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

2.2 Plans and Practices by Region

As mentioned above, the Harvey Ball rating system is somewhat subjective. The strategy during this analysis was to review each interviewee’s response on an item-by-item basis to determine which responses most completely addressed each of the desirable plans and practices items specified above. The final Harvey Ball ratings were a reflection of how the response to a particular desirable item compared to the response that was identified as the most complete for that same desirable item.

The following summaries are based on the information that was provided in the interview responses as well as any documentation received from the interviewees regarding their agency’s emergency evacuation plans. Please see the Appendix for the final interview documents, which contain all of the questions asked and each agency’s response to those questions.

Charleston, South Carolina

The South Carolina region plans are rather comprehensive in addressing the elements identified in the list of desirable elements. These plans were developed mainly to provide a plan for evacuating the public in case of a hurricane, but some aspects of the plans can be modified to apply to different types of evacuation scenarios. The element that both plans fail to address is the role of transit agencies within each plan.

South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT)

SCDOT developed the Emergency Traffic Management Plan as part of the general South Carolina Emergency Operations Plan. This plan was developed following the events of Hurricane Floyd in 1999. This is a statewide plan developed mainly for hurricane evacuations; hence, the contraflow section deals particularly with evacuating the public away from the coast. The plan effectively addresses a majority of the desirable elements except for the subject of transit. ITS components including DMS, CCTV cameras, loop counter stations, HAR, and first responders are used in the evacuation plan. All the traffic management centers (TMCs) in South Carolina can be operated from the state traffic management center in Columbia.

South Carolina Department of Emergency Management (SCDEM)

SCDEM developed the Hurricane Response Plan. As indicated by its name, this plan pertains primarily to hurricane evacuations. However, the plan can be applied to other emergency scenarios. This plan includes an evacuation section that deals with contraflow operations. Similar to the Emergency Traffic Management Plan used by SCDOT, the Hurricane Response Plan effectively addresses many of the desirable elements except for transit. All state-of-the-practice ITS devices, including CCTV cameras, electronic message signs, and side-fire radar systems, are used. All this information is transmitted to the TMC and shared with all agencies involved in the evacuation.

Jacksonville, Florida

The emergency evacuation plans developed in the Jacksonville region pertain mainly to hurricane evacuations. Some aspects of the plans could potentially be used for other types of evacuation scenarios as well. None of the plans discussed in these interviews addressed the role of transit agencies in the emergency evacuation process.

City of Jacksonville

The City of Jacksonville operates under an emergency response plan that covers all of Duval County. The plan does not address traffic control, transit, or coordination issues among agencies in the event of an evacuation. Limited by resources, the city does not include ITS devices in its emergency response plan. Transit services in the city are provided by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, and independent state agency.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

FDOT has developed two evacuation plans. The Evacuation Route Sign Plan identifies specific evacuation routes throughout the FDOT road network, and signs each route as an evacuation route. This plan is primarily tailored to assist in evacuating people away from the coast in the event of a hurricane. The other plan is the Contraflow Plan for the Florida Highway System. This plan deals specifically with the contraflow set-up procedure. The Contraflow Plan could possibly be used in applications other than hurricane evacuation, but the Evacuation Route Sign Plan is limited in its application. CCTV cameras, VMS, HAR, 511, and a network of count stations are all used in the evacuation plan. The public has access to count station information, which helps individuals determine traffic conditions along various evacuation routes. The count station information also helps departments of transportation (DOTs) identify when and where to dispatch or scale back the appropriate services.

Phoenix, Arizona

Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT)

MCDOT and the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management jointly developed an Emergency Evacuation Strategy Plan as a template strategy for local agencies to use in developing their own plans. The second phase of the strategy plan to be completed by the end of 2006 will be more of an emergency evacuation plan tailored specifically for Maricopa County. This second phase addresses and expands upon areas identified in the first phase that are in need of more detailed planning, such as developing an inventory of existing resources, scenario analysis, an all-agency workshop, and a report on outstanding issues. The planning has also included analysis of evacuation routes, respite areas, and evacuation of special needs populations. Some of the ITS components used by the county include DMS, freeway and arterial CCTV cameras, and portable DMS. None of the region’s TMCs can currently be operated from locations other than the TMC itself.

Portland, Oregon

The Portland region operates under three emergency response plans, two of them dealing specifically with emergency evacuation. All of the region’s plans cover elements such as coordination among agencies in the event of an actual evacuation, use of the incident command system (ICS), and ability to apply the evacuation plans to various scenarios. However, the region does not address the specific roles of transit agencies in the event of an emergency evacuation. Based on the responses in the interviews, the Portland region does not spend very much time or energy executing the plans through testing or training because the likelihood of a massive natural disaster such as an earthquake, a tsunami, or a wildfire (which is what these plans are mainly designed for) is small.

City of Portland

Geographically, the City of Portland Evacuation Plan covers Portland as well as outlying areas including the tri-county area. The evacuation plan is an independent document and is not part of the general emergency plan. The city does not conduct any testing or training with regard to the evacuation plan. The plan does address coordination among agencies and establish protocols for communication with evacuees. The City of Portland owns and operates multiple ITS devices and communication systems, including CCTV cameras (sharing with ODOT), system detection, 511 system, and transit signal priority. These devices will be applied in the event of a mass evacuation.

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)

ODOT’s emergency response plan is called the Emergency Highway Regulation Plan. This plan addresses a number of key elements identified in the list of desirable elements. However, the plan does not address the role of transit agencies in the evacuation process nor coordination among the many agencies involved. There is also very little discussion about communication protocols and testing/training procedures, outcomes, or evaluations for the evacuation plan. There is discussion of the testing/training exercises conducted in the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Programs (CSEPP) at the Chemical Weapons Facility in east Oregon. ODOT has all of the state-of-the-practice ITS devices and communication systems, such as CCTV cameras, electronic message signs, HAR, statewide 511 system, ramp meters, and HOV lanes. ODOT also operates a real-time traffic condition Web site for people to obtain pre-trip traffic information. These systems will all be subject to use during evacuation as appropriate.

Oregon Emergency Management (OEM)

OEM created the State Emergency Management Plan, which is not a transportation plan. Based upon this plan, local and county jurisdictions are responsible for coordinating transportation evacuation efforts. OEM is there to provide support to local and county agencies upon request. Each county jurisdiction has its own ITS devices and control systems for evacuations.

Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet)

TriMet falls under the City of Portland Evacuation Plan. TriMet’s responsibilities during an evacuation are to coordinate with other agencies during the emergency in order to determine where or how its resources and equipment can be utilized in such a situation. Considering the City of Portland does not conduct any testing or training exercises pertaining to the evacuation plan, TriMet is not involved in any testing or training exercises. TriMet vehicles are equipped with ITS devices such as automatic vehicle location (AVL) and signal priority. These devices will function during emergency evacuation as allowed by their condition after a disaster.

San Francisco, California

Based on the interviews, the San Francisco region transportation agencies are well coordinated with regards to the various roles and responsibilities of each agency in the event of an emergency evacuation. As a result of the MTC’s planning efforts, the major transportation agencies in the San Francisco region remain up to date with emergency operations training and well informed of any changes made to the regional emergency evacuation plans.

Alameda Contra-Costa Transportation District (AC Transit)

AC Transit does not operate under any specific emergency response or evacuation plan. The agency does have agreements with other local agencies to provide assistance in the event of an emergency. AC Transit is involved in tabletop discussions pertaining to evacuation planning, but does not participate in any testing or training exercises. AC Transit is equipped with transit vehicle traffic signal priority and GPS-based AVL systems. During an evacuation, AC Transit will use these tools as requested by the emergency responders, such as California Highway Patrol (CHP) and local police.

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

BART’s emergency operations plan is independent of other regional and city emergency response plans. BART will provide resources and equipment on an as-needed basis in the event of a major emergency. Although the BART plan addresses internal coordination issues, it does not specifically address coordination issues with outside agencies in the event of an emergency. Testing/training exercises are conducted, but there is no indication as to the extent of the testing/training exercises or evaluations.


As an agency, Caltrans does not develop an emergency evacuation plan, but evacuation issues are addressed in the state emergency response plan under which Caltrans operates. Caltrans is also responsible for preparing evacuation capacity calculations, maintaining and managing evacuation routes, and maintaining and operating ITS devices in the event of an emergency evacuation. Caltrans does address the role of transit agencies in the state plan. Caltrans does not currently participate in any evacuation plan testing/training exercises. Caltrans currently owns and operates several state-of-the-practice ITS devices, including CCTV cameras, DMS, HAR, HOV lanes, and ramp metering. During evacuation, Caltrans will utilize these devices to increase highway capacity, improve evacuee information, and monitor the evacuation path.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Department of Parking and Traffic

The San Francisco MTA Department of Parking and Traffic operates under the MTA’s citywide emergency operations plan as well as the regional Trans Response Plan. Under both plans, the evacuation operations procedures effectively address nearly all of the key elements identified in the list of desirable elements. The Department of Parking and Traffic uses ITS in daily traffic operation. During an emergency, all of the available ITS devices, such as CCTV cameras and DMS, will be applied as needed to monitor and guide evacuation.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)

The MTC developed the Trans Response Plan, which is used by 12 transportation agencies in nine counties throughout the Bay area. This plan was developed specifically to coordinate the region’s transportation agencies with state and county emergency services in the event of an emergency. The plan focuses on coordination, as well as testing and training exercises and evaluations. As the region’s transportation planning agency, MTC does not own or operate any ITS devices. However, during an emergency, MTC will send staff to Caltrans, who has traffic surveillance and control devices, to collect region-wide real-time traffic information. MTC will also call for information from all the transit agencies and ferry services in the region regarding their current situation, needed resources and urgent needs, and resources that they can share. 511 staff are not part of the Caltrans emergency operations center (EOC), but Caltrans and 511 may send staff to assist each other during an emergency.

June 26, 2006
Publication #FHWA-HOP-08-016