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International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
, Pages 1254-1261
Author links open overlay panelJohn L.RenneEnvelope
Evacuation planning and policy in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) exhibit similarities and differences as both nations consist of an auto-dominated society with strong local government traditions related to emergency planning. This paper draws upon focus groups in five major cities in the US and interviews conducted in the UK. This paper examines the extent to which national policy in both countries addresses large-scale, multimodal emergency evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations. It also examines the barriers to effective emergency evacuation planning for these populations. The US could benefit from a policy framework established in the UK, which on paper provides a robust top-down and bottom-up approach that includes local, regional and national resilience forums to coordinate emergency planning activities. While the UK policy framework looks ideal on paper, the political reality is that a ruling party had ignored planning during the time leading up to the interviews in 2013. The UK could learn from the on-the-ground experiences from US disasters, which can strike anywhere. The study draws lessons from the US and UK and identifies five barriers to effective emergency evacuation planning. Suggested recommendations seek to promote effective policy and planning for evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations.
In the US, Hurricane Katrina shone a national spotlight on the need for evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations1 when the city flooded due to levy failure in 2005. Over a decade later, evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations remains a planning and policy area in need of much work. In the UK, major floods in 2007 resulted in a review of the emergency planning approach utilized in the UK. Major coastal flooding in late 2013 and early 2014 prompted evacuations and much media interest in preparedness, however despite these emergencies, evacuation planning remains a relatively low national priority.
There are some key reasons society can no longer afford to ignore evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations. First, and possibly the most challenging problem, is related to rising sea levels, climate change and flood risk. Priemus and Reitveld  note:
climate change is not a thing of the future, but is already taking place, while rising sea levels are a threatening impact of climate change in many parts of the world…These relationships have only recently become a focus for researchers, thus there is no broad body of existing scientific knowledge on which this…can be based. In fact, we are still at the stage of setting agendas and directions for research, and there are more questions than answers (, p. 425).
Research has shown that sea levels could rise by the year 2100 between 0.8 m and 1.05 m with scholars generally accepting a 1-meter rise as highly probably , , , , . A number of studies have examined inundation impacts by sea level rise, including storm-induced coastal flooding , , , , , , , . Scholars suggest that extreme weather related to climate change necessitates increased need for emergency transportation and evacuation planning, including the need for mass transportation during extreme weather , , .
The second important factor, evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations, relates to changing demographics and the aging of society. As societies age in the US and UK, a growing segment of the population is not able to drive or needs specialized medical equipment when being transported. Ignoring this fact creates significant problems during an evacuation.
Third, wealth in society is becoming more polarized . Families are having a more difficult time affording car ownership. In fact, according to US Census, in 2012, 20% of renters across the US were carless compared to just 3% of homeowners. In large cities, where housing is expensive and transit use a viable option, including San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, New York and Philadelphia, the share of all households without cars is near or above 30%. Moreover, as the population ages, a larger share of the population may not be able to drive .
A fourth factor that society can no longer ignore in evacuation planning, especially for carless populations, is that society is urbanizing. The Great Recession of 2008 has been marked with increasing numbers of young adults entering the workforce who are choosing to forgo a suburban lifestyle and car ownership in favor of living in walkable, transit-served neighborhoods . Urban living and reliance on public transportation is even more ubiquitous across society in the UK, which has lower car ownership levels and higher transit usage rates as compared to the US.
Based on these factors, planners and policy-makers need to better consider carless and vulnerable populations in evacuation planning. This article focuses on two research questions that seek to develop a better understanding of how national policy in the US and UK could guide a more prepared society for disaster preparedness amongst carless and vulnerable populations.
To what extent does national policy in the US and UK address large-scale, multimodal emergency evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations?
What are the barriers to effective emergency evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations?
Evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations has largely been ignored across societies in the US and UK , . In recent years, several publications have made recommendations for improving evacuation planning, including efforts directed towards multimodal evacuation planning, including carless and vulnerable populations , , , .
An earlier paper based on this same research identified challenges of evacuating the carless in Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, New York
This study is a comparative, collective case study , in which one issue was examined by comparing multiple cases. This design allowed the ability to analyze evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations in the US and UK.
This case study used multiple methods of data collection. These included interviews and focus groups with professionals working in the area of evacuation planning, and a content analysis of evacuation plans and government publications.
To answer the research
This section summarizes the findings with respect to this paper's two research questions above. The first section presents findings related to evacuation planning policy for large-scale, multimodal emergency evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations in the US and UK, and the second section discusses barriers to effective evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations in both countries.
Conclusion and recommendations
This section presents the conclusion and recommendations of this study's findings by suggesting four key recommendations to improve carless evacuation planning for vulnerable populations in the US and UK. To restate the first research question, this paper examined the extent to which national policy in US and UK addresses large-scale, multimodal emergency evacuation planning for carless and vulnerable populations.
Based on focus groups conducted in the US, this study found that federal policy
The author would like to acknowledge the Federal Transit Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation for supporting this research in the United States. In the U.K., the author would like to acknowledge and thank the Transport Studies Unit in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford for hosting the author while this research was conducted and the Emergency Planning College for assistance with interviews. The author also wishes to thank Kim Mosby and
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- Assessment of an evacuation shelter program for people with access and functional needs in Monroe County, Florida during Hurricane Irma
2022, Social Science and Medicine
This case study presents an evaluation framework to assess the facilitating and constraining factors that influenced the emergency response, operation, and management of a Special Needs Shelter Program in Monroe County, Florida during Hurricane Irma in 2017. A qualitative analysis of key documents and discussions with agencies directly involved in the Monroe County Special Needs Shelter Program was used to assess four major emergency response processes: notifications and communications, evacuation and transportation, sheltering, and interagency coordination. A critical cross-cutting theme emerged, which was a lack of a common definition for populations with “special needs” across different agencies resulting in uncertainties about who should be admitted to the Special Needs Shelter and have access to their services. We generate public health and emergency management lessons to inform future adaptation, preparedness, and response plans to extreme weather events for populations with access and functional needs in Monroe County and Florida's coastal communities more broadly.(Video) Health care: America vs. the World
- A prescriptive model to assess the socio-demographics impacts of resilience improvements on power networks
2020, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
This paper provides a prescriptive resilience modeling framework for power grids that can account for the socio-demographic impacts of system improvements in the case of hurricanes. The power infrastructure failure rate and recovery duration models are developed based on Hurricane Hermine power outage data obtained from the City of Tallahassee, FL. For the component failures, physical factors such as component type and age, and building age in the surrounding area were used. For the component restoration, factors such as component age, critical facilities, and land use characteristics are considered. Monte Carlo simulation is utilized to estimate the potential impacts of two resilience policy/investment decisions: 1) investment to renew infrastructure components, and 2) reducing the component restoration time for faster recovery. For each scenario, the time evolution of affected populations (i.e., percentage of population with power at any time) is broken into socio-economic categories such as income, age, and ethnicity. Due to significant impact of infrastructure and neighborhood age, the scenario simulation results indicated that lower income populations were affected more (i.e., higher percentage of residents lost power) due to the Hurricane Hermine. Hence, for social equity considerations, it can be recommended that policy makers should prioritize infrastructure investments over improving recovery operations within the available budget constraints. The scenario analysis results also indicate that infrastructure investments which spatially target lower income areas can provide reasonable resilience improvements across the board while significantly closing the recovery gap between lower and higher income populations.
- On-demand ridesourcing for urban emergency evacuation events: An exploration of message content, emotionality, and intersectionality
2020, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Evacuation mode choice has been researched over the past decade for disaster management and planning, focusing primarily on established modes such as personal automobiles, carpooling, and transit. Recently, however, on-demand ridesourcing has become a viable mode alternative, most notably through the growth of major transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft. The availability of this new transportation option is expected to have important implications for adaptive disaster response. The goal of this work is to investigate the influence of internal and external contextual factors on preferred ridesourcing applications during small-scale urban evacuations. A case study was conducted in the three most populous metropolitan areas in the United States. Data were collected using an internet-based stated preference survey, and a discrete choice model was estimated to analyze the 185 responses. Determinants of on-demand ridesourcing for evacuation include internal factors, such as interactions between race, gender, and income, and external contextual factors, such as the evacuation notification source, consequence severity, immediacy, evacuation distance, unfamiliarity of surroundings, and traveling with others. Findings are illustrated through three ridesourcing applications based on specific evacuation needs. Policy recommendations are provided for the design of equitable evacuation services, soft policy communication strategies, and public-private partnerships.
Changing Logistics of Evacuation Transportation in Hazardous Settings during COVID-19
2021, Natural Hazards Review
Exploring the Potential of Using Privately-Owned, Self-Driving Autonomous Vehicles for Evacuation Assistance
2021, Journal of Advanced Transportation
Research articleEvacuation and sheltering: Modelling, management and policy to promote resilience
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 31, 2018, pp. 1141-1142
Research articleResponding to the risk of reducing resources: Development of a framework for future change programmes in Environmental Health Services
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 31, 2018, pp. 30-36(Video) How The CIA Funded a Terrorist Organization
Environmental Health services in the UK have been subject to significant resource reduction over the last 5 years. It is suggested that services risk becoming unsustainable unless efficient and effective ways of working are employed. With this in mind this paper presents the findings of research into the experience of practitioners who are developing and delivering evolving Environmental Health services in English local authorities in the context of deep cutting budget reductions. The research explores the experience of change and identifies lessons learnt in the development and execution of new models of Environmental Health service delivery to mitigate against risks of unsustainable or undeliverable services. Interviews were carried out with the participants to capture their experience of change and the impact on service delivery. A range of service delivery models have been examined including outsourcing, shared services, regional delivery models and discussion of mutual arrangements and at various stages of development from planning through to full transformation. Field work was undertaken between 2014 and 2016. Thematic analysis of interview transcripts has identified six emergent themes of the experience of change: managing changes effectively; understanding the reasons for change; understanding the nature of Environmental Health; meaningful consultation; viability of the proposal; planning and timeliness. Environmental Health services undergoing transformation may benefit from taking into account the lessons learnt by organisations that have previously undergone significant change in their response to the risk of a reducing resource.
Research articleDevelopment of a traffic incident model involving multiple municipalities for inclusion in large microscopic evacuation simulations
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 31, 2018, pp. 1223-1230
Evacuating citizens might have to cross multiple regions to reach safety and, as such, evacuation models may need to include geographical areas that cross municipal boundaries. If the modeler is fortunate, the data required for the model can be obtained from a single source (i.e., a government agency). However, it is likely that several sources will be required to meet the fidelity required. This can lead to interoperability and integrity issues for the modeler due to the different format and content of the data. This paper presents a case study of determining the traffic incident features (type, duration, location, and effect), for a large-scale microscopic regional evacuation simulation, which required data from three different operating authorities (two cities in the United States and one state department of transportation). Through this case study example, many issues relating to data integration are discussed. This study contributes by extending our knowledge of traffic incidents that occur across municipal boundaries and how to represent them in simulations of evacuations. Though existing sources (e.g., Highway Capacity Manual or simulation software) provide guidelines for macroscopic incident modeling, they do not provide guidelines for large-scale microscopic incident modeling. The authors hope that this case study provides an example that will help other evacuation modelers faced with similar challenges and suggest that the modelers consider the use of estimates instead, e.g., traffic incidents increase the evacuation time by five to ten percent.
Research articlePrevious hurricane evacuation decisions and future evacuation intentions among residents of southeast Louisiana
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 31, 2018, pp. 1231-1244
Population evacuation is an important component of emergency management planning for a variety of hazards, especially hurricanes and tropical storms that threaten coastal communities. This study examined previous evacuation decisions and evacuation intentions across 13 southeast Louisiana coastal parishes. Overall, the results indicate that most people will evacuate from strong storms, especially when ordered to do so. Future evacuation intentions correlated with previous evacuation decisions and corresponded to storm strength and official evacuation orders. Demographic factors had varying effects on behavior and intentions, with gender and race having the most consistent effects. The effects of income, education, homeownership, and housing type varied by storm strength and had different effects for intentions than previous behaviors. Previous flooding and wind damage had minimal effects on evacuation intentions. Risk perception, especially perception of the safety of one's own home, had strong effects on evacuation intentions. Qualitative results support the quantitative findings showing that people continue to rely on storm strength, especially Category or wind speed, as an indicator of risk and that persons who would not evacuate felt their homes were safe or had jobs that required them to report for duty. The results call for more research into how predictors of actual behaviors and intentions vary even while behaviors and intentions are correlated and how individuals determine that their house is safe.
Research articleRisk reduction impact of connected vehicle technology on regional hurricane evacuations: A simulation study
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 31, 2018, pp. 1245-1253
As the number, severity, and frequency of events for which evacuations are viewed as a protective action continue to evolve and increase, there is a need to explore new methods and techniques to increase the effectiveness of mass population movements. This paper summarizes a recent United States Department of Transportation research study to evaluate the application of emerging advanced traffic communication technologies to facilitate evacuations. Specifically, the project involved the examined risk reduction impacts of EVAC, which is an application of the Response, Emergency Staging and Communications, Uniform Management, and Evacuation (R.E.S.C.U.M.E.) bundle based on connected-vehicle technology. Using a simulation model of the Greater New Orleans region to represent the mass evacuation that occurred during Hurricane Katrina, the analysis assessed EVAC using seven simulation scenarios including one baseline scenario and six strategy scenarios in which an EVAC functionality or a combination of functionalities were modeled. Each scenario was evaluated with three levels of EVAC penetration and compliance rates. The strategy scenarios were compared to the baseline scenario to determine the risk-reduction benefit of the applied EVAC functionality. Based on the results of the modeling efforts, the EVAC functionalities that were evaluated showed positive impacts for several key aspects of hurricane evacuation including congestion reduction, improved mobility, and shorter travel times to resources.
Research articleRoles revealed: An examination of the adopted roles of emergency managers in hazard mitigation planning and strategy implementation
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 39, 2019, Article 101145
Studies investigating hazard mitigation planning and strategy implementation have traditionally been examined from the perspective of individual planners and their agencies. Emergency management practitioners are generally engaged in comprehensive emergency management yet when compared to other phases of the disaster cycle, their role in hazard mitigation planning and strategy implementation is less well understood. Thirty emergency management coordinators from the North Central Texas region were interviewed to examine how they define their roles in hazard mitigation planning. Grounded theory analysis generated six themes regarding the broad roles they practice. While each role is essential to disaster risk reduction, the roles of administrator, collaborator, and coordinator were expressed by a greater number of study participants and suggest them to be of central importance to local hazard mitigation planning. Their proficiency at collaboration and coordination suggests emergency managers to be the ideal stakeholder to lead hazard mitigation planning, an activity that warrants the involvement and cooperation of multiple stakeholders.
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