Improving Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management Capabilities in Transportation

Despite the heightened attention disaster preparedness and emergency management have received over the past decade, serious weaknesses in the United States’ emergency response capabilities remain at all levels of government and across a wide range of functional areas (as evidenced, perhaps most vividly and tragically, in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina). Through the UTC 19 project Improving Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management Capabilities in Transportation, a Harvard Kennedy School research team has thus examined the progress one such functional area – surface transportation – has made in the past several years with improving its preparedness and response capabilities and with integrating itself into the broader comprehensive emergency management system that the United States has committed itself to developing in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and then again following Hurricane Katrina. The principal focus of this work was on emergency evacuation under conditions of natural disaster. Given the important role surface transportation plays in evacuating residents away from (and bringing responders to) the scene of an emergency – and given the fundamental problems Hurricanes Katrina and Rita revealed in 2005 regarding evacuation readiness along the Gulf Coast and at the national level – the team focused its research on examining whether and how major metropolitan areas across the country are working to improve their capacities to adequately plan for and effectively execute mass evacuations in preparation for future large-scale emergencies.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Harvard University

    Cambridge, MA  United States  02138

    New England University Transportation Center

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 40-279
    Cambridge, MA  United States  01239
  • Authors:
    • Howitt, Arnold M
  • Publication Date: 2009-11-30


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Pagination: 3p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01152818
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HVDR 19-8
  • Files: UTC, NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 16 2010 10:03AM