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: $50,000
Contract Time: 12 months
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith
Comments: In Development.

The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) plans to award a contract for a study and report. Legal research reports sponsored by this project are published in TCRP's Legal Research Digest (LRD) series in electronic format. Publications are made available to some libraries and to approximately 4,000 transportation lawyers and officials through the TRB distribution network.
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 the important role of transit in emergency planning, including the evacuation of 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.
This research will be conducted in two (2) phases. Phase I will consist of Task 1. As the conclusion of Phase I, TRB will make a determination whether to proceed with Phase II. Both phases will be pursuant to a firm fixed price agreement.
Phase I                        4 months
Phase II                       8 months
Total:                          12 months
The tasks will be as follows:
Task 1. Research plan and detailed report outline. The consultant will conduct background research and collect relevant material. Based on the initial but complete review of the source material, consultant will propose a detailed report outline. The outline should be at least 8 to12 pages, include a proposed survey if one is to be used, and contain sufficient detail to inform the TCRP project panel of what a 75- to 100-page report will contain. This outline should also contain the estimated pagination for each proposed section and/or subsection. This material will be submitted to TCRP for consideration and approval.
Task 2. After approval of the work plan, the consultant should conduct additional research, and case and statutory/regulatory analysis.
Task 3. Draft report in accordance with the approved work plan (including modifications required by TCRP).
Task 4. Revise report as necessary. The consultant should estimate that two revisions will be necessary. One revision may be required after review by the TCRP staff and members of a select subcommittee. Additional revisions may be required after the full committee has reviewed the report.

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