Local and regional governments require information on the types, quantities, and locations of hazardous materials being transported through their jurisdictions to plan for effective and appropriate emergency response to incidents. Although the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) provides a detailed handbook (Guidance for Conducting Hazardous Materials Flow Surveys, January 1995) for local governments to use in conducting highway commodity flow studies, local planners often do not have access to reliable and comprehensive data on the flow of hazardous materials within their jurisdictions. By and large, existing data sources are too broad, covering flows at the national level and to a limited extent the state level. More detailed data involving all modes of transportation are required by local and regional governments when making decisions about hazardous materials training and emergency response preparedness.
The objective of this project is to produce an updated, user-friendly guidebook for conducting hazardous materials commodity flow surveys to support local risk assessment, emergency response preparedness, and resource allocation and to support analyses across jurisdictional boundaries. This guidebook should be targeted at transportation planning and operations staff at the local and regional levels, as well as local and regional personnel involved in hazardous materials training, and emergency response. All modes of transportation, all classes and divisions of hazardous materials, and the effects of seasonality on hazardous materials movements should be discussed.
The guidebook should explain data collection methodologies to obtain hazardous materials data at the local level (from public and private sources) and identify methods that can be used by local and regional planners to identify and estimate hazardous materials flows in their jurisdictions. The hazardous materials data obtained through the methods discussed in the guidebook must be transparent and clearly understood by both novice and advanced users. The guidebook should explain how existing datasets can be used in isolation or can be combined with other datasets or statistical methods to estimate hazardous materials commodity flows at different levels of specificity.
The guidebook produced as part of this project should include a resource guide to information related to hazardous materials commodity flows from existing local, state, and regional hazardous materials commodity flow surveys and related materials. In addition, the guidebook should propose a framework for developing and implementing a centralized directory/repository of local, state, and regional hazardous materials commodity flow surveys.