Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

4.2.5 Communication Issues

This section of the literature search addresses information found on communication. It is subdivided into communication devices, demand for travel information, difficult communication incidents, information sources, need for communication, redundancies in the system, information sharing, and communication staging.

Some of the communication issue findings include:
  • Communication is key during an evacuation incident.
  • There are multiple ways to communicate from the traditional methods of loud speakers and the canvassing of streets to high-technology cell phones with television screens that receive evacuation orders and information.
  • After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the use of transit call centers and Web sites increased from passengers seeking transit information.
  • During evacuations, communication between all parties (e.g., evacuees, the general public, and entity staff) can be difficult and problematic. People and entities have been creative in overcoming these communication problems (e.g., the use of personal cell phone calls to neighbors alerting them of the need to evacuate).
  • Some companies have emergency communication plans.
  • Information communicated during an evacuation needs to be accurate and consistent. One way to handle this is the use of a joint information center that manages the information in order to deliver a consistent message. In addition, the media will eventually become involved in the evacuation situation and can be a valuable ally.
  • Entities have redundant communication systems that can be used during an incident.
  • Information should be shared among various entities.
  • The type of evacuations (i.e., advance-warning or no-notice) impacts the type of communication issued.

February 7, 2006
Publication #FHWA–HOP-08-015