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Thread: TransPlanning (preparing) for evacuation in the new world...

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dominimami305's avatar
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    TransPlanning (preparing) for evacuation in the new world...

    Hello everyone.

    I was watching the news last night and the topic was on how well prepared the city was in case of an evacuation. The answer seemed cliche and meant in a matter of fact way, which honestly disturbed me. They reported that the biggest issue with evacuating the city is in actually getting people to LEAVE! LOL! I have to laugh and shake my head at the same time. Can we all remember 9/11 and the massive chaos during that time??? Well, if all of you do as I do, when Im being told that there's a possible threat to my life (natural or not. They are coming up with some crazy stuff now a days. too much SciFi for me maybe? )..... IM OUT OF THERE WITH A HURRY !!!

    Nonetheless, this raised a question in my mind about what thought has been put in planning (revitalizing) communities where we are moving away from what has become the norm for transportation, cars, and towards bycycles and public transportation?

    What will happen if there was a need for an evacuation and most of the people in this new "car-less" community needed to be evacuated? Will the new form of transportation sustain this? And how? I just dont see everyone zooming away on their bikes with kids and the "baggage" of todays times; Or fitting in the public buses.

    Or do you transplanner have a secret craft hidden below the city that will emerge like a phoenix and scoop all of us to safety?!?! Lol.

  2. #2

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    Not to be flippant, ok, maybe a little flippant, but we saw how well conventional means of evacuating a city worked in New Orleans...

    Buses and trains would be an effective way of moving large numbers of people out of a city if you could guarantee that the roads would be clear for the buses to move... and you could ensure the drivers would stay at their posts...

    Your comment about people taking all their stuff with them raises a point... Unless everyone keeps a moving van, shipping container, barge, etc. at home, shouldn't the emphasis always be on saving people first, rather than stuff, no matter what the stuff is?

    Note also that even when the threat is very real, many people chose to stay. How do you deal with this after the fact?

    (I'm sure that there were lots of posts on this last topic already...)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Its interesting to note that the post-WWII building of the interstate system was paid for by military money. Why? For evacuation purposes, of course.

    Of course, if everyone who owned a car tried to leave any major city at once today, no one would get very far anyway. In fact, in those scenarios, having a bike might be just the ticket...

    I agree with DPP, though, New Orleans is a good example of what is likely to occur. There will be people who are able to get out on their own accord. There will be holdouts who refuse to leave. There will be folks without the means to leave. And there will be looting and chaos as some choose to take advantage of the situation for personal gain and for the love of chaos and mayhem.

    Sounds like a fun party - I hope I get to go...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    In cities, the main thing that is going to stymie evacuation is congestion, just the same as it locks up traffic during rush hour, but worse, because the number of destinations will be much smaller. Mostly you'll see interstates locked up solid. I'd be more inclined to take my chances with a bicycle. If you can keep their rights of way clear, transit would work better than the car; the bus and train drivers get to be heroes, just have a separate plan on hand that involves putting every bus on the road to do a big collector pattern over the city, nobody is going to complain about things like transfer penalties or odd schedules or the like, and funnel them to rail lines. Rail lines have an intrinsically huge capacity and an innately dedicated right of way, so just run every train you can spare on your metro to get them to the edge of the city. Make plans with the Guard, et al. that they will take over the evacuation from there. Further concerns include that you need to make sure that the rail lines are adequately set up to be reliable in case of emergency. As a backup to the rail, be ready to put the word out that a given highway corridor to an evacuation point has become transit only, with no automobiles allowed. Be ready to use the military to enforce this.

  5. #5
    The CDC is recommending that public transportation be shut down in the event of a bad flu pandemic.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    In Florida..where the hurricanes will keep on coming... all major roads are converted to one-way, out of the state. The tolls on the Turnpike are waved and the toll booths are freed up. However, there is still massive traffic jams. There are choke points, the fact everyone who is going to leave will do it around the same time, and accidents/broken down cars.

    Lately a larger problem is emerging...over development. Many evacuation routes, or areas they serve, have been allowed to overdevelop. This problem only comes to light when a hurricane is an impending direct hit and the order to evacuate is given.

    How would I do it better? PLANNING. Evacuation areas.... you leave when you are told to. You get a colored sticker on your car. Wrong color, it will cost you. We could plan orderly evacuations, time the flow via models, etc. Busses would be used to get people at areas that had no car, but they would still evacuate when told. Some problems exist… how high would the fine have to be to force people to listen, would bus drivers show up, etc. Just an idea...
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by JusticeZero View post
    Further concerns include that you need to make sure that the rail lines are adequately set up to be reliable in case of emergency. As a backup to the rail, be ready to put the word out that a given highway corridor to an evacuation point has become transit only, with no automobiles allowed. Be ready to use the military to enforce this.
    Clearly, somebody has spent some time thinking about this. But there are further problems:

    How much rolling stock do you have? For maximum throughput, you need all tracks/lanes outbound. To use a given train twice, you have to dedicate half your track capacity to sending empty trains/buses back into the city.

    Do you really and truly have enough track capacity, even going all-out? Manhattan's a special case, admittedly, but I saw a presentation by the Regional Plan Association about 4 years back discussing the fact that Manhattan's rail tunnels were absolutely at capacity - at peak hour, the rail tunnels had trains running two minutes apart on the track. Evacuation is much worse than a mere peak commuting hour.

    OTOH, I don't know that RPA considers freight tracks, which there must be some of around Manhattan? If it's a life or death situation, I'd happily hope on a boxcar for a ride out of the city.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by Flying Monkeys View post
    How would I do it better? PLANNING. Evacuation areas.... you leave when you are told to. You get a colored sticker on your car. Wrong color, it will cost you. We could plan orderly evacuations, time the flow via models, etc. Busses would be used to get people at areas that had no car, but they would still evacuate when told. Some problems exist… how high would the fine have to be to force people to listen, would bus drivers show up, etc. Just an idea...
    Agreed, BUT...

    There's a major difference between a forseeable event, like a hurricane, and an unpredicted event, like a terrorist attack. If you know your high, medium and low hazard areas for an event, you can phase evacuations by those areas. That assumes, however, a constant threat area (flood, hurricane, tsunami, etc.). A terror attack, a hazardous materials event, an earthquake, etc., may occur at any (essentially) random point or points. People would need to understand that any preset evacuation scheme applies only in certain situations.

    That aside, how do you coordinate the stickers? Are they affixed in a permanent manner to the vehicle, or do you keep your colored placard to display only in event of an evacuation? What if someone's car is in the shop that day, and they have a rental? What about out-of-towners? What happens if someone stashes their sticker away, and can't find it when they need it? Will people be trading stickers on the black market? Counterfitting? Could it even really be enforced? (If every lane of an interstate, including hard shoulders, are being used to move vehicles... should the police really be stopping people on the side of the road?) You can tell, I'm a pessimist.

    Don't get me wrong, I think phased evacuations are a great idea. I just wonder if a good public education program, explaining very simply that everyone will be allowed to evacuate and doing so in an orderly fashion will speed things up, would be more effective than trying to add in things like stickers.

    Here's an anecdote. I went to the recent air show at Andrews Air Force Base. Good times. Due to security concerns, there's no more parking on the base. We parked at a nearby stadium, went through a security checkpoint there, and boarded metro transit busses. Going in to the airshow, they had busses lined up in four columns, and there were four lines of people, each going to the front bus of each column. When the busses were full, they left, the next four busses pulled up, and repeated the process. We got to the base, the busses stopped, everyone got out, we're on our way to having fun. It worked great.

    When the show ended, everyone made a mad rush for the busses. They anticipated this, and had maybe 15 columns of busses. Same concept as in the morning going in - many lines, each to one column of busses. Load up, the busses pull off caravan style, and the next in line move up. Lather, rinse, repeat. People had to wait in line longer than in the morning, but still they were on busses very quickly. We made good time out to public roads... where we promptly turned into a parking lot. We had positive control of the roads on the base, through police roadblocks, etc., but once we hit the public system, we lost our protected right-of-way. As we waited at traffic lights, on-ramps, etc., the busses were just piling up behind us.

    Once we finally got to the alighting point, they tried to replicate the set-up from the morning -- four columns, the front four busses stop and unload, etc. The only problem with that is, now the busses waiting in line are full of people who can't go anywhere as the front four busses unload.

    My point, I suppose, is that it was the sudden surge of people, as from a non-phased evacuation, that seems to have broken the system. In the morning, as we trickled in, there was barely a hang-up. Why? We all left at different times. We were phased. It does work, and with planning, you CAN summon enough resources to move massive amounts of people.

    Here's another related anecdote: Make sure all your resources are coordinated. On the way to the airshow, the variable message signs on the highway were displaying a message for air show traffic to go to a different rallying point than had been published. Perhaps it was a miscommunication as to what the sign should have said, but either way, many people followed the sign's directions to a place with no shuttle service, nobody to greet them, nothing... D'oh!

    And of course one final thought, though not really transportation related: If we're sending all our people out one route, can that route handle the crush of evacuees? I can only imagine that Florida is pretty bad when, say, Miami evacuates and everyone heads north. Gas shortages, hotel shortages, etc.?

    Okay, I'll shut up now.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SuperPenguin View post
    Agreed, BUT...


    That aside, how do you coordinate the stickers? Are they affixed in a permanent manner to the vehicle, or do you keep your colored placard to display only in event of an evacuation? What if someone's car is in the shop that day, and they have a rental? What about out-of-towners? What happens if someone stashes their sticker away, and can't find it when they need it? Will people be trading stickers on the black market? Counterfitting? Could it even really be enforced? (If every lane of an interstate, including hard shoulders, are being used to move vehicles... should the police really be stopping people on the side of the road?) You can tell, I'm a pessimist.
    This would be a huge planning exercise. I am thinking that we could suspend normal laws and allow anyone to run a guy with the wrong sticker off the road...Just kidding.

    But it would require a well thought out plan. Maybe it is tied to lic. plate numbers... you could pick up offenders via enforcement cameras that are normally used for red light runners and toll violators.

    If you got 60 to 70 percent compliance, it would probably be an improvement. The problem of full hotels is also a big problem. The last people out have to go further away to find accommodations.

    The concept of phased evacuation is a good one; the implantation study would be worth millions.
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by Flying Monkeys View post
    This would be a huge planning exercise. I am thinking that we could suspend normal laws and allow anyone to run a guy with the wrong sticker off the road...Just kidding.
    But they do that even with the normal laws in effect!

    The red light camera thing probably wouldn't work. Around here, they only go off when a vehicle trips a sensor, while the light is red. They DO have many, many, many video cameras to monitor roads, however. I think some intersections even have video-based traffic sensing to determine when to cycle the light. I don't know how good they'd be at reading plates, but it's a possibility. But a drawback is, people will still break the law the first time. Only after the first evacuation, when everyone gets the ticket in the mail, will they learn.

    I do like the idea of tying it to plates, or at least registration stickers. After all, every two years here, I get new stickers from the state. They know my address, so they can send them to the right place. Obviously, that tells them where in the hazard area I live. You put your evacuation sticker on when you put your registration renewal on. If you move into a more dangerous area, you can request a new evac sticker. If you move somewhere safer, you'll get caught when you renew from a new address, and are issued the new appropriate sticker.

    Do they typically have vehicle restrictions during evacuations in Florida? Such as, no hauling trailers, boats, etc.?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SuperPenguin View post
    Do they typically have vehicle restrictions during evacuations in Florida? Such as, no hauling trailers, boats, etc.?
    If they do, I have never seen it enforced.

    Also, the toll violator cameras could work for this ....You know an additional idea for planning would be to require REAL hurricane shelters to be built. Think about it. If you have no transportation, then your only choice is a shelter... something like a bomb shelter. Florida has required that developers provide shelters, but they wrap them into their school obligations. What we need are heavy duty shelters all along the coastal areas.
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    One big issue that has not been addressed is that, typically, the average coastal resident does not need to evacuate out of state. A usual recommendation is 10-30 miles inland. Inland Florida has ample hotel rooms unless you're heading to Disney, plus all interior counties open their evacuation shelters to accommodate coastal residents/tourists, even if the hurricane is not expected to significantly impact their immediate area. Evacuating a county or two inland keeps people closer to home and reduces congestion on the few interstates out of Florida. Unfortunately, most people would rather bypass a shelter for the privacy of a hotel room, even if it means travelling 500 miles away.

    During the 2004 hurricanes, there were plenty of inland county motel rooms available; they sustained little or no damage and did not lose power or water. But people became so panicked they headed for Georgia, Alabama, etc.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    I don't know about a Phoenix scooping all of us. However, I do have a route that lets me out of Baltimore fairly quickly.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  14. #14
    Cyburbian dominimami305's avatar
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    PM it to me^^^^^!! lol. I need to know things like that. Especially with the way things are going now... A quick evacuation may just be what i need!!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Well in case of an evacuation assuming that road infrastructure is partially damaged or unusable (floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc) is a pretty good idea, thus using buses and/or trains (if possible) is the best idea. If the infrastructure is completely damaged and unusable except for 4WD and army trucks... then that's the best shot, aided with transport helicopters or amphibious vehicles in case of a flood.

    Using personal cars is not the best idea because if you get stranded you're pretty much lost on your own. Bikes are useless unless you have a little engine to help you out (especially if carrying baggage)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus
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    From the AP Wire:

    HEADLINE - Poll: Coastal Residents Won't Evacuate
    http://www.newsday.com/news/nationwo...orld-headlines

    HIGHLIGHTS:
    About one in three people living in Southern coastal areas said they would ignore hurricane evacuation orders if a storm threatened their community, up from about one in four last year, a poll released Tuesday shows.

    The survey found the most common reasons for not evacuating were the same ones that topped last year's Harvard University poll: People believe that their homes are safe and well-built, that roads would be too crowded and that fleeing would be dangerous. Slightly more than one in four also said they would be reluctant to leave behind a pet.
    Oddball
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    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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  17. #17
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    The other problem with leaving, besides not being there to protect your property, is that you often can't get back IN when you want to go back. Damaged areas often get cordoned off and can't be entered, even if you can prove you live there and are otherwise prepared and protected. A sinple "abandon all hope, ye who enter here" sign would be a better solution and let folks do what they think is best to protect their land.

    I have been on the verge of a big post on this topic and relation to planning, transit, etc, since it aligns closely with my interests. Someday I'll get enough time at home to make it happen.

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