratransit service can be relied upon to report to work in an emergency, and thus whether there will be an adequate number of licensed drivers. Other issues include the abil- ity of the 311 system to handle the potential number of call-ins within a short time frame, as well as the potential for duplication with paratransit clients using the paratransit provider call-in number. Finally, a drill or at least a tabletop exercise would be useful to help determine whether the plan will work in practice. Jurisdictional Issues and Development of a Regional Evacuation Plan Emergency planning in the New York UA is enormously complex, involv- ing multiple jurisdictions and states. Coordination between the state OEMs is good, and coordination within the MTA on evacuation issues has been thoroughly planned for. Contact with other major area transit provid- ers regarding evacuation issues is less frequent, although NYCT is working closely with NJT, the Port Authority, and Nassau County to develop service 37 N  ew York City has eight special-needs shelters, which are staffed with nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians. NYCOEM is also working with the City University of New York and the Depart- ment of Health to train staff for all public shelters that could assist special-needs populations. 37274mvp186_288 223 11/24/08 12:21:09 PM

224 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation plans.38 More broadly, however, a regional plan and multistate command structure have not yet been developed.39 A Regional Evacuation Liaison Team has been created, but funding is an issue (see below), and no time line has been set for completion. Traffic Congestion and Management Capacity limitations of the New York UA’s aging infrastructure could limit the ability to evacuate people quickly in an emergency. NYC DOT has pri- mary responsibility for traffic management in NYC40 and is represented in evacuation planning and at the EOC, coordinating closely with NYPD should the center be activated. Nevertheless, from a transit perspective, bus movement in an evacuation, even an advance-notice evacuation such as that for a hurricane, when evacuees are encouraged to use rail transit, is an issue because buses share the roads with vehicles and pedestrians. Specifically at issue is the ability of buses to transport passengers to evacuation centers in the event of a hurricane or a no-notice event requiring evacuation,41 as well as bus transport of emergency responders to the incident itself. Contraflow lanes in NYC are viewed as impractical, although NYPD would secure the streets around the Port Authority bus terminal to facilitate bus traffic to New Jersey.42 NYC DOT can also initiate special hurricane signal timing to facili- tate traffic movement and can use electronic signs as well as preinstalled evacuation route signs to guide traffic during an evacuation. DOT staff indi- cated the existence of detailed plans for handling pedestrian and vehicle con- 38 A  rgonne National Laboratory is currently working with OEMs in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and townships, Westchester County, the Port Authority, and SEMO to review all local hurricane evacuation plans and identify any gaps. 39 P  rovision has been made for the OEMs of New York City, New York State, and New Jersey to be in contact via conference calls during an incident. 40 R  esponsibilities also include traffic signal timing, messaging signs, and the like. NYC DOT, New York DOT, and NYPD work together on a daily basis at the traffic management center in Queens. New Jersey has a new traffic management center at Woodbridge, which should help coordinate the response of New Jersey DOT, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and the New Jersey State Police in an emergency. 41 N  YCOEM has plans for staging areas for MTA buses and Department of Education school buses to minimize driving distance, but it remains to be seen how well these plans will work in practice. 42 C  ontraflow lanes could be used on Rockaway Boulevard at the Queens–Nassau County border to smooth traffic flow for evacuees. The Holland Tunnel, and in New Jersey some New Jersey Turnpike lanes, would be dedicated for bus travel from the Port Authority bus terminal to Liberty Park. 37274mvp186_288 224 11/24/08 12:21:09 PM

Case Studies 225 flicts in Manhattan. Pedestrian evacuation routes on city roads and bridges have been identified, including detailed information about deployment of NYPD to handle traffic, and these plans are being coordinated with MTA. Nevertheless, the sheer volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic in an emer- gency could make plan execution difficult. In New Jersey, the State Police are responsible for road management. Reverse-lane strategies are in place for the movement of evacuees from shore communities inland in the event of a hurricane or major coastal storm. As part of the Trans-Hudson Emergency Transportation Plan, the State Police would also control traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike to ensure that buses coming from NYC through the Lincoln Tunnel would have direct access to Liberty State Park and the Meadowlands if the latter facility were activated once construction is complete. Behavioral Issues Questions have been raised about the willingness of New Yorkers to evacu- ate in an emergency, even an advance-notice event such as a hurricane. Although the area has experienced flooding in severe nor’easters—most recently in April 2007—a major hurricane has not struck the area since the 1950s and 1960s. Thus, New York does not have a culture of evacua- tion as does the Gulf Coast, and shelters have a negative connotation for many area residents. Nevertheless, NYCOEM is encouraging evacuation of residents of storm surge areas in a hurricane and has provided informa- tion in mailings (brochures) and on the web for that purpose. For example, NYCOEM has sent all NYC residents who live in evacuation zones the Ready New York Guide, a brochure that tells residents how to prepare for an emergency and whom to contact for assistance. Recognizing an obstacle experienced elsewhere to getting individuals to evacuate, NYC’s evacua- tion plan can also accommodate pets on transit facilities as long as they are caged or leashed and muzzled. In the event that some individuals still resist evacuation, NYCOEM will have “centers of last resort,” with few or no services available other than physical sanctuary, in flood zones. Timing An important issue is the lead time necessary to call an evacuation in the event of a major hurricane or coastal storm. MTA estimates it needs to notify its employees to be on standby about 50 hours in advance of such an event. 37274mvp186_288 225 11/24/08 12:21:10 PM

226 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation However, it does not believe political leadership would mandate an evacua- tion that soon. Thus, MTA would probably have to make its decision early, and this has considerable financial implications. Similarly, political leadership would probably have to issue the call for a mandatory evacuation of storm surge zones before the actual trajectory of the storm was known—an issue constantly faced by their Gulf Coast counterparts. Another issue is the time needed by transit operators to get both personnel and equipment to safety prior to the onset of damaging winds. For this reason, transit is scheduled to shut down 6 to 8 hours prior to the predicted onset of gale-force winds. Funding The New York UA has received considerable funding from DHS for emergency planning and response. However, federal funding has not been forthcoming for the development of regional evacuation plans, although DHS has man- dated that UAs develop such plans for catastrophic emergencies requiring evacuation.43 Without such external assistance, possibly tied to performance indicators, it is doubtful that the development of a regional plan will move quickly given the time and numbers of agencies that must be involved. Summary The New York UA has the largest and densest population of the 38 UAs studied. The area is served by the largest transit system in North America, with an extensive network of rail and bus, commuter and intercity passen- ger rail, and ferry services. The transportation infrastructure, particularly in NYC, is also one of the oldest in the nation. Roads are congested, and a large proportion of the population does not have a car, posing a considerable challenge if evacuation is required in an emergency. For these reasons, and given the sheer size of the UA, evacuating the entire metropolitan area is not viewed as a practical scenario. Rather, the focus of NYCOEM, the agency responsible for emergency planning, has been on partial evacuation— moving residents in storm surge areas to higher ground within the area in the event of a major hurricane or coastal storm and organizing a system of public evacuation centers and shelters for those who cannot shelter with 43 F  ollowing the conduct of this case study, DHS created a new Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program to support regional all-hazards planning for catastrophic events. 37274mvp186_288 226 11/24/08 12:21:10 PM

Case Studies 227 friends or relatives. In the event of a no-notice emergency, such as another terrorist incident or a major power outage, evacuation plans are focused on returning commuters and others home and on partially evacuating the affected area, if needed. Transit providers are well integrated into emergency evacuation plans, and multiple modes of transport—rail, bus, commuter rail, and ferries— would be used in an emergency evacuation. MTA has developed a detailed service plan for a hurricane evacuation on the basis of information provided by NYCOEM on the locations and numbers of potential evacuees. A transit agency coordination document establishes general operating principles and points of contact for all area transit providers should an areawide evacuation be required because of an unspecified emergency incident. Transit agencies are part of the decision-making structure in the event of an emergency, and senior staff would be represented at the EOC should it be activated. Transit providers have established methods for communicating within their own agencies. NYCOEM is responsible for communications among other area emergency management agencies, law enforcement officials, and transit providers across the UA. Many methods of communication are available, but an interoperable communications system has not been developed. In New Jersey, NJT and PATH, which serves New Jersey commuters to New York, are well integrated into emergency planning initiatives. Area transit providers in general have had considerable experience transporting large numbers of passengers during emergencies, such as the terrorist attack of September 11, as well as for major planned events. They have also participated in numerous tabletop exercises of emergency evacuation plans, although full-scale drills are not viewed as practical. Many challenges remain, however. Interjurisdictional issues continue to be paramount in view of the multiple states (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) and multiple agencies that must be involved in emergency evacuation planning. A Regional Evacuation Liaison Team has been estab- lished, but development of an areawide regional evacuation plan has only just begun. With the possible exception of the advance warning system with health care providers, a workable evacuation plan for special-needs populations—including ways to identify these populations and coordinate their evacuation with that of the general population in the event of an emergency—remains a work in progress. Finally, convincing New Yorkers 37274mvp186_288 227 11/24/08 12:21:10 PM

228 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation of the need to evacuate at all may be an issue, particularly in the event of a hurricane or major coastal storm, because of the infrequency of such an event. This case study also raises several more general policy issues that may be relevant for other large UAs. A key issue is whether it is realistic to con- sider evacuation of a major UA. Emergency planners have unequivocally answered this question in the negative, and all emergency evacuation plans are predicated on partial evacuations and sheltering in the area, if neces- sary. The same issue was raised in other case studies (e.g., Chicago, Los Angeles) and is critical because planning for a more extensive emergency evacuation may be impractical and focus priorities and limited funding on a low-probability event. Managing traffic congestion in older UAs, such as New York, is another key issue that can affect successful evacuation, particularly the use of buses. New York transportation planners do not believe that contraflow arrange- ments are feasible, particularly for NYC, except in a few limited cases. Changing traffic signal timing, using variable message signs, and the like can help, but sharing the road with private vehicles and, in Manhattan, with large numbers of pedestrians is likely to impede rapid egress by buses in an emergency evacuation. Providing more redundancy of facilities, such as the new Hudson River Rail Tunnel, would be desirable, but additional capacity is expensive and difficult to construct in a fully built-up, older, densely populated urban area. The complexities of evacuating special-needs populations is yet another key issue, particularly in a UA the size of New York. Area planners have determined that establishing voluntary special registries to identify resi- dents needing assistance in an evacuation is not feasible; keeping such a registry up to date is not practical and could provide a false sense of security. Nevertheless, the plan to use the 311 system at the time of an emergency to process those needing assistance and to coordinate their evacuation using personnel (firefighters) and equipment (MTA and school buses) that could be needed to serve the general population appears problematic. NYCOEM is encouraging self-help efforts and has enlisted the assistance of commu- nity human service providers who are aware of the needs of many poten- tial special-needs evacuees. The agency is also training staff to work with special-needs populations at shelters. Nevertheless, NYCOEM continues 37274mvp186_288 228 11/24/08 12:21:10 PM

Case Studies 229 to believe that its biggest remaining challenge is to identify special-needs populations and their transportation requirements. Finally, funding is an important issue. Since Hurricane Katrina, DHS has placed greater emphasis on the development of regional evacuation plans for a catastrophic emergency. New York has assembled a Regional Evacuation Planning Team, but without more external assistance, possibly tied to performance indicators, progress is not likely to be rapid. More- over, the development of a workable regional plan assumes that agencies will work across political and jurisdictional lines to implement that plan. Committee Members and Staff in Attendance Kenneth Brown (lead) Arnold Howitt Michael Setzer David Giles44 Nancy Humphrey Briefings Shoshana Cooper, Director, Operations Analysis, New York City Transit Kevin Fowler, Assistant Bureau Chief, Emergency Preparedness Bureau, and Michael Devlin, Assistant Unit Head, New Jersey State Police (OEM North Region) Raheel Shabih, Director of Transportation and Infrastructure, New York City Office of Emergency Management Harold Neil, Director, Office of Transportation Security, New Jersey Department of Transportation Gerard McCarty, General Manager, Emergency Management, Office of Emergency Management, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Robert Noble, Sergeant, Office of Crisis Management, New Jersey Transit Police David Zatlin, Regional Coordinator, State Emergency Management Office Region 1, State of New York (by telephone) David Williams, Liaison Officer, Long Island Region, New York State Department of Transportation Ian Francis, Acting Director of Interagency Programs/Projects, Region 11, New York State Department of Transportation 44 S  enior Research Assistant, Taubman Center for State and Local Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 37274mvp186_288 229 11/24/08 12:21:10 PM

230 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Fredericka Cuenca, Director of Operations Support, Metropolitan Transportation Authority John Tipaldo, Director of Traffic Management, New York City Department of Trans- portation; Margaret Gordon, Executive Director, Safety and Security, Staten Island Ferry and Private Ferries, New York City Department of Transportation; and Milagros Ramirez, Emergency Planning and Preparedness Coordinator, Special Events, Emer- gency Response, New York City Department of Transportation Megan E. Medina, Preparedness Specialist, NYC Office of Emergency Management (assisted with follow-up questions) Documents Consulted 1. New York City Transit. 2007. Hurricane Evacuation Service Plan and Attachments (revised). June 2007. 2. Cooper, S. 2007. Transit Evacuation for the Worst Case Hurricane in New York City. New York City Transit, prepared for the National Conference on Disaster Planning for the Carless Society, New Orleans, La., February. 3. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Office of Civil Rights. Informational Letter to Milligan & Company, LLC, regarding FTA request for information on treatment of needs of minority and low-income persons, households without vehicles, and persons with limited English proficiency in emergency preparedness plans. 4. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The MTA Network. www.mta.info/mta/ network.htm. 5. MTA Agency Coastal Storm Timelines (by time interval). 6. New York State Department of Transportation, Region 10 (Long Island), Emergency Response Guidebook, Version 2006–2007. Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana Case Study In addition to responses to the questionnaires presented above, this case study is based on information gathered during a site visit made on August 13–14, 2007. Overview Demographics and Geography According to the U.S. Census, the population of the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana UA45 was approximately 11.8 million in 2000—the second- 45 F  or brevity, the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana UA is referred to as the Los Angeles UA. 37274mvp186_288 230 11/24/08 12:21:10 PM

Case Studies 231 FIGURE D-4 Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana, California, UA. largest of the 38 UAs with populations of more than 1 million.46 Approxi- mately 10 million live in Los Angeles County—4 million in the City of Los Angeles, 5 million in 87 other municipalities, and 1 million in unincorporated areas of the county. The remainder live in Orange County (see Figure D-4). Both counties are heavily urbanized, and the Los Angeles UA is ranked high- est in population density of the 38 UAs. This population is spread out over 1,668 square miles, the sixth-largest land area of the 38 UAs studied. The Los Angeles UA has a high concentration of immigrants, whom research has shown to be heavy transit users (see Chapter 3 and Appendix B). For example, the Los Angeles UA has the second-highest number of foreign-born persons entering the United States since 2000, after the New York–Newark UA. Moreover, according to the 2005 American Community Survey, a large fraction of the population (28 percent of the UA population over age 5) speaks English “less than very well”—the highest proportion 46 D  ata on UA population, land area, and population density were drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Decennial Census of Population and Housing, and the Federal Transit Administra- tion’s 2005 National Transit Database. 37274mvp186_288 231 11/24/08 12:21:11 PM

232 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation among the 38 UAs. The Los Angeles UA also has high numbers of people liv- ing in poverty. Of the 38 UAs, it is tied with the Riverside–San Bernardino UA in having the third-largest percentage of its population below the pov- erty level. Among the 38 UAs, the Los Angeles UA has the second-highest population (≥ age 5) with a disability, but it ranks near the bottom of the 38 in the percentage of its population (11 percent) with a disability. Simi- larly, the 2000 Census reported nearly 438,000 householders in the Los Angeles UA as not having a car, second only to the New York–Newark UA. However, the percentage of carless households (11 percent) is only slightly above the median of the 38 UAs. The Los Angeles UA is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west. The area is served by two of the largest ports in the nation (the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach), one of the busiest international airports [Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)], and an extensive freeway network. The transit system is primarily a bus system, and the buses travel on a high- way network that has been rated the most congested among the 38 UAs.47 Light and heavy rail serve the City of Los Angeles, LAX, and Long Beach, and commuter rail service is available to downtown Los Angeles, but the system is far less extensive than the rail systems of many older UAs, such as New York and Chicago. Transit The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)48 is the pri- mary transit provider in the Los Angeles UA, serving the City of Los Angeles and the rest of Los Angeles County. The agency is supported by an allotment of the state sales tax, a portion of which it allocates to other local transit operators. MTA functions in a transportation planning and programming capacity, as well as being a provider and funder of local transit services. It not only oversees all regional bus and rail operations but also has responsibility for countywide transportation policy and planning; programming of federal, state, and local transportation funds; and coordination of transportation 47 S  chrank and Lomax, The 2007 Urban Mobility Report, Texas Transportation Institute. 48 M  TA was created by the California State Assembly in May 1982, merging the former Los Angeles County Transportation Commission and the Southern California Rapid Transit District. 37274mvp186_288 232 11/24/08 12:21:11 PM

Case Studies 233 agencies operating within the county.49 Moreover, MTA funds and develops HOV lanes [in cooperation with the California Department of Transporta- tion (Caltrans)], provides freeway service patrol, and funds bicycle paths, much along the lines of METRO in Houston. In its transit capacity, MTA operates approximately 2,500 buses over 168 bus routes, including a dedicated bus lane for rapid bus transit,50 and roll- ing stock of more than 150 railcars on four rail routes—three light rail lines and one heavy rail—serving approximately 1.3 million bus riders and about 300,000 rail riders. The rail system has more capacity to move large numbers of people rapidly; for example, it can transport approximately 15,000 to 20,000 passengers per hour in a major event. Nevertheless, the equipment cannot be used interchangeably even on the light rail lines, which limits the capacity to meet surge demands in a particular service area in an emer- gency. Although the bus fleet has less capacity to move large numbers of people quickly, MTA considers its bus fleet to have far greater flexibility to accommodate surge demands. MTA contracts with Access Services to pro- vide paratransit service to those with disabilities in its service area.51 Los Angeles County is served by four other major transit providers (a total of 42 transit agencies serve the county). In addition to its responsibil- ity for traffic management on city streets and parking enforcement within the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles DOT manages three transit pro- grams through eight competitively bid contracts—the downtown feeder and community DASH lines with 120 alternatively fueled vehicles; Commuter Express, which offers peak-period express bus service on 15 routes in the 49 I  n contrast to other regions in California and to other metropolitan areas, responsibility for pro- gramming transportation funds in the Los Angeles region rests at the county and subcounty lev- els. Both Los Angeles and Orange Counties have a transportation commission or authority (MTA in the case of Los Angeles County and the Orange County Transportation Authority for Orange County) charged with countywide transportation planning, allocation of locally generated or locally dedicated funding, and operation of transit services. The role of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the metropolitan planning agency for the region, is to integrate the county-developed transportation improvement programs (TIPs) into a consistent regional program, brokering any disputes. SCAG is also responsible for developing the Long Range Regional Transportation Plan, with which each county’s TIP must be consistent. 50 T  he Orange Line runs through the San Fernando Valley from North Hollywood to the Warner Center. 51 A  ccess Services is a state-mandated, local governmental agency created by public transit opera- tors in Los Angeles County to administer and manage the delivery of paratransit services on their behalf to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)–certified county residents. 37274mvp186_288 233 11/24/08 12:21:11 PM

234 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation county; and the City Ride program, which provides Dial-a-Ride and other services for the elderly and those with disabilities within the City of Los Angeles with its 73-vehicle fleet. Foothill Transit provides bus service for 21 municipalities and unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County. Similar to the Los Angeles DOT, this agency competitively contracts its services, which are provided by a fleet of nearly 320 buses operating on 20 routes and man- aged by a private company. With a fleet of 55 bilevel railcars (and 39 locomo- tives), Metrolink, the third transit provider, operates commuter rail service not only in Los Angeles County but also in Orange, Riverside, Ventura, and San Bernardino Counties.52 More than half of passenger trips (54 percent), however, end in Los Angeles, and four of the six rail lines terminate in down- town Los Angeles at Union Station. Some of Metrolink’s lines run on private freight rail track, and several stations are shared with Amtrak intercity rail service. Finally, Long Beach, a large suburb of Los Angeles with 500,000 residents, is served by Long Beach Transit, as well as MTA’s Blue Line. Long Beach Transit operates 220 buses over 38 bus routes, plus a contracted Dial- a-Ride service for those with disabilities who are unable to use the regular bus system, a downtown shuttle service and circulator, and a water taxi. Orange County has its own transit agency, the Orange County Trans- portation Authority (OCTA), which is supported by a dedicated county sales tax that was recently reauthorized by county voters. With a fleet of about 950 large buses that it owns and operates, OCTA provides service on 81 routes in the county. It also owns 374 vehicles that are operated and maintained by a contractor. Of these, 265 are in paratransit service, and the remaining 109 are in small bus fixed-route service.53 Emergency Response and Evacuation Planning The authority to declare a state of emergency rests with local government. In the City of Los Angeles, the mayor has this responsibility, to be exercised in conjunction with the city’s Emergency Preparedness Department (EPD). Elected officials of the other 87 municipalities in Los Angeles County reserve 52 M  etrolink is in the process of purchasing 103 additional railcars and cabcars and 15 locomotives. It recently opened its fist suburban-to-suburban route. 53 I  n addition, OCTA has another 117 contingency vehicles—82 large buses and 35 vehicles that could be operated in either paratransit or fixed-route service. Many of these vehicles can be brought on line quickly in an emergency. 37274mvp186_288 234 11/24/08 12:21:11 PM

Case Studies 235 this authority, but the Los Angeles County OEM would play a major coor- dinating role if an incident of any magnitude were involved. The Los Ange- les County and Orange County boards of super­visors have responsibility for declaring a state of emergency in un­incorporated areas of their respective counties. If a major incident occurred, the governor could declare a state of emergency and, working through the California Office of Emergency Ser- vices (OES), would deploy the resources of the California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, and other state resources.54 If an emergency warrants an evacuation, law enforcement is respon- sible. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) issues an evacuation order in the City of Los Angeles; the police chiefs reserve this author- ity in the other 87 municipalities in Los Angeles County. County sheriff’s offices have this responsibility in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles and Orange Counties.55 Three primary agencies have responsibility for emergency planning in the Los Angeles UA—the EPD of the City of Los Angeles, the OEM of Los Angeles County, and the Orange County Department of Emer- gency Services (DES). The Los Angeles EPD is responsible for planning the city’s response to an emergency, including coordinating with other key agencies—LAPD, the Fire Department, the Department of Public Works, DOT, and Caltrans. If the Los Angeles EPD determines that acti- vation of the EOC is necessary and LAPD orders an evacuation, MTA provides the primary transportation support, and the Los Angeles DOT provides backup. The Los Angeles County OEM is charged with planning for and coor- dinating the county’s response to an emergency, including activation of the County EOC (CEOC).56 The county is divided into eight disaster management areas (Area H is the City of Los Angeles), which are run by professional emergency managers. The county plans for three levels of CEOC activation: Level 1, a limited response in which the CEOC is 54 T  he governor can declare a state of emergency without a local request. This happened during the October 2007 brush fires that affected the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. 55 F  ire and health officials can also initiate an evacuation in Orange County. 56 T  he CEOC is activated if the EOC of the City of Los Angeles or the City of Long Beach is activated, or if the EOCs of two or more cities in the county are activated. The county can also activate the CEOC on its own if conditions warrant. 37274mvp186_288 235 11/24/08 12:21:11 PM

236 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation staffed by one or two individuals, monitoring events and ensuring good communications between responding agencies and emergency manag- ers; Level 2, a moderate emergency that requires coordinated response among selected departments, outside agencies, or liaisons; and Level 3, a full-activation emergency that requires the response of all departments and many agencies. If an evacuation is ordered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, MTA serves a supporting role for transit services. Major evacuation routes have been identified in the event of an evacuation (mainly commuter routes), and some lanes have been dedicated for ingress of emergency vehicles. Evacuation centers have also been preidentified by the Red Cross, located primarily at area schools. The actual evacuation routes and shelters to be used, however, would be determined at the time of an emergency and depend on the nature and extent of the incident. DES is responsible for emergency planning and coordination of the appropriate response in Orange County, including activation of the county EOC. If an evacuation were ordered by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, OCTA would provide transportation for those without access to a private vehicle to assembly points or other designated locations at the direction of the Transportation Unit Coordinator at the EOC. The Los Angeles UA has not planned for a major multijurisdictional emergency that would require a large-scale evacuation, although DHS recently approved a small grant for mass evacuation planning in the region (see details below). Area officials do not believe that a mass evacuation of Los Angeles is feasible. Moreover, they note that the hazards the area faces are largely unpredictable, and therefore it is difficult to plan for them. The encyclopedic All-Hazard Mitigation Plan (dated June 2005) of the County of Los Angeles identifies as the area’s highest-risk hazards earthquakes, urban fires, terrorist events, utility losses, floods, droughts, biological/health incidents, contamination of water and wastewater sys- tems, economic disruption, disruption of data and telecommunications systems, and civil unrest.57 With some exceptions, evacuation scenarios and plans have not been developed for these threats because it is difficult to 57 T  he Hazard Mitigation Planning Advisory Committee established priorities for these risks, tak- ing into account public input, on the basis of the probable effects of each risk, including its potential magnitude and economic impact, the frequency distribution of resulting damage, the demographics of areas potentially affected, and the degree of vulnerability. 37274mvp186_288 236 11/24/08 12:21:12 PM

Case Studies 237 know where they might occur in the region and which freeways would be affected. For other hazards (e.g., earthquakes), evacuation is not typically involved, and the transit system itself or the roads on which buses operate could be compromised. Some evacuation plans for specific emergencies or areas, however, have been developed or are under development, and some do or could involve transit. Brushfire evacuation plans have been prepared (transit does not play a role), and a tsunami plan is soon to be released that includes a small role for transit. The U.S. Coast Guard has drafted a major plan for evacuating approximately 1.5 million people in the vicinity of the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in the event of a terrorist incident (detonation of a nuclear device); MTA is involved in this plan, but the plan is confidential. In addition, a plan for the evacuation of LAX is being developed. No plan currently exists, however, for evacuating downtown Los Angeles in the event of a terrorist incident or other emergency. One of the area’s most complete and frequently practiced evacuation scenarios is part of Orange County’s Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Plan to handle a potential radiological discharge from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), located in northern San Diego County close to the Orange County border. Following federal regulations, Orange County has developed an evacuation plan, including transportation assem- bly points, bus transport for those without access to private vehicles, and provision for special-needs populations.58 Although the affected commu- nities lie outside the Los Angeles UA, development and frequent drills (every 3 years) have forged close links between Orange County emergency managers and OCTA. Despite the lack of areawide evacuation plans, California has a long his- tory of mutual-aid agreements, dating back to the Civil Defense program in the 1950s. The California Emergency Services Act, passed in the 1970s, built on earlier systems of mutual aid. In the 1990s, the response to the Oakland fires resulted in the formalized Standardized Emergency Man- agement System (SEMS) by which signatory agencies agree to assist one another voluntarily, including the provision of transportation services, in 58 A  fter the Three Mile Island incident, all communities within approximately 10 miles of a nuclear power plant were required to develop emergency plans, including evacuation routes and shelter locations. The State of California has defined a broader radius of 10 to 20 miles as a public educa- tion zone within which residents are to be informed about preparedness plans. 37274mvp186_288 237 11/24/08 12:21:12 PM

238 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation the event of a disaster.59 Thus, area emergency managers believe that they can handle most emergencies and potential evacuation needs when they occur. Nevertheless, it is difficult to see how plans for specific hazards could be scaled up to handle a mass evacuation. Transit’s Role in Emergency Evacuation Evacuation In Los Angeles County, MTA has the primary role for coordinating trans- portation providers in a major incident that would trigger activation of either the Los Angeles City or County EOC, where the agency would be represented and potentially requested to provide drivers and buses in an evacuation. That said, there is no regional plan for a major evacuation, and for many hazards, MTA has a limited role. In an earthquake, for example, MTA would shut down the system until the integrity of rail lines and over- passes on which buses travel had been verified. MTA is not involved in the tsunami plan, nor does it have a plan to move transportation-dependent populations in an emergency. MTA staff noted that even in a partial evac- uation, the agency has little spare capacity to respond to an emergency while keeping the rest of the system operating. In the City of Los Angeles, the DOT considers itself a first responder in an emergency that does not require activation of the city EOC, and it has responsibility for coordinating other transportation providers. (If the EOC were activated in response to a major incident, MTA would serve this role, and the DOT would supply backup transportation.) The City of Los Ange- les DOT has a role in the soon-to-be-released tsunami plan, which would involve evacuation of 200,000 to 300,000 residents along predetermined evacuation routes. Transportation hubs have been identified from which transit buses would take those who lack access to a private vehicle to area high schools and parks, and the City of Los Angeles DOT has assigned a dedi- cated safety and security liaison to help coordinate the DOT’s transit role. Foothill Transit is not currently included in Los Angeles County emer- gency plans, but the new director of emergency response believes the agency could play a role in an emergency, particularly in the evacuation 59 S  EMS was integrated into the federally required National Incident Management System (NIMS) following the attacks of September 11, 2001. 37274mvp186_288 238 11/24/08 12:21:12 PM

Case Studies 239 of area residents with limited English proficiency. He is working to build links with emergency managers of the City and County of Los Angeles and the municipalities served by Foothill Transit. The agency does have some interaction with other area transit providers—MTA, OCTA, and Omni Trans in San Bernardino. For example, Foothill Transit participates in the Regional Transit Safety Working Group, which meets monthly, but the primary focus is on emergency response to terrorism rather than an all- hazards approach. Metrolink is also not included in Los Angeles County emergency plans, and it has no links with the CEOC and little or no interaction with MTA on emergency response and evacuation issues. If its riders were stranded at a station in the event of an emergency, for example, there is no plan for mov- ing them elsewhere. Metrolink does coordinate with local fire and police departments regarding an incident that could involve its own equipment, and the agency has plans for moving its equipment in the event of a tsunami or an earthquake.60 Although Metrolink would be willing to participate in emergency planning, agency staff see the primary role of the rail system as getting its own customers home rather than assisting others to evacuate. The principal constraint on greater involvement of Metrolink in an evacuation is the fixed-route nature of the system. The location of an incident, the time of day it occurred, and minimal staffing on trains also would limit the ability of Metrolink to provide assistance in a major incident. Long Beach Transit is involved in local emergency planning, including the tsunami plan, which could involve evacuating 20,000 to 30,000 Long Beach residents or more, and the evacuation plan for the Port of Long Beach. It would also be represented at the Long Beach EOC should the EOC be activated. Most residents have cars, but for those who do not, collection points have been established for them to access buses in an emergency evacuation. The goal of the fire department, which manages emergency planning in Long Beach, is to develop emergency operating plans and a state-of-the-art EOC and to build closer partnerships with Long Beach Transit, the Long Beach School District, and local Red Cross chapters. A disaster committee of many of the relevant agencies meets monthly. 60 M  etrolink has an arrangement with Caltech to provide advance notification of a tsunami or, if there is sufficient warning, an earthquake so its equipment can be moved out of harm’s way in a timely manner. 37274mvp186_288 239 11/24/08 12:21:12 PM

240 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation OCTA is part of the Orange County emergency plan to provide trans- portation support in the event of an emergency and would be represented at the county EOC if it were activated. OCTA has a formal role in the county-developed emergency evacuation plan for SONGS—those who lack transport would be evacuated by bus to the Orange County Fair Grounds. Transit probably would not be needed for evacuation due to a tsunami. Specific plans are not in place for other emergencies. Buses and school shelters would be provided on demand as available, and numer- ous mutual-aid agreements would help augment local equipment needs if OCTA resources were overwhelmed. Many transit agencies in the Los Angeles UA have little experience with area evacuations but a great deal of experience handling large crowds dur- ing planned events and responding to area emergencies on an ad hoc basis. For example, MTA and the City of Los Angeles DOT play a large role in bringing people to some 500 special events each year (e.g., the Academy Awards) and managing area traffic.61 DASH vehicles were used during the 2000 Democratic National Convention. After the 1994 Northridge earth- quake, the MTA bus system, which was not affected, was used to transport law enforcement officials to various locations, and Foothill Transit helped transport victims of the earthquake to temporary quarters. During the 1992 riots, MTA buses were used to bring in the National Guard. Long Beach Transit recently participated in the evacuation of residents fleeing the Santa Catalina fire to schools in Long Beach as part of a mutual-aid agreement. Schools play a major role in an evacuation by serving as shelters in both the City and County of Los Angeles. However, use of school buses to pro- vide transportation in an emergency, with the exception of evacuating stu- dents, is a different story. According to school district officials, the 2,000 school buses of the Los Angeles Unified School District are fully commit- ted on weekdays and thus would not be available to assist in the evacua- tion of the general population. At other times, driver availability could be an issue. Union regulations could affect the number of hours that could be worked, and more than half the workforce is contracted out. More- over, drivers are not familiar with routes other than school bus routes. In 61 F  oothill Transit also helped for a short period with Katrina victims. 37274mvp186_288 240 11/24/08 12:21:12 PM

Case Studies 241 Orange County, by comparison, school buses are part of the emergency plan, and they could be deployed by the Logistics Section chief and trans- portation coordinator in an emergency. The Orange County EOC also has a contract with two school bus companies to help evacuate up to several thousand residents of Santa Ana in an emergency. In summary, the major transit providers (MTA, City of Los Angeles DOT, OCTA) in the Los Angeles UA are part of the emergency response and evacuation plans of their major cities and counties, but they are not coordinated across jurisdictional lines to assist in a mass evacuation in the event of a major incident. Other, smaller transit providers—Foothill Transit and Metrolink, for example—have not been integrated into county emergency plans.62 When MTA was asked what would be the key require- ments for integrating transit into a regional evacuation plan, staff noted the need for a clear chain of command whereby the agency would be a full partner in the incident command structure; designated evacuation routes with dedicated lanes for buses and emergency vehicles; designated pickup points (e.g., Union Station, the Convention Center), particularly in downtown Los Angeles; designated drop-off points, which are likely to be schools selected by the Red Cross; detailing of evacuation scenarios; and a good interagency communications system.63 According to MTA, the main obstacles to a greater role for transit in regional evacuation are the condition of and congestion on area roads and freeways, fuel availability (90 percent of MTA buses use compressed natural gas, and DASH buses operate on alternative fuels), the potential loss of the power grid for rail operations, availability of personnel, and resources. Command and Control Major area transit providers—MTA and OCTA—are represented in the emergency decision-making structure of their respective counties. Each would send a representative to the Los Angeles CEOC and the Orange 62 S  CAG has proposed conducting a survey of second- and third-tier transit providers in the region to determine whether they are participants in any emergency planning activities, what contacts they have with other providers, and what their situation is with respect to fuel use and avail- ability and other logistical issues that could affect their capacity to respond in an emergency and possible evacuation. 63 M  TA staff indicated the existence of a system for communication with other transit agencies, but limited communication with emergency management agencies. 37274mvp186_288 241 11/24/08 12:21:12 PM

242 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation County EOC, respectively, if either of these EOCs or that of the City of Los Angeles were activated in an emergency.64 Operating under the direction of emergency managers and law enforcement, MTA and OCTA would play a support role in their respective counties. They would be responsible for coordinating the necessary transportation resources, including other tran- sit providers, in responding to an emergency event and potential evacu- ation.65 Staff of MTA noted that it would operate primarily in a liaison capacity in the Los Angeles CEOC, receiving requests for resources from the Logistics Section, and should be a full partner in any regional emer- gency plan involving mass evacuation. OCTA would take direction from the Logistics Section chief at the Orange County EOC. Because of its role in traffic management as well as the provision of tran- sit services, the City of Los Angeles DOT is considered a first responder in an emergency event that does not require activation of the city’s EOC. The DOT has 500 traffic officers who could assist in an evacuation, as well as a 40-person strike team of engineers well trained in emergency response who could establish a perimeter around the site of an emergency event, deploy traffic officers, close routes as appropriate, and initiate an evacua- tion.66 If the city’s EOC were activated, the City of Los Angeles DOT would be represented, but it would play a role secondary to that of MTA. City of Los Angeles DOT staff noted that the agency has close links with both MTA and the Los Angeles CEOC. Other transit providers, primarily in Los Angeles County—Foothill Transit and Metrolink—are not part of the county’s emergency decision- making structure, nor do they have close ties with MTA regarding emer- gency operating plans or response. Communications In the event of an emergency in Los Angeles County, the CEOC would be responsible for coordinating transportation-related requests for assistance. The CEOC has numerous methods for communicating with responders, 64 T  he School Board would also be represented at the Los Angeles CEOC. 65 A  lthough it would not have a representative at the Los Angeles CEOC, Long Beach Transit would be represented at the EOC for Long Beach if it were activated during an emergency. 66 T  he DOT estimated that the strike team could be in place approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour after a command post was established and that an area evacuation could take from 1 to 2 hours. 37274mvp186_288 242 11/24/08 12:21:13 PM

Case Studies 243 including a special radio frequency for conversing with county fire and police; a countywide radio system for other responders; and an Emergency Management Information System (EMIS) with satellite redundancy that provides county emergency managers with the means to submit status reports, requests for information, and requests for resources to the county. EMIS would be monitored during an event, and the CEOC would respond to e-mails and status reports as necessary. EMIS sends out an automatic alert to emergency managers if a new event is entered into the system by any authorized user (e.g., county departments, cities). In the event of an emergency in Orange County, DES is responsible for contacting OCTA, among other agencies. Communications systems between DES and OCTA are fully interoperable via multiple modes, including radio, text messages, and satellite phones. As the primary coordinator for Los Angeles County transportation providers in an emergency, MTA has a system for communicating with other local transit providers. MTA has numerous ways of reaching its own operators in an emergency. For example, with its Advanced Traveler Infor- mation System, it can track bus locations from its headquarters Control Center for Bus Operations and contact drivers via radio and text messages. MTA monitors rail operations through its secure rail operations facility via closed-circuit TV and computerized train control for each line, manned by two operators per line.67 Metrolink can communicate well with its train operators through its central dispatchers in the event of an emergency. Moreover, Metrolink, Amtrak, and freight rail dispatchers are closely linked and have the capability to see each other’s lines. The City of Los Angeles DOT has numerous ways of communicating with other agencies during an emergency through its mobile command post of 25 to 30 trailers, which is deployed in an emergency along with its 40-person strike team. The mobile unit is outfitted with satellite access and access to the DOT’s automated traffic center, and it supports fiber- optic technology through which DOT can change signal timing from a field laptop, for example. In addition, the DOT has two other mobile units at LAX and a few satellite telephones. 67 I  n the event of an emergency, it would be necessary to operate the controls manually to detour around an incident. 37274mvp186_288 243 11/24/08 12:21:13 PM

244 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Transit providers vary widely in their capabilities for communicat- ing with customers during an emergency. The City of Los Angeles DOT depends on mass communications systems such as reverse 911 and the 311 system for direct contact with customers, particularly those needing special assistance (see the subsequent discussion of special-needs popula- tions). Metrolink would go directly to the media to provide information about an emergency to its riders, who could also access the information on the Metrolink website.68 Maps with transportation staging areas have been sent to residents in evacuation areas associated with Orange County’s Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Plan. In Santa Ana, the Orange County seat, where nearly three-fourths of the population is Spanish speaking, the fire department, which is responsible for emergency management in that municipality, would use a variety of means to contact its transit-dependent population in the event of an emergency. These include Spanish- and Viet- namese-language radio and television stations, as well as the use of reverse 911 to reach largely Spanish-speaking as well as Vietnamese populations. Support for Incident Response and Recovery Many transit agencies noted that their equipment could be used in an emergency and that they could also help transport emergency personnel to an incident site on an as-needed basis. For example, MTA rail could provide heavy equipment to help out at an emergency site and has pro- vided bus transport in the past for law enforcement officials during area emergencies (e.g., the Los Angeles riots in 1992 and the Northridge earth- quake in 1994). For MTA to support an emergency response, however, particularly in an incident of any size, the City of Los Angeles DOT, the Los Angeles County Public Works Department, and Caltrans would need to keep the roads clear and dedicate lanes to travel by buses and emergency vehicles.69 Carpool lanes on the freeway, for example, could be used for this purpose. MTA staff, however, raised the issue of equipment capacity, particularly if buses were to be used for evacuation in one location while 68 M  etrolink is also developing an elaborate data system that will provide real-time information about the location of its equipment. These data can be provided to customers via subscription. The process can be reversed in an emergency. 69 T  he Long Beach Public Works Department has agreed to take the lead in keeping the roads clear during an emergency in the City of Long Beach. 37274mvp186_288 244 11/24/08 12:21:13 PM

Case Studies 245 an attempt was being made to maintain transit service in other parts of the county. OCTA staff noted that the agency has the capability of transporting emergency personnel on an as-required basis to an incident site. In the past, the agency has supplied buses on demand for firefighting, primarily to transport firefighters to the scene to provide shift relief. Similarly, Long Beach Transit used some of its buses to bring emergency responders to fight a major blaze during 2006 at the Paradise Gardens Apartments fire. None of the interviewees mentioned the potential role of transit in recov- ery, most likely because few emergency evacuation plans are in place. Exercises and Drills Despite the lack of areawide evacuation plans, emergency managers in the Los Angeles UA conduct numerous exercises and drills. For example, Los Angeles County holds large annual exercises of its CEOC that include representatives from MTA. MTA staff, however, did not mention partici- pation in any areawide tabletop exercises or drills. The City of Los Angeles DOT recently held a small drill involving evacuation of 400 residences in a fire scenario. Only eight to 10 families actually went to evacuation centers; most others evacuated outside the area. In Orange County, the SONGS emergency evacuation plan, which involves OCTA, is tested every 3 years by federal regulation. Staff from OCTA also indicated that it participated in countywide tabletop exercises and drills. Of course, area transit pro- viders gain considerable practice in moving large numbers of people for major planned events every year. Remaining Challenges Special-Needs Populations The Los Angeles UA has a high concentration of populations who might need assistance in an evacuation, but few plans exist for transporting the elderly or those with disabilities in an emergency, or more generally, for transporting those who simply lack access to a car. Access Services pro- vides paratransit service to approximately 80,000 ADA-certified residents of Los Angeles County on behalf of area transit providers, including MTA. Many economically disadvantaged residents and some persons with dis- abilities also ride MTA-accessible buses and presumably would continue 37274mvp186_288 245 11/24/08 12:21:13 PM

246 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation to do so in an emergency. There is no overall plan, however, for evacuation of special-needs populations in an emergency. Los Angeles County recently awarded a $500,000 grant to the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, part of the School of Public Affairs of the Univer- sity of California at Los Angeles, from California’s allocation of DHS grant funds. The purpose of the project is to develop maps by using GIS, as well as a database to identify the locations and needs of county residents with dis- abilities, the elderly, people living with AIDS, and other vulnerable popula- tions who would have difficulty evacuating on their own in an emergency. The database will be populated by having county residents voluntarily enter information about their needs and requirements in the event of an emer- gency. In addition to identifying the locations of those with special needs, the maps will provide emergency managers with details on evacuation and community centers that can handle those with disabilities. The maps, which should be functional within a year, and the database are intended for the use of the Los Angeles CEOC, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, LAPD, and the city and county fire departments. SCAG believes it could play a role by using its GIS capability to map the locations of various special- needs populations (e.g., those living in poverty, recent immigrants). The City of Los Angeles DOT is also working with other city agencies to develop a database of special-needs populations within the city, drawing on the lists of those served by, for example, DOT’s City Ride Program, Meals on Wheels, and the Department of Aging. However, the project is moving slowly because there are no dedicated, full-time staff assigned to it. In an emergency, the DOT plans to communicate with special-needs popula- tions through reverse 911 and the 311 system. Staff, however, expressed concern that the system could be overwhelmed in a major emergency, and no drills have been held. The Long Beach Fire Department has made several efforts to have its special-needs populations self-identify, but with little success. For example, staff tried to identify such populations though the Electric Power Assistance Program. The primary focus now is on having individuals help themselves; on reverse 911; and on establishment of community emergency response teams, training neighborhood leaders to educate others about disaster response. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has identified about 310 indi- viduals in four affected cities in emergency planning zones who would 37274mvp186_288 246 11/24/08 12:21:13 PM

Case Studies 247 require a lift van or an ambulance in the event of a radiological incident at SONGS and evacuation of surrounding areas. Neither Orange County nor OCTA appears to have other plans for evacuating special-needs popu- lations in an emergency outside this location and would await specific equipment requests from the county EOC. Jurisdictional Issues and Development of a Regional Evacuation Plan The Los Angeles UA has taken a piecemeal approach to emergency plan- ning, with a focus on specific threats (e.g., a tsunami, an urban wildfire, a terrorist incident at an area port or airport).70 This approach has resulted from the jurisdictional complexity of the Los Angeles UA, together with multiple threats facing the area, most without warning and with differ- ent implications for transportation needs; the lack of recent experience with a large-scale disaster requiring evacuation; and financial constraints. Political leadership is also an issue. The tsunami plan, for example, was championed by a California congressman from a low-lying coastal district, but there is no such champion for a multijurisdictional plan. Although area emergency managers question the feasibility of a mass evacuation of Los Angeles given the sheer numbers of people involved, the City and County of Los Angeles recognize the need for a broader approach to emergency planning and recently received a $125,000 Urban Area Secu- rity Initiative grant from DHS to begin development of an evacuation plan for the region. Twenty-seven agencies are involved. In view of the limited amount of funds, however, the goal is to develop a conceptual plan for a downtown Los Angeles evacuation scenario. Primary evacuation routes would be identified and the time to evacuate estimated. The main agencies to be involved would be identified, along with the transportation resources and capabilities needed to carry out such an evacuation. Air and maritime resources would not be included in this first round. The plan would be far more inclusive than any current one, but it would build on existing decision- making structures and protocols. 70 T  he Los Angeles County OEM disagreed with this assessment, noting that the intent of NIMS and SEMS is a standardized approach to responding to and recovering from disasters. By defini- tion, then, emergency planning efforts are systemic and can be applied universally to incidents of any size or nature. 37274mvp186_288 247 11/24/08 12:21:13 PM

248 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation The regional office of the California OES is also involved in plan devel- opment. The primary mission of this office is to assist local jurisdictions in developing and reviewing their emergency plans; in principle, therefore, this office could help advance the process of developing a regional evacua- tion plan. However, OES has experienced sharp budget cuts in the last sev- eral years, which have weakened its capabilities. Continuity and adequacy of funding for more complete plan development remain an issue (see the discussion below), and no time line or milestones have been established. Interagency Coordination According to Los Angeles City and County emergency managers, coor- dination is good between the city and county OEMs and between police and firefighters, who would have critical responsibilities in an emergency evacuation. MTA and the City of Los Angeles DOT are also well integrated into the emergency decision-making structure, although MTA staff think they should be a partner with police and fire services in a regional evacu- ation plan. Coordination among transit agencies in the region is uneven. MTA funds several local transit agencies but has not worked with them closely on emergency planning or evacuation issues. Metrolink, for example, has had little interaction with MTA. Foothill Transit is part of a Regional Tran- sit Safety Working Group of which MTA is a member, but the focus is primarily on terrorism. Neither Long Beach Transit nor the Long Beach Fire Department, which is responsible for emergency planning in that municipality, has had much contact with MTA. OCTA coordinates closely with the Orange County DES. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office, which provides transit police for OCTA, also has a memorandum of understand- ing with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office to provide assistance in an emergency if it exceeds Orange County’s law enforcement capabilities. However, there is limited contact between OCTA and MTA. The process of developing a regional evacuation plan could be the catalyst for forging closer links among area transit providers. Workforce and Fuel Availability in an Emergency Evacuation Many transit providers in the Los Angeles UA contract transit services. Typi- cally, the buses and rolling stock are owned by the transit agency, but the 37274mvp186_288 248 11/24/08 12:21:14 PM

Case Studies 249 labor is contracted out. For example, the City of Los Angeles DOT provides its transit services through eight different contractors. Although MTA oper- ates with its own labor force, it has contracted out its paratransit services. Foothill Transit operates with all contract services, although Metrolink does not. OCTA contracts out its paratransit and small bus fixed-route service. Those systems that depend on contract labor identified control over their drivers as a key issue affecting their capability to respond to an emer- gency in real time. Foothill Transit believes some of these issues could be addressed in contract negotiations. Even for those agencies with in-house staff, however, drivers live all over the region, so there is no guarantee they could reach their work location in an emergency. Furthermore, no transit provider has a plan for seeing that workers’ families are provided for in an emergency to help ensure that drivers will report to work. Several transit agencies also mentioned fueling issues in an emergency situation in which transit vehicles would assist in evacuation efforts for any sustained period. For example, 90 percent of MTA buses use com- pressed natural gas, and the City of Los Angeles DOT’s DASH fleet uses alternatively fueled vehicles. They could face difficulties in refueling because these fuels are not widely available in the Los Angeles area. Traffic Congestion The Los Angeles UA is ranked the most congested of all the 38 UAs. This level of congestion could pose a problem for bus transport of any distance in an evacuation. In a disaster, the condition of the roadway and the extent of any damage could also constrain bus transport. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works has identified major evacuation routes, and certain freeway lanes have been dedicated for ingress of emergency vehi- cles. The need for specific routes would be determined at the time of an incident. In the event of a major disaster, however, it appears unlikely that the City of Los Angeles DOT and Caltrans, which are responsible for city roads and area freeways, respectively, could implement expeditiously an evacuation of any size on the basis of such ad hoc arrangements. Funding The Los Angeles UA has received initial funding from DHS, through its grant allocation to California, to begin the process of developing a mass 37274mvp186_288 249 11/24/08 12:21:14 PM

250 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation evacuation plan for the region. As mentioned previously, however, the level of funding is small and will support only a conceptual framework. The multiplicity of agencies that need to be involved—city and county emergency managers; city and county fire departments; city, county, and state police; MTA and other area transit providers; local school districts; the Red Cross; and Caltrans and the California OES—necessitates a much more substantial and sustained level of effort. MTA does have some dis- cretionary funds to support emergency response—the CEO can use up to $250,000 without board approval. However, these funds have been used not for planning but for reimbursement when MTA equipment is requested by local communities in response to mutual-aid agreements. Other local transit providers, such as the City of Los Angeles DOT, mentioned limited funds as an obstacle to developing programs, such as those aimed at identi- fying special-needs populations or providing family emergency assistance to help ensure good employee attendance in an emergency. Summary The Los Angeles UA is one of the largest and most densely populated regions of the 38 UAs studied. It is also the most congested; area freeways are clogged for most of the day. Unlike many older UAs with extensive rail transit networks, the Los Angeles UA is served mainly by bus transit and a limited rail network, at least in comparison with New York or Chicago. Large populations of persons living in poverty and of recent immigrants, coupled with significant numbers of people with disabilities and those who lack access to a car—many of whom would be dependent on transit and need assistance in an emergency—pose a considerable challenge should evacuation be required in a disaster of any consequence. No plan currently exists for an emergency that would encompass multiple jurisdictions and require a large-scale evacuation, although the City of Los Angeles recently received a small grant to develop a concept-of-operations plan for a mass evacuation affecting the region. The sheer size and jurisdictional complex- ity of the UA, the multiplicity of no-notice threats faced by the area with differing consequences for transportation (e.g., earthquakes versus ter- rorist incidents), the lack of recent experience with a large-scale disaster involving evacuation, and financial constraints have made it difficult to conduct regional emergency planning. Fortunately, California has a long 37274mvp186_288 250 11/24/08 12:21:14 PM

Case Studies 251 history of voluntary mutual-aid agreements involving police and fire ser- vices and, in some cases, transportation providers, which have worked well in the past to meet emergency needs when a particular community has been overwhelmed. Nevertheless, if the region were to face a major disaster involving a large-scale evacuation, the adequacy of plans focused on specific hazards and the heavy dependence on ad hoc arrangements would likely be problematic. The major transit providers in the Los Angeles UA—MTA, the City of Los Angeles DOT, and OCTA—are included in the emergency plans of their respective cities and counties. They are also represented in the decision-making structure of area EOCs should the latter be activated in response to an emergency. Whereas the City of Los Angeles DOT consid- ers itself a first responder primarily because of its responsibility for traffic management in the city, the role of MTA and OCTA is to provide support and coordinate the necessary transportation resources, including transit, in response to an emergency event and potential evacuation. MTA has a system for communicating with other area transit providers in an emer- gency, and communications between OCTA and the Orange County DES are fully interoperable. Both MTA and OCTA also participate in tabletop exercises and drills in their respective counties. Other area transportation providers—Foothill Transit, Metrolink, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and Amtrak—are not integrated into emergency plans for trans- port purposes and have limited contact with the major providers. Although few transit agencies in the Los Angeles UA have had recent experience in evacuating residents in an emergency, nearly all have handled large crowds during planned events, and some have played a role in providing transport for law enforcement personnel or firefighters in area emergen- cies (e.g., the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 2006 fire at the Paradise Gardens Apartments). Many challenges remain, however, if transit is to play a more central role in area emergency plans and assist in the evacuation of area residents in the event of a major disaster. First, transit agencies need to be involved at the outset in the development of a multijurisdictional evacuation plan for the region, an activity that has just begun. Second, addressing the trans- portation requirements of special-needs populations is a major challenge. Los Angeles County has begun the process of locating these populations 37274mvp186_288 251 11/24/08 12:21:14 PM

252 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation and setting up a voluntary special registry. The City of Los Angeles is also attempting to identify special-needs populations within the city. With its GIS and statistical capabilities, SCAG could play a role here as well. The dif- ficult tasks of linking transit resources with the special needs of these popu- lations and communicating with them in an emergency, however, remain to be accomplished. Finally, the ability of transit providers, particularly those with contracted services and special fuel requirements, to respond in real time to an emergency of any size remains untested. This case study also raises several more general policy issues that may be relevant for other large UAs. The multiplicity of hazards facing the Los Angeles UA, most without notice, poses a difficult challenge for emer- gency planners. Nevertheless, a piecemeal approach of plans for differ- ent emergencies and evacuation plans that are designed at the time of an incident is not likely to produce a scalable response in a major disaster, a conclusion that has not escaped Los Angeles emergency planners. Developing a realistic regional evacuation plan for a major metropoli- tan area of the size and jurisdictional complexity of Los Angeles, probably matched only by New York and possibly Chicago, is another major challenge. A good place to start would be to work with a manageable scenario, such as a plan for evacuating downtown Los Angeles, and involve the key players, including transit agencies, in the plan development. Although the specifics of the evacuation plans in place to respond to a terrorist incident at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are not publicly available, they could be a model for area emergency planners, who are privy to their details. The potential of transit itself to play a major role in an evacuation of any size is probably limited in a large UA such as Los Angeles in which there is no extensive rail transit network that could move riders rapidly in an emergency evacuation. Nevertheless, there is an important role for bus transit to play in transporting the large populations that are transit dependent, many of whom might need special assistance in an emergency. Mapping the locations of these populations and developing voluntary reg- istries are a start, but serving the transit needs of these populations in an evacuation would probably require involving a broad net of human ser- vices and paratransit providers and developing plans at the community level. It would also require planning for more rapid bus movement along evacuation corridors in an emergency. 37274mvp186_288 252 11/24/08 12:21:14 PM

Case Studies 253 Finally, funding is a critical issue. Making headway on the development of regional evacuation plans, including addressing cross-county evacua- tion issues, would require considerable external resources, as well as the political commitment of area officials. Fortunately, California’s long his- tory of mutual-aid agreements provides a framework for multijurisdic- tional collaboration on which to build. Committee Members and Staff in Attendance Ellis Stanley, Sr. (lead) Arnold Howitt Evelyn Blumenberg Nancy Humphrey Briefings Aram Sahakian, Transportation Engineer, Special Traffic Operations Division; John Fong, Director of Administration; Vincent Lorenzo, Safety and Security Coordinator; David Rzepinski, Director of Transit Operations, Department of Transportation, City of Los Angeles Hector Guerro, Manager, Rail Operations Control; Stephen Rank, Assistant Operations Control Manager, Bus Operations; Roman Alacorn, Director, Bus and Rail Operations Control; Thomas Eng, Corporate Safety Manager, Los Angeles Metropolitan Trans- portation Authority Beth McCormick, General Manager, Bus Operations, Orange County Transit Authority, and Lieutenant James Rudy, Chief of Transit Police Services, Orange County Sheriff- Coroner Department Robert Spears, Director of Emergency Services, and David Palmer, Deputy Branch Direc- tor, Transportation Branch, Los Angeles Unified School District Jamie Becerra, Director of Safety and Security, Foothill Transit Denise Tyrell, Public Information Officer, and Gray Crary, Assistant Executive Officer, Operating Services, Metrolink Jeanne O’Donnell, Program Specialist, Office of Emergency Management, County of Los Angeles; and Paul Hanley, Sergeant; Ronald Marquez, Motor Sergeant; and Jenny Bethune, Lieutenant; County of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Captain Steve Snyder, Emergency Management, Santa Ana Fire Department Larry Meyerhofer, Planning Division Chief, and Eric Baumgartner, Emergency Prepared- ness Coordinator, Emergency Preparedness Department, City of Los Angeles Donald Pinegar, Deputy Regional Administrator, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, State of California 37274mvp186_288 253 11/24/08 12:21:14 PM

254 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Casey Chel, Officer and Emergency Services Coordinator, Long Beach Fire Department Robert Huddy, Transportation Program Manager, and Alan Thompson, Senior Planner, Southern California Association of Governments Documents Consulted   1.  County of Los Angeles. All-Hazard Mitigation Plan, Version 1.1. June 2005.   2.  Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department. Los Evacuations, Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) 2-6. Revised May 30, 2006.   3.  City of Santa Ana. Evacuation Annex, Attachment E. July 7, 2007, draft.   4. Orange County Transportation Authority. Response and Recovery Plan. April 2004 and July 9, 2004, revision.   5. Orange County. Operational Area Emergency Plan and Position Guidelines. January 2004.   6. Orange County. Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Plan for the San Onofre Nuclear Gener- ating Station (SONGS), Basic Plan and Related Annexes. Revised January 2007.   7. Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. State of California Emergency Plan. Septem- ber 2005.   8. Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. California Disaster and Civil Defense Master Mutual Aid Agreement. November 15, 1950.   9. Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Legal Guidelines for Flood Evacuation. November 21, 1997. 10.  Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Memorandum of Understanding for Animal Care During Disasters. November 21, 1997. Tampa–St. Petersburg Case Study In addition to responses to the questionnaires presented above, this case study is based on information gathered during a site visit made on October 25–26, 2007. Overview Demographics and Geography According to the U.S. Census, the population of the Tampa–St. Petersburg UA71 was slightly more than 2 million in 2000, making it the 20th-largest of 71 F  or brevity, the Tampa–St. Petersburg UA is referred to as the Tampa UA. 37274mvp186_288 254 11/24/08 12:21:14 PM

Case Studies 255 FIGURE D-5 Tampa–St. Petersburg, Florida, UA. the 38 UAs with populations of more than 1 million72 and the smallest of the five case study sites. The UA covers portions of three counties—Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco (see Figure D-5).73 Hillsborough and Pinellas are the two most populous counties. They include the two main urban centers—the City of Tampa in Hillsborough County and the City of St. Petersburg in Pinellas County—and were the focus of this case study. The Tampa UA ranks in the lower quartile in population density of the 38 UAs. This population is spread out over 802 square miles, the 17th-largest land area of the 38 UAs studied. Population density is high, however, in vulnerable coastal areas, particularly in Pinellas County, where many homes and hotels are located on a barrier 72 D  ata on UA population, land area, and population density were drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Decennial Census of Population and Housing, and the Federal Transit Administra- tion’s 2005 National Transit Database. 73 T  he population of both counties swells during tourist season, but fortunately the peak tourist season is in the winter and does not overlap the hurricane season, when the risk of needing an evacuation is greatest. 37274mvp186_288 255 11/24/08 12:21:15 PM

256 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation island along the Gulf Coast. New high-rise hotels are replacing mom-and- pop hotels and motels along the barrier island. The Tampa UA is home to many vulnerable populations who would need transport in an emergency evacuation. According to the 2005 Ameri- can Community Survey, 102,958 or 11 percent of householders reported being age 65 or older and living alone. The survey also found a high fraction (17 percent) of the population with a disability; some 337,507 of those age 5 or older fell into this category. There were 226,341 persons or 11 per- cent of the population living below the poverty line. A sizable fraction of the population is also vulnerable from the perspective of the area’s greatest hazard—hurricanes, wind, and storm surge, which could reach 28 feet in a major hurricane. Approximately 179,000 Hillsborough and Pinellas County residents live in mobile homes, which are vulnerable to high winds, and another several hundred thousand live in low-lying areas, exposed to either storm surge or flooding or both in the event of a hurricane. Pinellas County is a peninsula, bounded by the Gulf Coast on the west and Tampa Bay on the east. Hillsborough County, to the east, is located at the head of Tampa Bay, which funnels storm surge into exposed areas dur- ing a hurricane. If Pinellas County residents have to evacuate, they must use the three major bridges heading east to Hillsborough County. County policy in a hurricane is for residents to evacuate within county. The Tampa UA is served by a highway network that can become severely congested during an evacuation because the limited road system must be shared with others driving north and east from both within and outside the UA. Transit buses must travel congested local roads to reach area shelters.74 Transit Transit service in Hillsborough County is provided by the county through the Hillsborough County Regional Transit Authority (Hartline) and the Sunshine Lines. Hartline has a fleet of 200 buses (all ADA accessible) serving about 41,000 passengers a day, plus 39 paratransit vehicles serv- ing about 450 clients a day and 11 streetcars serving about 1,240 a day. 74 A  ccording to The 2007 Urban Mobility Report by the Texas Transportation Institute, the Tampa UA ranked relatively low—22nd among the 37 UAs ranked—on the travel time index, a congestion measure developed by authors Schrank and Lomax. The index, however, measures average daily traffic conditions and is not a good indicator of highway congestion in emergency conditions. 37274mvp186_288 256 11/24/08 12:21:15 PM

Case Studies 257 Sunshine Lines provides service to those with disabilities with a fleet of 60 lift-equipped vans. The Hillsborough County School District—the seventh-largest in the country—operates a fleet of 1,400 school district– owned buses, which, along with county transit providers, play an impor- tant role in emergency evacuations. Transit service in Pinellas County is provided by an independent author- ity, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), with a fleet of 180 buses, serving approximately 40,000 customers a day, and 16 trolleys. PSTA also provides paratransit service, which it contracts out to a private provider, Transportation Services Contact, Inc. The latter operates 80 vans running about 800 trips a day; its service is supplemented with 80 to 100 taxis. Wheelchair Transport, a private company, also provides service through its fleet of 80 vans, primarily for residents of assisted living facilities and skilled nursing homes in Pinellas County. The Pinellas County School District oper- ates a fleet of 810 school buses, 110 of which are wheelchair lift capable, that also play an important role in emergency evacuations. Emergency Planning Two agencies—the Departments of Emergency Management (DEMs) of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties—have responsibility for emergency planning in the Tampa UA. In Hillsborough County, the Board of County Commissioners delegates its authority to declare a state of local emergency to an Emergency Policy Group, headed by the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and including the Vice Chair of the Board of County Commissioners; the County Commissioner; the Mayors of the Cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City; and the Sheriff of Hillsborough County. If a state of emergency is declared, the Emergency Policy Group also has the authority to order an evacuation and activate the EOC. In Pinellas County, the Board of County Commissioners, advised by a Disaster Advisory Committee, has the authority to declare a state of local emergency. The Advi- sory Committee comprises the Director of Emergency Management, the Sheriff, the Director of the Health Department, and a member from each of 24 municipalities and four independent special fire control districts. Both counties have a system of graduated response according to disaster severity, ranging from a minor disaster that can be handled by local govern- ment to a major or catastrophic disaster that exceeds local capabilities and 37274mvp186_288 257 11/24/08 12:21:15 PM

258 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation requires state or federal assistance. Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties and their respective municipalities are all signatories to the statewide mutual- aid agreement, which ensures that assistance will be provided by the state or other local jurisdictions should county resources prove inadequate.75 If an evacuation is required, the Emergency Policy Group is the lead operational agency in Hillsborough County, while the Disaster Advisory Group plays that role in Pinellas County. In accordance with Florida law, all evacuation orders are mandatory.76 In Hillsborough County, major evacuation routes have been identified, and signs have been posted on these routes. Similarly, Pinellas County has identified and posted signs on evacuation routes, but there are only a few major roads out of the county. Evacuation centers have been preidentified by the DEMs and are located at area schools. The specific evacuation routes and shelters to be used, however, are determined at the time of an emergency and depend on the nature and extent of the incident. Both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties have conducted all-hazards analyses and prepared comprehensive emergency management plans, which are updated every 5 years. Hurricanes are the greatest hazard facing the Tampa UA, with their accompanying high winds, rainfall, and storm surge. Nevertheless, the last major hurricane to make landfall near Tampa was a Category 3 hurricane in 1921. In 2004, Hurricane Charley posed a direct threat to the county, causing a mandatory evacuation of coastal areas and mobile homes, but it struck south of Tampa.77 The other major threat to the area is from a hazardous materials spill at or near the Port of Tampa, where half of all of Florida’s hazardous materials enter the state. The port stores and handles large quantities of hazardous materials and is located directly across from downtown Tampa. The materi- als are transported through the area by rail and Interstate highway. A plume analysis of a hypothetical chlorine release found that evacuation of half of 75 E  xecuted in 1994, the mutual-aid agreement is a voluntary arrangement between the state and counties and municipalities. It has been signed by more than 98 percent of counties and munici- palities in the state. 76 V  oluntary evacuation orders, however, can be issued in the event of a tropical storm or other situation that is not expected to have a major impact. 77 M  andatory and voluntary evacuations for Evacuation Level A or low-lying, storm surge–prone areas and mobile home residents were initiated during Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in August 2004, but area residents experienced only minor flooding and, with a few exceptions, tropical storm–force winds. 37274mvp186_288 258 11/24/08 12:21:15 PM

Case Studies 259 Hillsborough County could prove necessary in the event of a consequential release. Because the plume could extend over many evacuation routes, how- ever, sheltering in place could be the best option for many area residents. A terrorist incident is also a possibility given the presence of an Air Force base in Hillsborough County and other targets of opportunity in the Tampa UA. Because hurricanes are a recurring hazard, likely to involve at least a partial evacuation of area residents, both Hillsborough and Pinellas Coun- ties have prepared detailed hurricane evacuation plans. The counties are divided into five evacuation zones for purposes of determining which area residents will be ordered to evacuate. The zones are designated A through E, or most to least vulnerable, corresponding to Category 1–5 hurricanes, respectively; the zones also reflect wind velocities and potential tide heights. Anyone living in a mobile home is considered to be in an A area. The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) periodically prepares estimates of the population numbers and time to evacuate for hurricanes ranging in intensity from Category 1 to 5 for the four coun- ties in its region—Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Manatee. The 2006 estimates for Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties indicated that a maxi- mum of between nearly 520,000 residents (in a Category 1 hurricane) and 1.28 million residents (in a Category 5 hurricane, the most serious) could attempt to evacuate, and it would take from 23 to 103 hours to move all evacuees out of harm’s way.78 With the use of contraflow on two major Interstates in Hillsborough County, the evacuation time for a Category 5 hurricane could be reduced from 103 to 35 hours. Given the long lead times needed for an evacuation, which exceed weather forecasters’ ability to predict hurricane landfall, local governments are working to encourage those area residents not directly at risk to shelter in place. Transit’s Role in Emergency Evacuation Evacuation Transit systems and local school districts in both Hillsborough and Pinel- las Counties play an important role in emergency evacuation, particularly 78 T  he analysis was based on many key behavioral assumptions concerning evacuation partici- pation rates, evacuee destinations (e.g., in county to private homes or public shelters, out of county), and vehicle utilization rates. The assumptions are based on past experience and tend to err on the side of being conservative. 37274mvp186_288 259 11/24/08 12:21:16 PM

260 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation for special-needs populations (discussed separately below). In Hillsborough County, Hartline has earmarked 110 transit buses, or about half its fleet, for the evacuation of residents lacking access to a car to a regular shelter.79 Once an evacuation order had been given and shelters were open, regu- lar bus service would be suspended, and Hartline would begin service on designated, premarked evacuation routes. The buses would operate mainly over their regular fixed routes, which have been posted with signs indi- cating that they are evacuation routes, so that riders would know where to congregate; passengers could also flag buses down. Bus service on some lines would be expanded where large numbers of residents were known to need transport, such as public housing areas.80 Sunshine Lines has com- mitted 40 of its 60 vehicles to the evacuation of those clients who need transport to special-needs shelters. The Hillsborough County School Dis- trict has signed up approximately 220 drivers to serve as a volunteer hur- ricane force.81 School buses are tasked with operating evacuation bus routes in south Hillsborough County—in areas not covered by Hartline routes—at the direction of the EOC on a flag-down basis on nonfixed routes. They could also provide shuttle service to relieve evacuee overflow at crowded shelters. Because about one-fifth of the school bus fleet is wheel- chair accessible, school buses would also be used to transport residents to special-needs shelters. In an emergency, all transit services, which are county operations, are controlled by the Hillsborough County DEM, with vehicle dispatch handled from the EOC. On the basis of previous evacuations, DEM estimates that 50,000 to 60,000 county residents out of some 200,000 to 300,000 potential evacuees would need transport and that the number of buses available would be adequate because evacuees would be traveling short distances, either to in-county friends or family or to area shelters. In Pinellas County, the lead agencies for transportation in an emergency evacuation are the school board and PSTA. PSTA would continue to oper- ate its regular service during an emergency evacuation and would trans- 79 T  his number is predicated on the number of drivers Hartline believes would be on hand. How- ever, managers might also be able to drive so that more vehicles could be made available. 80 A  bout 25 percent of public housing units are located in evacuation zones, and about 60 percent of the residents lack access to a vehicle. In an evacuation, Hartline would run special routes between public housing units and area shelters. 81 T  he schools have summer programs, so many of the drivers are available during hurricane season. 37274mvp186_288 260 11/24/08 12:21:16 PM

Case Studies 261 port individuals to shelters located along its routes; signs have not yet been posted for pickup points, however. Transportation Services Contact, Inc., also has a role, but not all of its clients would need to be evacuated. In a major hurricane, Wheelchair Transport could assist, but its vans are already committed to the evacuation of assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The Pinellas County DEM is also considering contracting with Neighborly Services, which provides transport for the elderly, to access some of its 30 vans in an emergency evacuation. Finally, local school buses would be dispatched to municipalities to support evacuation of special-needs and dis- advantaged populations. In addition, some school buses would be assigned to assist health care facilities in an evacuation. Both PSTA and school buses would be coordinated and dispatched through the EOC. Similar to the Hills­ borough County DEM, the Pinellas County DEM believes that the number of buses is adequate to meet demand in an emergency evacuation. In both counties, transit providers are prepared to handle domestic pets in an emer- gency evacuation as long as they are properly caged and muzzled. Only ser- vice animals would be allowed on school buses, however. Neither Hartline nor PSTA has a formal mutual-aid agreement, reflect- ing the reality that the most likely hazard—a hurricane—would affect the entire region and that both transit providers would be fully occupied in evacuating their respective county residents who need transportation assistance. In a no-notice emergency incident that involved only one county, however, transit assistance could be provided through the state- wide mutual-aid agreement to which both counties are signatory. Special-Needs Populations The State of Florida in general and the Tampa UA in particular are well organized to handle the evacuation of special-needs populations in an emergency. Special-needs populations are defined as those with a medical impairment who exceed the capability of a general population shelter but do not require the level of care provided at a skilled medical facility.82 State 82 T  his definition grew out of concern about Florida’s home health population, many of whom would need oxygen and electricity in an emergency. The definition is narrower than many others, which also include those who lack access to a private vehicle and would need transport in an evacuation. One reason for the narrower definition is the close link in Florida between special-needs populations and medically equipped special-needs shelters where these people are transported. 37274mvp186_288 261 11/24/08 12:21:16 PM

262 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation regulations mandate that each county have available special-needs shelters to accommodate these populations; they also provide guidelines regarding shelter staffing levels and equipment, as well as eligibility requirements. County health departments are responsible for the staffing and medical management of special-needs shelters. Since the 1980s, state law has required the establishment of local voluntary special-needs registries by county DEMs to help identify special-needs populations. The regulations define the type of information to be collected, including any transporta- tion needs, and require that the information be provided at least annually to the county health department and other agencies responsible for the management of care in special-needs shelters for review of applicant eli- gibility and care requirements. Hillsborough County representatives reported that 5,000 individuals had signed up on its special-needs registry and that about 3,500 would need transport in an evacuation. However, they believe that the total size of special-needs populations is considerably larger, perhaps as high as 30,000 individuals. Pinellas County reported having 3,000 individuals on its special- needs registry but likewise believes the actual number to be much higher; 60 percent of the registrants indicated they would need transportation in an evacuation. About 48 hours in advance of a hurricane, the fire departments in Pinellas County contact all of the registrants; in the past, 10 to 15 percent indicated they had someone who could drive them in an evacuation. The county departments of health provide updates on registration infor- mation to special-needs transportation providers quarterly and, during hur- ricane season, when the county is threatened by a hurricane. In Hillsborough County, the special-needs transportation coordinator—Sunshine Lines—is responsible for evacuating special-needs populations who require transport to special-needs shelters, as well as their service animals and pets. In Pinellas County, the DEM has this responsibility. Hillsborough County has four special- needs shelters, including one designed specifically for children. Pinellas County has three special-needs shelters and has arranged overflow space at several nonevacuating nursing homes. In both cases, every effort would be made to evacuate special-needs populations ahead of the remainder of the population. Hillsborough County has conducted a worst-case scenario analysis—a Category 4 or 5 hurricane—to determine whether transporta- tion resources would be adequate to evacuate special-needs populations. The 37274mvp186_288 262 11/24/08 12:21:16 PM

Case Studies 263 analyses found that sufficient vans and buses would be available to evacuate nearly 11,000 special-needs passengers who were ambulatory or required a wheelchair in a Category 4 hurricane.83 There could be a shortfall if the special- needs population were larger, but it is difficult to estimate the numbers of potential special-needs evacuees. Each county also has a community transportation coordinator (CTC) to handle transportation of the disadvantaged—a group that may overlap the special-needs population. This position was created and funded by the State Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, whose pur- pose is to ensure that transportation is available for those persons who are unable to obtain it for themselves because of income, disability, or age.84 State funds are provided from a $1.50 annual fee on each registered pas- senger vehicle in the state to subsidize transportation assistance in those counties that wish to participate in the program. The director of Sunshine Lines is the CTC in Hillsborough County, and the Pinellas County metro- politan planning organization (MPO) is the CTC in Pinellas County. The MPO contracts with a private management firm to provide scheduling and call intake services and with private and nonprofit transportation provid- ers to offer transportation to clients of its Transportation Disadvantaged Program. In an emergency evacuation, many of these clients would use regular bus service. Those who were unable to use transit but needed assis- tance to get to a shelter would receive information from the MPO on how to register with the DEM for transport to special-needs shelters. Pinellas County also has a population of 3,000 to 4,000 homeless peo- ple, many of whom would need transport and assistance in an emergency evacuation. The Pinellas County Department of Human Resources has arranged for special school bus transport for the homeless, and two to three of the shelters are “homeless friendly.” Human Resources also works with the Homeless Coalition to post information about emergency trans- port and shelters at area soup kitchens and hostels. 83 T  he analysis assumed that 66 percent of Sunshine Lines vans and 70 percent of wheelchair-capable school buses would be available on the basis of driver and maintenance requirements. It also assumed a 12-hour evacuation time frame and numbers of feasible van and bus trips, as well as van and bus occupancy rates given passenger luggage and life-support equipment. Hartline equipment was not assumed to be available because it would be used to evacuate the general public. 84 T  he commission was created 30 years ago to help coordinate government funding for transporta- tion for the disadvantaged. 37274mvp186_288 263 11/24/08 12:21:16 PM

264 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Command and Control Area transit providers, both transit agencies and school boards, are rep- resented in the emergency decision-making structure of their respective counties and at the Hillsborough and Pinellas County EOCs, respectively, should they be activated in the event of an emergency. In Pinellas County, the school board and PSTA are the lead agencies for providing transporta- tion support in an emergency. In an advance-notice event, such as a hurri- cane, the school board and PSTA would establish a joint dispatch center as soon as possible after a declaration of a state of local emergency, primarily to handle transport of special-needs populations. In its emergency transporta- tion plan, PSTA also includes normal service for riders during an evacuation. In Hillsborough County, the DEM would take control of county-operated transit and dispatch Hartline, Sunshine Lines, and school buses and vans directly from the EOC. In summary, both local transit agencies and school boards have been represented in emergency planning and operations for many years and would play well-defined roles in an emergency evacuation. Communications Provisions have been made for communications both among emergency responders, including transportation providers, and with the general public in the event of an emergency. Regarding the former, Hillsborough County DEM staff noted that their communications capabilities are fully interoper- able. Emergency managers can communicate with one another via radio, cell and satellite phones, and ham radios. Much of the equipment is at the EOC, but the county also has several mobile units. In an emergency, transit and school buses would be dispatched from the EOC, but bus drivers could also communicate among themselves by radio. Pinellas County DEM staff indicated that a combination of e-mail, telephone, radio, satellite phone, fax, paging service, and ham radio would be used to notify and activate its emer- gency response personnel and communicate with them during an evacua- tion. The DEM also subscribes to a web-based “Ready Alert” system, which sends text messages and e-mails to county responders; text messaging would continue to be available even if cell phone connections were down. The Hillsborough and Pinellas County EOCs are not yet linked by fiber optics, but they should be linked by the end of next year once the cable has been laid over the Pinellas County bridges, a high-cost item. 37274mvp186_288 264 11/24/08 12:21:16 PM

Case Studies 265 Both counties engage in numerous public information initiatives to inform the general public, mobile home owners, and special-needs populations of what to do in an emergency, particularly a hurricane, which could require mandatory evacuation. TBRPC, in partnership with area counties, prepares annual hurricane guides in English and Spanish whose main purpose is to pro- vide information and planning guidance for a hurricane and possible evacu- ation. A county map is included, showing evacuation zones, county shelters, and key contact information. Local broadcast and print media sponsors, post offices, libraries, civic organizations, fire departments, and other government offices distribute copies widely. The guides are posted as well on TBRPC and county websites. In advance of hurricane season, information on evacuation zones is also included in utility bills. Another alternative is for residents to access the DEM website and enter their address to find their evacuation zone or to telephone the DEM directly to obtain the information. In an emergency, the Tampa Police Department would go door to door in an effort to contact mobile home owners and use reverse 911 to call those who had to evacuate. Finally, an extensive hurricane information program has been developed for public housing residents, and special efforts are made to inform the home- less and the disadvantaged about transportation and shelter resources in an emergency evacuation. Despite all these initiatives, however, county officials indicated that only about half of area residents know their evacuation zone. Their greatest concern is apathy and the likelihood of a surge in demand for transport at the last moment in the event of an emergency evacuation. Both counties have numerous ways to disseminate emergency warn- ing information to residents, including television and radio broadcasts, National Weather Service radio alerts, CityWatch computer notification systems, commercial community notifications to cell phones of registered citizens, and reverse 911. All county communication centers have the capability to receive incoming calls from the hearing impaired, and in an emergency, citizen information action centers are opened in both coun- ties to receive and respond to calls from the hearing impaired, as well as other citizens, in a variety of languages. Efforts are also made to commu- nicate with special-needs populations. In Hillsborough County, for exam- ple, those who are registered are called three times to verify their need for transportation assistance and to inform them when equipment is on the way. The citizen information action centers also handle special-needs 37274mvp186_288 265 11/24/08 12:21:17 PM

266 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation groups who call in, identifying what services are needed and providing that information to the appropriate responders. In Hillsborough County, center staff complete application forms and fax them directly to the appro- priate department of health and transportation agency staff in the EOC for action. In Pinellas County, last-minute calls are handled as 911 calls and dispatched to the appropriate fire department for response. Support for Incident Response and Recovery Those interviewed during the site visit provided no information about transit or school bus support for incident response. During subsequent follow-up, Pinellas County emergency management staff indicated that PSTA buses are regularly used to support incident response. For example, air-conditioned PSTA buses have been used to house residents of an assisted living facility temporarily during a fire or to transport the residents to another facility. Hospitals and nursing homes are asked annually to update their need for outside transport in the event of an evacuation. Hillsborough County emer- gency management staff indicated that transit equipment is sufficient to respond to incidents even during an evacuation. Transit and school buses also have a role in recovery from a mandated evacuation. Once it is safe for residents to return home, every effort is made to use the same transit vehicles to return residents from area shelters or friends and family to their point of departure. Exercises and Drills Hillsborough County has a very aggressive program involving eight to 10 exercises and drills each year, including an annual hurricane exer- cise, most of which involve activating the EOC and after-action reviews. Hartline and the county school district participate in all major exercises, and all three transportation agencies participate in the annual hurri- cane exercises. Pinellas County conducts at least two major exercises annually—an annual hurricane exercise and another with a scenario that varies each year so that all major elements of the emergency plan and participating organizations, including transit, are tested within a 5-year period. Regional exercises are much less frequent, with the excep- tion of those for terrorism incidents. Law enforcement agencies are involved in these exercises, but not transportation agencies. Finally, the 37274mvp186_288 266 11/24/08 12:21:17 PM

Case Studies 267 state EOC conducts a statewide exercise, with each agency deciding on its level of participation. Funding The State of Florida is notable for the funding it provides for emergency response, particularly for special-needs populations. The state collects $2.00 from homeowners insurance policies and $4.00 from business insurance pol- icies annually, which is placed in an Emergency Management and Prepared- ness Assistance Trust Fund. The funds are distributed annually in the form of competitive grants for emergency management, no larger than $200,000 per grant, to state or regional agencies, local governments, and private non- profit organizations.85 Funding priorities currently include public education on disaster preparedness and recovery, coordination of relief efforts of state- wide private-sector organizations, and improved training and operations capabilities of agencies with lead or support responsibilities in the Florida Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. In addition, as previously mentioned, a $1.50 fee for each passenger vehicle funds transportation for the disadvantaged, although not directly targeted to emergency evacuation. Services provided by health care practitioners and vendors at special-needs shelters in an emergency are reimbursed by the state department of health. Remaining Challenges Traffic Congestion County officials indicated that traffic congestion is a major obstacle to a successful emergency evacuation. The area has a limited number of major highways, and these roads could be clogged not only with evacuat- ing county residents but also with other evacuees from southwest Florida in the event of a major hurricane. Congestion could likewise hamper an evacuation in response to other hazards, as indicated by the analysis of a major chlorine release near the Port of Tampa. Transportation officials are attempting to alleviate some of the problems through use of intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies and contraflow operations (in Hillsborough County only) on area highways. 85 A  competitive grant program is also available to municipalities that have an emergency manage- ment program and are signatories to the statewide mutual-aid agreement. Eligible grantees may apply annually for one grant, not to exceed $50,000. 37274mvp186_288 267 11/24/08 12:21:17 PM

268 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Both counties have the capability of changing signal timing, if necessary, to keep traffic moving on evacuation routes, but newer, more reliable systems are being phased in. Currently, law enforcement officials are assigned to control traffic at critical intersections. Cameras and variable message signs are also being placed on major evacuation routes (see below), which should help with incident control and traffic monitoring in general. However, little can be done to control congestion on local streets, which would be used by buses and vans along with passenger vehicles during an in-county emergency evacuation. State DOT District 7 (see below) is also purchasing generators to assist in recovery of signal operation after a storm, and solar- powered signals are being installed. The goal is to return 100 traffic signals a day to service following a storm. District 7 of the state DOT, which has responsibility for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, has developed contraflow plans for I-4, eastward from the I-4/I275 junction in Hillsborough County, but those plans have not been tested yet in a real evacuation.86 I-4 is a particular choke- point because in a hurricane, many travelers attempt to evacuate east to Orlando. The state DOT has several other programs that should help facilitate traffic flow in an evacuation. First, a 10-year ITS program will provide for the installation of cameras and variable message signs on evacuation routes. Second, the DOT has standby contracts with local companies to provide towing services during an evacuation.87 Third, the DOT has a large program to provide solar-powered backup generators for traffic signals at major intersections. Finally, capital improvement projects on evacuation routes, such as upgrading of major interchanges, are given priority, although they are funded from the same federal and state sources as other capital improvement projects. The governor has also prestaged resources in a 200,000-square-foot logistics facility out- side Orlando that could be deployed rapidly in an emergency. Finally, the 2004–2005 state legislature passed legislation requiring gas stations along the Interstates to have backup power so that vehicles would not 86 A  contraflow plan also exists for SR-618 and is maintained by the Hillsborough County Express- way Authority. SR-618, which originates near the Air Force base, heads north from the peninsula south of the City of Tampa and then east to join I-75. 87 C  ompanies from outside the immediate area were selected in hopes that they would not be affected by a storm. 37274mvp186_288 268 11/24/08 12:21:17 PM

Case Studies 269 run out of fuel; thus far, only about eight stations along the I-275 cor- ridor are in compliance. In the event that congestion should overwhelm evacuees in a severe hurricane, shelters of last resort have been identified. They are located at major Interstate interchanges in Hillsborough County and along evacua- tion routes in Pinellas County. Law enforcement—the Florida Highway Patrol, the Hillsborough County Sheriff, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office—would be involved in opening and policing the shelters. Reducing Demand for Evacuation Given area traffic problems and the questionable need for many residents to evacuate, at least in a hurricane, county emergency managers are work- ing to encourage residents to shelter in place.88 The annual hurricane guide, for example, provides information for those who are not located in vulnerable storm surge areas or in mobile homes about riding out the storm at home, as well as measures they can take to protect their homes. County officials are also working with the private sector so that stores can reopen quickly to sell water and other supplies after a storm has subsided. Pinellas County, for example, is working with the Chamber of Commerce to put in place memoranda of understanding with small businesses that encourage them to acquire backup generators so they can stay open or reopen quickly after a storm has passed to supply local residents. More- over, both counties and DOT District 7 have numerous contracts for debris removal so that the roads can be cleared quickly.89 In the longer run, the best way to mitigate the risks of the area’s most recurrent emergency, hurricanes, is to control development in highly vulnerable areas, such as the barrier island along the western portion of Pinellas County. However, there is little if any contact between land use planners and emergency managers. Moreover, the economic benefits to the counties of continued growth in desirable coastal locations are dif- ficult to resist. Private insurers put a damper on development when they recently stopped writing homeowners insurance policies in vulnerable 88 T  he Safe Florida Homes program provides free inspections and matching funds to homeowners for hurricane-proofing their homes. 89 H  illsborough County has eight contracts for debris removal. Florida DOT has four state teams of 50 persons each for debris removal in Hillsborough and four other counties. 37274mvp186_288 269 11/24/08 12:21:17 PM

270 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation coastal locations, but the state has now stepped in as the insurer of last resort for coastal homes and businesses. In lieu of land use controls, county emergency managers are attempt- ing to work with local tourist businesses in vulnerable areas to ensure early evacuation in the event of an advance-notice emergency, such as a hurricane. For example, when a property is purchased, the deed requires the property owner to develop an evacuation plan, which the emergency managers must review. New hotels located in vulnerable storm surge areas in Pinellas County must close down during a hurricane watch, which goes into effect 36 hours in advance of predicted hurricane landfall, and assist in relocating their guests who need transport. This requirement appears to be unique to Pinellas County. Of course, both Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties evacuate special-needs populations in evacuation zones well in advance of hurricane landfall, as soon as the shelters open. Workforce and Fuel Availability in an Emergency Evacuation Hillsborough County and some municipalities in Pinellas County have special shelters for the families of first responders, primarily fire and police personnel. Transit agencies typically do not have formal plans for sheltering the families of their employees. Instead, in advance of hurri- cane season, they ask for volunteer drivers, who sign up to work during a hurricane. About half the drivers for PSTA signed up for this hurricane season. Currently, 290 school bus drivers out of about 750 are signed up for emergency duty, with about 50 other school district staff available as backup. The same process applies in Hillsborough County, where about half the Hartline drivers and about 220 volunteer school bus drivers have signed up to be available during a hurricane. In addition, PSTA noted that it pays its drivers well, and Hartline drivers are paid time and a half during an emergency. Hillsborough County has instituted a countywide policy that all employees must have a disaster plan. The Know Your Role Pro- gram involves filling out a form indicating job criticality,90 primary and 90 T  here are four categories of job criticality: A—critical employees (e.g., fire, police, emergency managers) who would shelter at the job site; B—employees who should be available immedi- ately after a storm to help restore services; C—employees who would not be needed for several days after a storm; and D—employees who are granted an exemption from participating (e.g., caretaker for a family member who is elderly or has a disability). 37274mvp186_288 270 11/24/08 12:21:17 PM

Case Studies 271 alternative job locations, individual employee evacuation plans, childcare needs, and skills (e.g., commercial driver’s license) that can be used in an emergency. These data are entered into a database to help match employee availability and skills with potential needs in an emergency. Pinellas County has a similar program for its employees. Fuel availability does not appear to be a major issue for transit service providers assisting in an evacuation. PSTA has aboveground fuel storage tanks with a considerable reserve of diesel fuel.91 It also has arrangements with the school board for fueling. Sunshine Lines has a 4- to 5-day supply of diesel fuel, and Hartline has agreements with three off-site locations for fuel. A fuel problem could occur during recovery, however, and it would affect far more than transit service providers. The Tampa UA has no pipelines and depends on tanker distribution from the Port of Tampa for fuel supplies. If the port were closed with major damage or if the port channel were to silt up in a severe hurricane, the area would have only a 3- to 4-day supply. County emergency managers are working on this issue, which includes determination of who would have priority in the event of a fuel shortage. Interjurisdictional Issues and Feasibility of Regional Evacuation Both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties and their respective municipali- ties are signatories to the State of Florida mutual-aid agreement, which provides the basis for mutual assistance in the event of an emergency that exceeds local capabilities. The primary focus of county emergency managers, however, has been on emergency response and evacuation in their own counties. TBRPC, which represents four area counties, has a broader perspective and a long history of involvement in hurricane evacu- ation planning (since 1979). The council is currently working with the state to develop an all-hazards, statewide emergency evacuation plan that would link all county emergency evacuation plans. As a first step, LIDAR mapping92 is being used to determine population data and the locations of critical facilities, with overlays for special-needs populations and facili- 91 T  he facility, however, is located in an area that floods, and if the area flooded in a severe hur- ricane, there would be no access to the fuel until the water receded. 92 L  IDAR (or light detection and radar) is a technology that involves use of an airborne scanning laser to provide high-resolution digital data for large-scale mapping applications. 37274mvp186_288 271 11/24/08 12:21:18 PM

272 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation ties (e.g., nursing homes, assisted living facilities). The information will be GIS based, and an effort is being made to move to a common GIS platform. Summary The Tampa UA is the smallest of the committee’s five case study sites. The area is threatened by a recurring natural hazard—hurricanes and tropical storms—and has a significant at-risk population, many of whom would need transportation assistance in an emergency evacuation. The two major counties in the Tampa UA—Hillsborough and Pinellas—are well organized to handle in-county mandatory evacuations and have had recent experience during the hurricane seasons of the last several years. Transit in the Tampa UA is not extensive. The area is served by two bus systems and demand-responsive service for those with disabilities. Never­ theless, transit service operators have been an integral part of emergency response and evacuation plans for many years and are represented at the county EOCs when they are activated. In an emergency evacuation, transit services are augmented by school buses, and the schools serve as area shelters. Transit providers, as well as school bus operators, have targeted their resources to transporting special-needs populations in an evacuation, and Florida in general and the Tampa UA in particular are notable for their attention to these vulnerable residents. Since the 1980s, county emergency managers across the state have been required by state law to establish voluntary special registries to help identify the medi- cally impaired who are not in institutions but have special medical needs; special-needs shelters are to be made available, and their staffing and med- ical management are the responsibility of county health departments.93 The role of transit and school bus operators is to transport ambulatory and wheelchair-bound special-needs populations to these shelters. When a mandatory evacuation is declared, Hillsborough and Pinellas County transit operators also play a role in transporting the disadvantaged and the homeless, as well as those in the general population who lack access 93 S  ince Hurricane Katrina, more attention has been focused on meeting the needs of those with disabilities. In Hillsborough County, for example, the EOC and the County Americans with Dis- abilities Act Liaison jointly chair a Disabilities Subcommittee of the Special Needs Committee, whose purpose is to ensure that the needs of those with disabilities are being addressed. 37274mvp186_288 272 11/24/08 12:21:18 PM

Case Studies 273 to a private vehicle, either to a shelter or to other in-county destinations along evacuation routes. The Tampa UA and its transit service providers are well organized to handle an in-county evacuation in an advance-notice event, such as a hur- ricane. But the area would be hard pressed to evacuate a sizable fraction of its population in a very severe hurricane or major hazardous materials incident, and the relatively small size of area transit systems would limit their role. The major obstacle is the highway network, which is limited to a few Interstates serving the area, and the congestion that would likely occur as a result of other areas evacuating through the region, at least in the event of a severe hurricane. Strong storm surge accompanying a severe hurricane would compound the problem, flooding local roads and bridge approaches and further hindering bus and vehicular traffic. For example, Pinellas County would have only one land-based evacuation route should the four bridges out of the county be shut down because of winds or high water. The state has recognized the problem and, working with TBRPC in the Tampa UA, is beginning to develop an all-hazards, statewide emer- gency evacuation plan that would link individual county emergency evac- uation plans. This case study raises several general policy issues that may be relevant for other UAs. It shows that an area such as Tampa, which lacks an exten- sive transit network, can still organize and target resources effectively to assist special-needs and other vulnerable populations in an emergency evacuation. State regulations have played an important role, but so have county emergency managers, health officials, and transit managers, who have worked together both to identify these populations and to ensure that adequate drivers and equipment will be available to transport them to appropriate shelters. Hillsborough County’s Know Your Role program is an innovative effort to help ensure that county personnel will be available and know where to go in an emergency, and to match individual skills with likely potential needs. That being said, the relatively small size of the Tampa UA relative to the other case study sites (e.g., New York, Los Angeles) does not appear to make it any easier to evacuate a significant proportion of the population from the area, much less use transit for this purpose. A limited network of major high- ways makes out-of-county evacuation difficult within any reasonable time 37274mvp186_288 273 11/24/08 12:21:18 PM

274 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation frame, a problem that would likely be compounded by evacuees from neigh- boring counties in the event of a severe hurricane. The role of transit in such a scenario would probably be limited to in-county evacuation, given avail- able resources. One response to this situation has been to reduce demand for evacuation, for example, by encouraging sheltering in place for populations not at risk in an advance-notice event such as a hurricane, and to plan for the evacuation of other populations (e.g., hotel guests) before that of the general population begins. Efforts to control development to keep residents and businesses out of harm’s way in vulnerable coastal locations have been less successful. A regional, and now a statewide, approach to emergency planning and evacuation is also receiving attention, but it remains to be seen whether the problems involved can be overcome. Finally, Florida is notable for having an Emergency Management and Preparedness Assistance Trust Fund that is not dependent on annual appropriations and enables county emergency managers, and to a lesser extent municipal emergency managers, to fund a range of activities. In addition, the state department of health reimburses for the services pro- vided by health care practitioners and vendors at special-needs shelters, which helps ensure that special-needs and other vulnerable populations receive the care they need in an emergency evacuation. Committee Members and Staff in Attendance Betty Hearn Morrow (lead) Ellis Stanley, Sr. Kenneth Brown Nancy Humphrey Briefings Pinellas County David MacNamee, Emergency Management Coordinator, and Gregory Lindgren, Pinellas County Emergency Management Robert Ballou, St. Petersburg Emergency Management Office William Vola, Clearwater Emergency Management Stephen Fravel, Pinellas County EMS and Fire Administration Richard Stiff, St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue Richard Walker, Chief, Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue 37274mvp186_288 274 11/24/08 12:21:18 PM

Case Studies 275 Christopher Taylor, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Denise Skinner, Director of Transportation, and Jeff Thompson and Walter Lenz, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority Timothy McClindon, Wheelchair Transport Service Roger Eckert, Neighborly Care Network Carol Madura, Emergency Manager, and Joseph Palazzola, Pinellas County Schools Gayle Guidash and David Sobamiwa, Pinellas County Health Department David Walker, Pinellas County Planning Department Heather Sobush, Pinellas Metropolitan Planning Organization Kenneth Jacobs, Pinellas County Traffic Betti C. Johnson, Principal Planner, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council Hillsborough County Larry Gispert, Director, Peter Dabrowski, Holley Wade, Jeffrey Copeland, Daniel Fulcher, Steven Porter, Edward Murphy, and Paul Siddall, Hillsborough County Emergency Management Dennis LeMonde, Public Information Officer, Emergency Operations Center, Hillsbor- ough County Emergency Management Eugene Hensy, Hillborough County Planning and Growth Management Department David Travis and James Olsen, Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue Dennis Jones, Fire and Rescue, City of Tampa John Bennett, Veronica Hamilton, and George Magnon, Tampa Police Department Joseph Diaz and Ralph Lavado, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority Scott Clark, Operations Manager, Sunshine Line John Saffold (Transportation) and Steven Ayers (Administration), Hillsborough County Schools Sandra Sroka, Hillsborough County ADA Liaison Brenda Martin, LifePath Hospice Joseph DiDomenico, Self Reliance Judi Knight, American Red Cross Samuel Harris, Tampa Housing Authority Ryan Pedigo, Hillsborough County Health Department Michael McCarthy, Hillsborough County Public Works Department/Traffic State of Florida Ronald Anderson, District Emergency Coordination Officer, Florida Department of Transportation, District 7 37274mvp186_288 275 11/24/08 12:21:18 PM

276 The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation Christie L. Brown, Registered Nurse Consultant, Florida Department of Health Karen Somerset, Assistant Director, Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, State of Florida Major Documents Consulted Pinellas County 1. Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. Comprehensive Emergency Manage- ment Plan. October 2006. 2. Pinellas County Emergency Management. Special Needs Assistance Program, Standard Operating Guidelines. June 2007. 3. Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. Tampa Bay Region Hurricane Evacuation Study. September 2006. a. Executive Summary. b. Transportation Analysis, August 2006. c. Model Support Document, August 2006. 4. Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (in partnership with Pinellas County). 2007 Hurricane Guide (note that similar guides are available for Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pasco counties). Hillsborough County 1. Hillsborough County. Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). May 2006. 2. Hillsborough County Department of Health and Hillsborough County Emergency Management. The Hillsborough County Special Needs Shelter and Evacuation Plan. Undated. 3. Hillsborough County Emergency Management. Transportation Planning for a Category 4 or 5 Hurricane. 4. Hillsborough County. Emergency Operations Center Guide. March 2004. 5. Hillsborough County. Know Your Role. CD video presentation about the program and its requirements. State of Florida 1. Department of Health. 2007. Special Needs Shelter Rule. Florida Administrative Weekly, Vol. 33, No. 39, pp. 4524–4526. 37274mvp186_288 276 11/24/08 12:21:18 PM

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