Steven J. Cyra, HNTB Corporation, Presiding
Department of Transportation, District of Columbia
Lieutenant Steven Sund
Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia
Douglas Noble discussed the transportation planning process and operations during the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) demonstrations in Washington, D.C. He summarized the recommended practices for developing and implementing planning, operations, and evaluation for these types of events. He also highlighted the key issues, challenges, and barriers and how to overcome these barriers based on the successes and lessons learned. He discussed some of the needs and considerations specific to this particular planned special event category. Finally, he summarized the role of technology as part of security and contingency planning.
The Mayor's Special Event Task Force (ETF) provides the focal point for coordinating planning and operations for special events in Washington, D.C. Following recommended practices, the first step in the planning process was to establish a set of goals for the event and how to measure them. Defining a clear strategy for each event is critical. Subcommittees are established months prior to a planned event. Subcommittees meet to coordinate and resolve issues surrounding the event's overall security needs and event organizers needs, in this case the IMF and WB. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Special Operations Division (SOD) presides over the meetings. Meetings include intelligence updates and subcommittee updates. Monthly updates are provided to the EMA. Meetings start well in advance of a special event and become more frequent as the date of the event approaches.
The goals are to achieve a level of predictability, to ensure safety, to maximize efficiency, and to meet public and event expectations. Meeting these goals benefits visitors, businesses, residents, contractors, commuters, as well as local, regional, and the federal governments.
A number of measures are used to determine if the goals have been met. Travel delays for transit and personal vehicles are measured. Traffic-related incidents are monitored by the DDOT TMC. The MPD accident reporting is also reviewed. Community impacts are measured by the number and the nature of telephone calls to the EMA Emergency Call Center (ECC) and Mayor's Citywide Call Center.
Planning and operations for the IMF and WB demonstrations followed a standard approach that is adjustable depending on other events occurring in the District at the same time, and information that is made available prior to and during the event. Agencies are required to work in concert and information is tightly controlled. Planning must be followed and is subject to change. All resources required for the event are made available to MPD through EMA and the agencies responsible for those tasks.
Evaluations are performed by all agencies involved and typically a "Hot Wash" meeting follows the event to discuss both positive and negative points of the event. DDOT field operations report back to TMC and EMA's EOC hourly on various event activities and roadway issues.
The field operations approach uses a two-prong attack. A rapid deployment plan, strategy, and contingency plan are established for staff and the traveling public in the case of an incident. Daily monitoring of the implemented plan and traffic levels are conducted. Personnel respond to traffic incidents and traffic management issues that may develop. Incident reporting to EOC/TMC is provided hourly and is documented. Adjustments are made to the approaches used with the next event as lessons are learned. This fall the demonstration at the IMF/WB coincided with the student move-in time at George Washington University, which complicated transportation operations.
There are numerous transportation challenges in dealing with the IMF/WB protesters. Conflicts may arise between security areas and allowing for a relatively fluid transportation flow. Communication with law enforcement is critical and there is a very positive relationship among agencies in the area, including being entrusted with access to law enforcement information relative to transportation issues and being notified when there is a change in the plan. Willing and available staff resources and support services is also important. Given the impact on roadways outside the event area, communication with regional departments of transportation partners is critical.
Regional Communication is very important. For IMF/WB, all media releases and requests are filtered through MPD's Public Information Office (PIO). A relationship has been established with MPD where their PIO will first notify DDOT PIO and the Special Events Section prior to a press release concerning transportation. The benefit of this approach is that the Director of DDOT does not hear about the event and event planning decisions through the media first. Local resources are also used to communicate with travelers and the public. Fixed VMS and mobile and portable VMS are used, as is HAR. Traditional media outlets are used once the MPD PIO has approved the release.
A number of challenges and barriers were encountered with the IMF and WB protests. Examples of challenges include closing down a major commercial business district, closing down part of a university campus, and closing down major roadways through the city for three days. In addition, transportation personnel are focused on the event, which means other work does not get done. Overcoming these challenges and barriers means planning well in advance. Examples of approaches used include coordinated communications with a visit by city officials to businesses, including university security personnel in pertinent meetings, and providing notices to the public in a timely manner.
A number of keys to success can be identified. First, there is clear communications and understanding of expectations, both between organizations and within individual agencies. Second, information sharing is critical. Third, maintaining flexibility is important, as an event can be extremely dynamic. Fourth, a unified approach to traffic management is needed. The same message needs to be sent to the public and the administration on your needs and expectations. Resource management and time management are very important so that you do not burn out your manpower both psychologically and physically.
There are specific local considerations with each special event. The affect on evacuation routes must be considered, as well as the proximity to the White House and other key buildings. The roadways surrounding the event site are directional specific and the outermost perimeters are used to direct traffic past as quickly as possible. Consideration must be given for students accessing dorms and classes, as well as families from out of town visiting the campus. Consideration also must be given to any visitors and to protecting hotels where delegates are staying.
Technology plays an important role in managing traffic with special events in the District. DDOT uses geographic information systems (GIS) to plan and plot roadway closures. Other ITS technologies includes traffic monitoring cameras, VMS's, HAR, red light cameras, and TMC remotely monitoring traffic signal systems.
James G. Austrich and Jamie Quarrelles
Department of Transportation, District of Columbia
James Austrich and Jamie Quarrelles discussed planning activities related to evacuation management and emergency preparedness in the District of Columbia. They described the activities of the DDOT and other agencies on evacuations and emergency preparedness related to special events.
Prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001, the DDOT did not really have a process for evacuating and emergency preparedness related to special events. Although plans had been developed, there had not been any need to use them. There was a good deal of misinformation right after the attack on the Pentagon.
A main element of the plan developed after 9/11 addresses evacuation routes, traffic operations, and signage. Regional evacuation routes and signage were established, as were operation procedures for evacuation routes and gateways. Information and communication are also important elements. Ensuring inter-operability was critical. Center to center, field-to-center, and field-to-field communication was established.
Local and regional communication linkages critical to emergency incident management were established. Internal policies and procedures to enhance DDOT's response to emergency incidents were also established. An emergency roster identifying critical personnel was developed. A pocket guide identifying transportation emergency actions was developed and distributed to personnel. Special events contingency plans were also developed.
The event and evacuation routes plan uses Pennsylvania Avenue is the demarcation line. The 25 DDOT roadways include major arterials and freeways, with minimal intersecting routes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) secured routes include point of arrival (POA), a mobilization center (MC), and staging areas (SA).
A number of emergency preparedness command centers are available. The EMA established an EOC and developed a district response plan (DRP). The Traffic Services Administration has a TMC. DDOT deployment includes Dial 3, 240-second traffic signal timing plan implementation, traffic operations support, and critical staff activation. The MPD has a joint operations command center (JOCC) and MPD deployment for evacuations includes 70 critical intersections.
The DDOT is the primary district agency for Emergency Support Function Number One — Transportation in the DRP. DDOT responsibilities include coordinating support within the functional area, providing an appropriate level of staffing for operations, activating and sub-tasking support agencies, and managing mission assignments and coordinating tasks. There are 37 district, regional, federal, and other support agencies.
Policies have been developed related to operations, notifications, special events, requests, coordination, and security. Information and communication management focus on external communication with the Secret Service, Capitol Police, WMATA, other jurisdictions and internal communication with DDOT and district agencies.
Allan J. DeBlasio, Terrance J. Regan, and Margaret E. Zirker
U.S. Department of Transportation, Volpe Center
Alan DeBlasio participated in the technical exchange session. His display presented information on the effect of catastrophic events on transportation systems management and operations. The information was based on a research study sponsored by the USDOT, ITS Joint Program Office and the FHWA, Office of Transportation Operations.
Federally declared disasters in 2003 included 56 major disasters, 19 emergencies, and 46 federal fire management assistance requests. Federally declared disasters in 2004 included 68 major disasters, 7 emergencies, and 43 federal fire management assistance requests.
The events examined in the study included the August 14, 2003 blackout in the New York City area and the Great Lakes region; the rail tunnel fire in Baltimore, MD on July 18, 2001; the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington, D.C.; and the Northridge, CA earthquake on January 17, 1994.
All of these events had major impacts on the transportation system. The effects of the blackout included accommodating a mass exodus from New York City when the subways stopped and the traffic lights went out. Communications were also lost and there were lengthy queues at border crossings into Canada from the northeastern states.
The transportation impacts of the terrorist attacks of September 11 included accommodating a mass exodus from New York City when major roads and bridges closed, portions of transit system were inoperable, and airports closed. Access for emergency responders was difficult in this situation.
The Baltimore rail tunnel fire disrupted rush hour traffic. Key roadways and rail corridors were closed and detours were implemented. A 40-inch water main also ruptured as a result of the fire.
The Northridge earthquake caused destruction to the roadway infrastructure. Detours and extensions of the commuter rail system were implemented to respond to this situation.
The transportation system is a resource to be used in responding to emergencies and assisting with evacuation and recovery. As seen by the attacks of September 11, the transportation system can also be a target.
The agencies involved in responding to these emergencies used guiding priorities leading to operating decisions, which were based on a plan of action. The initial guiding priorities in every emergency are protection of life. Security and safety take priority immediately. Providing or restoring mobility is also important.
Emergencies are unpredictable, requiring transportation agencies to respond quickly. Operating decisions need to be made based on plans and on the exact nature of the emergency. Setting priorities as quickly and as accurately as possible is important. Sustaining operations according to contingency plans is critical. Empowering staff to make field decisions is important. Other key elements include working with first responders and implementing established evacuation procedures for evacuations when necessary. Sharing resources among agencies is critical. Restoring mobility as soon as feasible is also important.
Developing a plan of action prior to emergencies is an important step. These plans typically address advanced preparations, operating decisions, institutional coordination, the use of technology, technical communications, and system redundancy and resiliency.
Advanced preparations are important, as emergencies do not occur at convenient times. It is important to train all staff for emergencies. Learning from previous events is also important. Developing response plans and conducting practice drills can be of benefit. Many areas have established emergency operations centers. Adopting an incident command system appears to still be unfamiliar to many in the transportation community, but it is an important aspect of emergency response.
The result of advanced preparations is the ability to initiate an emergency response plan within minutes of an event. For example, it took only two minutes for staff at the George Washington Bridge to initiate the closing of the bridge once they were told to do so because they knew the plan and were empowered to take action. It took only six minutes for PATH crews to start evacuating the World Trade Center station because after the first plane struck, train operators knew procedures and called the operations center. The dispatcher immediately implemented the evacuation plan.
Institutional coordination is critical. Cultivating relationships during normal times helps build the teamwork needed to respond during emergencies. Linking sections within individual organizations is also important as is establishing contacts in other agencies. Other important elements are establishing mutual aid agreements and developing contacts with the media. Reviewing performance after an event is also critical to identify areas for improvement, as well as actions that worked well. The results of performance reviews are improved cooperation and response capabilities.
For example, within minutes of the attack on the Pentagon, signs displaying a message that the George Washington Bridge was closed were in operation. The relationships and trust developed among organizations, including TRANSCOMSM and the I-95 Corridor Coalition were instrumental in the quick response. The Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC) provides another example of institutional coordination. Staff operates equipment owned and maintained by member agencies.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency plan highlights why rapid assessment is important. The ability of government to perform a rapid assessment accurately and within the first few hours after an incident is critical to providing an adequate government response for life-threatening situations and imminent hazards. Coordinated and timely assessments permit government to prioritize response activities, allocate scarce resources, and request mutual aid and assistance quickly and accurately.
Accurate and timely information is needed to conduct a rapid assessment. Technology can be a key source of this information. ITS, communication, and other advanced technologies can be used to collect, store, and process data. These technologies provide information for decision makers. They also aid in sharing information with other agencies and in disseminating information to the public. ITS is composed of numerous technologies. Examples include CCTV, VMS, and HAR. Other technologies include AVL systems, RWIS, and the 511 System.
Transportation technologies collect information on travel conditions. It can detect roadway conditions, determine vehicle locations, and produces video images. Technologies can also be used to share information electronically to travelers in an affected area and travelers approaching an area. Technology is key to management and operations centers. Technologies in these centers, in field equipment, and in vehicles all serve important functions.
Most centers continued to operate even during the blackout due to backup power systems. Most field equipment failed, however. Most technology in vehicles worked, but was not always received in centers. Communication requires old and new technologies to transmit voice messages and to transmit digital data via fiber optics and wireless modes.
Old technologies include the telephones, radio and television, printed material, facsimile machines, two-way radios, amateur radio, and people in the field. In many cases these old technologies performed better than newer technologies in emergency situations. For example, the telephone system is less reliant on electricity. A fax vendor from outside of the region continued to operate. Ham radio operators usually have redundant systems. Agency staff served as messengers. During the blackout, many TV and radio stations lost power.
Newer technologies include cellular telephones, long-distance walkie talkies, electronic mail, two-way pagers with text messaging, and satellite telephones. During the blackout, some of these newer technologies did not work. Cell towers only had four to six hours of backup power and many circuits became overloaded. There was no power to recharge batteries and some e-mail servers were not connected to backup systems. Satellite phones did not operate in many areas.
The experience with recent emergencies highlights the need for the use of multiple technologies. It is also important to understand the limitations of existing technologies and to plan for failure. Eliminating the single points of failure is also important. Finally, investigating evolving technologies should be an ongoing effort. Establishing a communications plan and investigating the use of government systems should also be considered.
The study identified a number of proposed actions. Those relating to TOCs included establishing mobile and virtual centers, increasing backup power for centers, and eliminating single points of failure. Ensuring backup power for air conditioning, security systems, central phone systems, Internet servers, and outlets for battery chargers was recommended.
Proposed actions related to field equipment included battery backups for LED signals and for radio repeaters. Assigning generators to signals in high priority corridors was noted as important. Using city or county-wide HAR and using VMS to separate pedestrians and vehicle movement was also recommended.
The results of these actions should be a more steady flow of information for making better decisions. Providing system redundancy is important in terms of technology. Most areas do not have redundant transportation systems, such as the ferry network in the New York City area. Most areas do have school buses and other vehicles that can be used to respond to emergencies.
Key areas related to system redundancy include understanding options in your transportation system, cross-training agency personnel, and procuring multiple communication technologies. For example, the Trans-Hudson Task Force did not understand the frailty of the technology system, overestimated available communications, and overestimated backup power. Key elements of system redundancy include ensuring proper backup of utilities and fuel sources, maintaining alternative control centers, and maintaining an inventory of equipment and supplies. Experience indicates that spending resources on redundancy in terms of both personnel and infrastructure pays off in responding to an emergency.
Toll authorities provide a good example of ensuring continuity of operations in an emergency. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York State Thruway Authority, the Ohio Turnpike Commission, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey all provide good examples. These organizations are dependent on toll revenue and must be responsive to bondholders so consideration of redundant systems is part of the culture.
In conclusion, the study identified six key elements to responding to emergencies. These elements are advanced planning, training and empowering staff, establishing relationships with other agencies and groups, not taking technology for granted, investing in backup systems and redundancy, and practicing, practicing, and practicing.
John Thai, City of Anaheim, Presiding
Terrance J. Regan and Allan J. DeBlasio
U.S. Department of Transportation, Volpe Center
Terrance Regan discussed a study sponsored by the U. S. Department of Transportation ITS Joint Program Office and the FHWA Office of Operations examining transportation and security issues associated with the 2004 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Boston. He described the purpose of the study, planning for the convention and operations of the transportation system during the convention. He also highlighted some of the lessons learned.
The 2004 DNC was the first political convention since September 11, 2001. It was designated an NSSE. Security concerns presented unprecedented challenges to transportation agencies in the Boston area. Approximately 35,000 people attended the convention, including delegates, members of the media, and others.
In October 2001, the DNC sent out solicitations to host the 2004 convention. In November 2002, the DNC announced that Boston was selected as the host city. In December 2002, the City of Boston signed a contract with the DNC to host the convention at the FleetCenter. In May 2003, the convention was designated a NSSE. In December 2003 the DNC host committee began weekly meetings of the agencies involved in transportation. The convention began on July 26, 2004.
With an NSSE, the Secret Service assumes the role as the lead federal agency. The DHS Emergency Preparedness and Response teams are also involved and additional federal resources are available.
Security implications of the FleetCenter were examined and an operations plan was developed. The location of the FleetCenter impacted the freeway system, the MBTA rail and bus system, the Boston Harbor, and the air system. Agency-specific plans were also developed. Coordination among transportation agencies and coordination with security agencies were priorities.
Restrictions were implemented on portions of the freeway and roadway system during the convention, including the designation of emergency lanes in some areas. Restrictions were also implemented on the transit and commuter rail system, including closing the MBTA North Station. Restrictions were also placed on the Boston Harbor. Air restrictions included a flight ban on all non-commercial flights within 10 miles of the FleetCenter and a 30-mile ban on private aircraft, including media helicopters.
The convention and the restrictions had an effect on the transportation system. Many employers made accommodations during the convention to help reduce travel around the FleetCenter and the downtown area. There were significant reductions in traffic volumes during the convention, especially during the morning and afternoon peak periods.
The experience with the convention identified a number of lessons that may be of benefit to other areas. The key lessons learned related to security, interagency relationships, operations, communications, and technology.
The experience with the convention indicates a need to examine security considerations during the site selection process. Typically, security officials request specific outcomes and transportation agencies work to achieve these outcomes. The experience also indicated the importance of involving key decision makers early in the planning process.
It takes time to build trust and develop strong working relationships among agencies. There is a need to start early in the planning process to build these relationships. Transportation officials and security officials use different terms and approaches. There is a need to establish a common dialog. The presence of a regional leader to help bring all agencies and groups together is also important.
In terms of operations, a special event can help bring focus to an agency. Agencies can use closures of transportation elements for short-term benefits, and a special event can produce long-term benefits for daily operations.
Communicating with the public and with users of the transportation system is critical. Using numerous types of communication methods is important. The MBTA used brochures and the media to help inform riders of services changes during the convention.
Technology plays a key roll in managing traffic for special events. Operations centers can provide a base for security and operations. Technology also allows for improved monitoring of situations.
In conclusion, it is crucial to have the security and transportation officials meet early and often in the planning process for special events. While expensive and disruptive, the DNC provided a number of good future benefits to the transportation agencies involved.
New York City Department of Transportation
New York City Police Department
Mohamed Talas and Joe Wolff discussed the transportation management strategies and security measures used with the 2004 Republican National Convention (RNC) at Madison Square Garden in New York City. They highlighted the planning activities for the convention, the interagency coordination efforts, and operations during the convention.
There are some 8 million residents in the New York City area. The convention attracted some 20,000 delegates, members of the press, party officials, and other individuals. Planning for the traffic management started well in advance of the convention and involved all appropriate agencies and groups. Planning efforts focused on the transportation and security needs of the convention and maintaining mobility for residents.
The New York City's ATMS includes a number of elements. These elements include 11,600 signalized intersections, 3,000 sensors, 80 VMS, and 255 CCTV locations. In addition, TRANSCOM is the regional transportation management system for the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut regions. It provides real-time traffic monitoring and reporting capabilities in the region. Information from TRANSCOM was used during the convention. In addition, real-time traffic maps for the area impacted by the convention were updated every 15 minutes.
The RNC traffic mitigation plan included a number of components. The planning task force included representatives from the New York City Department of Transportation, the New York Police Department (NYPD), and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Coordination with local and regional agencies was also critical. The traffic monitoring elements included the use of CCTV and traffic flow maps for highways and the midtown street system. The motorist notification elements used VMS and portable VMS, HAR, and the media. The traffic flow mitigation element focused on traffic signal timing strategies and road closures. Finally, a field command van was used during the RNC to coordinate efforts.
CCTVs were located at strategic points in midtown Manhattan around Madison Square Garden. In addition to the fixed VMS in the city, portable VMS were deployed at strategic points to help notify motorists of changes in advance of the convention and to manage traffic during the convention.
The primary mission of the NYPD during the RNC was to provide safe and efficient transportation for 18,000 to 20,000 delegates, donors, and guests to and from the convention center. Accomplishing this mission included a number of key elements. First was the early preparation of the area around the convention center, including closures prior to the convention for security enhancements. Hotel zones for transportation purposes were established, as were staging areas for buses. Bus and motorcade routes, including dedicated lanes for RNC traffic, were established. There were limited entry points into the safety zone, and drop-off and pick-up locations in and around the safety zone were established. Minimum street closures were used.
The NYPD has a well-established relationship with other law enforcement agencies, public and private transportation agencies and organizations, public and private security organizations, and the state and city departments of transportation. These relationships provided a strong base for coordination during the RNC.
Five delegate hotel zones, involving 40 hotels, were established. The majority of these hotels were in midtown, with a few in lower Manhattan. A total of 31 locations were designated for pick-up service. Each zone was serviced by approximately 50 buses. Some 360 trips were needed to transport the 18,000 to 20,000 delegates, donors, and guests. Dedicated bus routes were established to serve the delegates. These routes utilized double cone lanes opposite the normal city bus lanes.
Street closures were kept to a minimum. The streets surrounding Madison Square Garden were blocked off at all times, while other streets were restricted only during the sessions. The CCTV system was used to monitor activity.
Contingency plans were also developed. Police officers maintained contact with transportation supervisors and directed drivers to pre-designated primary, secondary, and tertiary routes. Police officers were also prepared and authorized to implement additional emergency plans. Other elements of the contingency plans included extra buses, pre-staged tow trucks, and sanitation sweepers on standby. Experienced department of transportation personnel were also strategically located to respond to disabled or obstructed buses and other situations.
The successful operation of the transportation and traffic management elements during the RNC represents the coordinated efforts of many agencies. In addition to the New York City Department of Transportation and NYPD, the New York State Department of Transportation, FHWA, the I-95 Corridor Coalition, local and regional agencies, TRANSCOM, the Connecticut Department of Transportation, and the New Jersey State Police and Department of Transportation all played important roles.