Report looks at mass transportation's role in emergency response
| 08.01.2008 | 06:17:28 | Views: 9176 | ID:
July 29 '08: A Congressionally-mandated study, funded by the Federal Transit Administration and compiled by the Transportation Research Board has looked at the role of mass transportation before, during and after an emergency. Writers of the report said the study's aim was "to explore the capacity of transit systems serving ... locations in times of emergency."
As the primary example, the TRB report wrote mass transportation solutions can provide a "vitally important role" in overall response and recovery operations. "Following the attack on the World Trade Center during the morning rush hour, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit began shuttling passengers out of Lower Manhattan and also rushed employees, buses, and equipment to the World Trade Center site to support emergency responders."Similarly, mass transportation vehicles and services were used by responders and local government officials in Northern Virginia when the Pentagon was hit by a plane on the same day. However, in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina barreled-down on New Orleans, 100,000 to 200,000 special needs residents without private transportation were not able to evacuate the city. "Emergency plans that inadequately represent transit or are poorly executed risk significant loss of life, particularly among those who are dependent on transit for evacuation out of harm's way." Of note, the report wrote, "Local governments have primary responsibility for responding to an emergency incident and, if necessary, ordering an evacuation. If an incident overwhelms local capability, mutual-aid agreements with neighboring jurisdictions can be invoked, and in a major event or when special equipment is needed (e.g., U.S. Coast Guard vessels, helicopters), state and federal assistance may be requested." Lastly, following terrorist attacks to populations using mass transit in Europe several years ago, a report from the Government Accountability Office in 2005 reviewed the coordination among federal agencies to secure such mass transportation systems from attack, Washington Technology reported. National Blueprint Tags: Response & Containment, Transportation & Logistics, Legal & Intergovernmental, Citizen & Community.
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