PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN EVACUATION PLANNING: THE CASE OF ITALY



PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN EVACUATION PLANNING: THE CASE OF ITALY

Authors

Francis Cirianni, Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria, Domenico Iannò, ATAM Spa Public Transport Company, Corrado Rindone, Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria

Description

Local Public Transport in Emergency planning aims to reduce risk and relative components . One of the main macro-activities to reduce exposure is evacuation. In evacuation planning public transport has a relevant role which has been largely ignored.

Abstract

Transportation planning in emergency conditions aims to identify activities to reduce risk that can be defined in terms of three main components: occurrence of an event in terms of probability or frequency of a specific event actually happening; vulnerability, related only to the resistance of the infrastructures when the event occurs; exposure, that is an equivalent homogeneous weighted value of people, goods and infrastructures affected during and after the event.
The project focalizes on the exposure component. The main macro-activity to reduce exposure is evacuation, which consists in reducing the number of users and goods that can experience negative effects when emergency events occur.
Also the focus is on activities for evacuation planning, starting from the macro set of general activities (material infrastructure, immaterial, equipment, management, governance and institutional). Evacuation is a complex process that depends on many factors.
The objective of evacuations is to move people out of affected areas to safe places as quickly as possible. In the last years, transportation engineering has been playing a more active role in emergency evacuations. A mass evacuation is extremely complex process that requires coordination of many players.
Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, highlighted a lack of evacuation planning for transit including bus and rail systems, paratransit and demand-responsive transit, commuter and intercity rail, and ferries, whether publicly operated or privately contracted. The evacuation was one of the most significant evacuations in U.S. history, with an estimated 1 million people leaving the city over the two days of the exodus. Despite the organisational efforts, people without access to personal transportation have affected by disastrous effects. For instance, 71% of those who died in Katrina in New Orleans were over the age of 60, and 47% over the age of 75. The existing plans failed for different kind of reasons, among these: transit equipment proved inadequate and was left unprotected, and communications and incident control were nonexistent . This event showed the role of transit in emergency evacuation specially for people that depend on this modality (people with special needs) including: senior citizens, people with disabilities and other medical conditions, people with hearing and sight impairments, people who are in assistance institutions, and people without access to private vehicles.
Before 2005, public transportation operators in the United States have ignored their role evacuation planning. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS), indicated that their plans were inadequate to deal with the massive scale of evacuations during the hurricane. Regarding evacuation of people with special needs, most plans were underdeveloped, and none were judged to be very effective. After the Hurricane Katrina, awareness and interest in the role of transit in evacuation are increased. Principal transit roles in an evacuation are now emerged: transit can provide transport vulnerable and transit-dependent populations; transit can transport emergency personnel and equipment to an incident site; during re-entry, after the emergency has passed, transit providers can move evacuees to their original locations or other destinations.
The paper wants to analyze the role of transit in evacuation planning in Europe where, unlikely what has been seen happens in the USA, there is not the same attention to this sector. The case study is Italy. The analysis aims to highlight the level of people with special needs during a potential evacuation respect to the quantity of available resources (drivers and vehicles) required in an emergency situation.

Publisher

Association for European Transport