The National Academies

TCRP J-05/Topic 19-05 [Pending]

Legal Issues Surrounding Disasters and Evacuations
[ TCRP J-05 (Legal Aspects of Transit and Intermodal Transportation Programs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Contract Time: 12 months
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith
Comments: Pending



Facing increasing incidents of natural disasters, transit agencies are forced to address issues of resilience, evacuation, and recovery associated with those disasters. These issues are compounded by transit’s prominence in emergency planning, which are charged with evacuating threatened populations within their service areas as well as those of other agencies under cooperative scenarios. Agencies must be prepared to execute emergency operations while simultaneously preserving their remaining equipment and infrastructure to facilitate recovery.




The objectives of this research are to identify and address legal issues related to:

  • Planning processes at the federal, state, and local levels;
  • Resilience planning;
  • Anticipation of equipment, supplies, and personnel needs within any response scenario;
  • Cooperation and planning for cross agency and cross jurisdictional support;
  • Cross jurisdictional issues related to evacuation from the agency service area;
  • Cross jurisdictional issues related to cooperative evacuation operations in other service areas or even states;
  • The authority to undertake extended operations whether in an agency’s own service area or another’s;
  • Liability issues related to non-traditional operations, particularly in support of other agencies (including pets, livestock, non-local movement);
  • Authority to expend funds in these operations; and
  • Insurance for equipment used in evacuations, facilities subject to disaster damage, and personnel.

 Status: In Contract Negotiations.

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