Since 2001, research has produced numerous documents and other tools for use by transportation security and emergency management planners, trainers, and operators. Much of this effort has been conducted to close a gap in planning, training, or operations as identified through after-action reports. There have been a number of events that have caused catastrophic transportation failure. These failures range from acts of nature such as flooding in the midwest and northeast in 2011, to the widespread destruction caused by hurricanes Katrina (2005), Gustav (2008), and Ike (2008). Though we are fortunate in the United States not to have recent examples of terrorist-related transportation emergencies, there have been attacks on transit systems in Moscow, London, and Madrid that provide examples of the results of such acts. Other catastrophic transportation emergencies can be attributed to infrastructure failure such as the I-35W Bridge in Minnesota; accidents such as the “MacArthur Maze” fire in California; and natural disasters such as the Northridge earthquake. Also on the catastrophic emergencies preparedness topic, on January 16, 2009, the Homeland Security Council (HSC) Interagency Policy Coordination Subcommittee for Preparedness and Response to Radiological and Nuclear Threats released Planning Guidance for Response to a Nuclear Detonation to provide emergency planners with nuclear detonation-specific response recommendations to maximize the preservation of life in the event of an urban nuclear detonation. The target audiences for the HSC guidance are response planners (including transportation planners) and their leadership. Despite all the emergency situations, lessons learned, research, and documentation, however, there is still a gap in preparing transportation agency executives and senior leaders for their roles during a catastrophic event, particularly the decision making required to initially respond to and then recover from the emergency. Research is needed to develop a Guide for preparing transportation agency executives and senior leaders before and during a catastrophic emergency involving transportation systems or other emergencies in which transportation systems are affected.
The objective of this research is to develop a Guide for preparing transportation agency executives and senior leaders for their roles and decision points in response to and recovery from catastrophic emergencies, including those in which transportation systems are affected.
Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.
(1). Analyze, describe, and critique pertinent domestic and international research, on the basis of applicability, conclusiveness of findings, and usefulness for managing catastrophic transportation emergencies. Include completed research and research currently underway. Review research studies, lessons learned documents, and other publications from a wide range of catastrophic emergencies (e.g., fire, flood, tornado, infrastructure failure, hurricane, vehicle crash, chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear/explosive (CBRNE) events) to: (a) determine the impact on transportation systems (e.g., did the emergency cause a transportation system catastrophic emergency or did the catastrophic emergency negatively affect transportation systems); (b) identify the decisions that transportation agency senior executives/leaders/decision makers might have to make during a transportation system catastrophic emergency and during a catastrophic emergency that affects the transportation system; and (c) describe the interactions that transportation agency senior executives/leaders/decision makers can expect to have with other agencies during a transportation system catastrophic emergency and during a catastrophic emergency that affects the transportation system. (2). Conduct a review of current transportation practices related to preparing senior executives for their role in managing catastrophic transportation emergencies. Review relevant practice, performance data, research findings, and other information related to the senior executive’s role in managing catastrophic transportation emergencies. (3). Develop a detailed outline for the Guide. (4). Prepare an interim report summarizing the results of Tasks 1 through 3 for review by the NCHRP project panel. The interim report should provide an updated work plan for the remaining tasks.
(5). Using the information obtained during the Phase I research, develop the Guide that includes (but is not limited to): (a) an overview of the need for senior executives/leaders/decision makers to be involved in preparing their agencies as the “face” of their organizations to the public and within the response and recovery communities; (b) appropriate charts, diagrams, and explanations that show what the federal response organization at the state level is expected to look like and the points of interaction that a transportation executive/senior leader might have within that organization; (c) a matrix of transportation system catastrophic emergencies and catastrophic emergencies that affect the transportation system and the strategic decisions normally required by transportation agency senior executives/leaders/decision makers during the event; and (d) a one- or two-page document keyed to each decision and emergency that offers the decision maker response and recovery options to consider, generic state and federal points of contact, and generic state and federal resources that might be available (and what is required to obtain them). This document could be in the form of a template that can be filled in as appropriate by each user. In addition, prepare a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation that provides a summary of the research conducted and the contents of the Guide.