No-Notice Evacuations, Urban Form, and Environmental Injustice: An Exploratory Study

The first objective of the proposed research is to collect into one geo-referenced data system all data on chemical releases from transport. Then it will be possible to examine the geography of evacuations caused by hazardous and toxic materials releases from 1990 to 2008. Distinctions will be made between minor and serious releases. Distinctions will also be made between spills that happen on intermodal or shipping sites, those that happened off-site and in-transit, and those that happened on-site. The second objective of the study is to examine the socio-economic make-up of the groups and individuals who live next to those release and evacuation locations. In this way, it will be possible to compare whether evacuations have occurred in areas occupied primarily by groups with lower socioeconomic status both nationally and regionally in southern California. Previous research has found that releases are disproportionately located in communities of color throughout the U.S. Disproportionate impacts on Latino communities from factories, intermodal facilities, and freeways have been documented extensively throughout southern California, but as yet no studies have examined the distribution of hazardous materials spills that caused evacuations. The final objective of the study is to examine the relationships between infrastructure, land use, and the likelihood of evacuation from a hazardous materials release. Previous research on hazardous materials has established that in addition to routing variables, land use is also a strong predictor of where spills will occur. This part of the study will contribute substantially to important contemporary debates about the safety and security of proposed new freight infrastructure throughout California.