Transportation networks provide a key service during emergency evacuations. Transportation operations significantly determine the safety and efficiency with which evacuations are implemented. Although there may be multiple modes of travel involved in evacuating populations, the most frequently and heavily used are highways and secondary roads. A basic approach to strengthening the service of the transportation network in emergency evacuations is to involve the transportation community in the planning process. Fully linking the transportation sector with emergency management in all phases of preparedness will enhance the ability of the transportation sector to support emergency evacuations. Thus, the state and local agencies responsible for emergency evacuations have an interest involving the transportation sector in the development of emergency plans as well as their implementation.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has produced a primer for emergency response managers and transportation officials entitled "Using Highways during Evacuation Operations for Events with Advance Notice." The primer serves as a guide for local and state planners on the lessons learned and best practices for maximizing the use of the highway network in emergency evacuations. A fundamental step recommended by the FHWA primer is to involve transportation subject matter experts and those with appropriate authorities in the evacuation planning process. In addition to lessons learned, the FHWA primer discusses transportation resources including ITS tools, traffic operations and incident management that can support emergency evacuations.
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