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

5.2.2 Facilities

  1. Establish an Earthquake Planning and Implementation Center as Necessary – “Although the Traffic Management Center was able to initially deploy the freeway service patrol and serve as an emergency command center for the regional highway network, it quickly became evident that the existing Traffic Management Center could not handle all the unprecedented congestion generated by an earthquake, as it was already operating at capacity. The Traffic Management Plan recognized this, and with federal emergency relief funding of $12.6 million, implemented the Earthquake Planning and Implementation center (EPI-Center). The 2000-square-foot EPI-Center opened on April 17, 1994, and acted as a hub for many advanced technologies that facilitated the traffic management in the disaster areas.

    Connected with the Traffic Management Center, the EPI-Center is used only when an earthquake occurs to relieve some of the burden on the Traffic Management Center. The goal of the EPI-Center was to focus on communication between transportation and emergency officials and commuters, relaying important information directly to those affected. The EPI-Center was vital in coordinating the traffic management deployments and giving traffic engineers accurate and immediate information. This allowed them to make better decisions and to collect information about the changes in the traffic behavior during a disaster.”
    Effects of Catastrophic Events on Transportation System Management and Operations: Northridge Earthquake

  2. “Examine Potential Sites to Place Advanced Technology to Help Better Communicate with the Public During an Emergency – Immediately following the blackout, people tended to head for certain transportation centers without being told. One official suggested installing emergency powered signs outside of major transit hubs to better communicate transportation conditions and options when the hubs are closed.

    New York City officials are looking at the option of pre-designating certain pedestrian and vehicle routes in the case of an emergency. These routes would need to be identified and publicized alerting the public as to which route to take during an emergency.”
    Effects of Catastrophic Events on Transportation System Management and Operations: August 2003 Northeast Blackout New York City

  3. Keep Traffic Management Centers Open During the Incident, Use Alternative Power If Necessary – “The California Department of Transportation traffic management center served as the center of decision-making efforts by the traffic management teams after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Extensive traffic management capabilities were already in place on most of the major freeways well before the earthquake, including speed-monitoring loop detectors, closed circuit television, on-ramp meters, and permanently mounted variable message signs. The traffic management center used backup electrical generators for power and relied on landline telephones for primary communications.”
    Effects of Catastrophic Events on Transportation System Management and Operations: Cross-Cutting Study

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