Hazards Planning Research Center

Evacuation Planning

The ability to evacuate large numbers of people from a community threatened by disaster, typically either a hurricane or severe flooding, is in large part a function of the adequacy of the local and regional transportation systems. This is not just a matter of roads and bridges, but also of public transit and special arrangements for more vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, the disabled, and those too poor to own a car. This is a subject that should be addressed in both the comprehensive plan transportation element and special functional plans for transportation, as well as any area plans for specific highly affected neighborhoods.

Thus, although often seen as the special purview of emergency managers, in cities where such plans are essential to survival for large portions of the population, evacuation planning should be among the concerns of local planners as well and a consideration in the development of transportation infrastructure.

The Hazards Planning Research Center has addressed this question through its work on the forthcoming PAS Report, Integrating Hazard Mitigation into Local Planning. Funded by FEMA, this project examined best practices in how communities integrate hazard mitigation into all aspects of the planning process, including transportation planning. Six case studies in the report include consideration of this issue in most cases.