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

The terrorist attack events of 9/11 in both New York City and Washington, DC, involved the evacuation of pedestrians. To move the evacuees out of the cities, public transit played a significant role; in addition, people also walked home. According to Saving City Lifelines: Lessons Learned in the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, “thousands walked uptown or across the bridges that had been closed to vehicle traffic.”

The Metro Magazine article “Transit Steps Up Security” reported: “When the Pentagon was hit, transit authorities in Washington, DC, moved into high gear. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority promptly shuttled back out of the city the 200,000 people that just came in. Train service was stopped over the river and to the Pentagon and nearby airports. Bus drivers worked overtime and picked up people walking along the street who had no other means of transportation. ‘Employees felt compelled to stay in service without any direction,’ says Chief Safety Officer Fred Goodine. ‘And not one passenger acted out.’”

According to Effects of Catastrophic Events on Transportation System Management and Operations: August 2003 Northeast Blackout New York City, transit operations were impacted with the loss of power during the blackout: “Between 4:20 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., both New York City Transit and Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation crews began the process of shutting down their systems and evacuating their passengers. This included making sure that power was disconnected to all third rails to ensure the safety of passengers walking along the tracks in the event that power was restored during the evacuation. The decision to shut down a transit system, evacuate the passengers, and then restore service can be extremely complicated and time consuming.”

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