Crisis Management in Transportation: Building Capacity Through Exercises

This project will examine the experience of transit and highway agencies in five major cities and metropolitan areas in using exercises and drills as a form of preparedness for severe emergencies. Major disasters occur in a given city or metropolitan area so infrequently that most senior agency managers never experience them, or they confront such events, at most, a few times in a professional lifetime. From a managerial viewpoint, this means that unlike most other professional skills, excellence in disaster management is typically not achieved through actual experience but rather through contingency planning, formal education and training, and, quite significantly, exercises and drills. In preparing for a major disaster, therefore, a given jurisdiction must depend heavily on exercises and drills as a principal means for (a) inculcating key disaster response skills in individuals, (b) developing organizational capabilities, (c) testing the system to see whether it works functionally and as an integrated whole, (d) practicing response to a range of scenarios that might be experienced in reality, and (e) preparing the public for its role in case of calamity. Through original, on-site interviews and other forms of data collection, this research will look carefully at how both transit and highway agencies are currently using these training methods to prepare their organizations and personnel for potential disaster situations and become more proficient in emergency response skills. It will also examine the degree to which transportation agencies have been able to use exercises and drills to become more integrated into a comprehensive emergency management system that reaches across agency, jurisdictional, and level-of-government boundaries. This study of how transportation systems prepare for disaster situations is well-aligned with the NEUTC's theme - strategic management of disruptive change in transportation systems, specifically the focus on disruptive environments - and with the research priorities of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal highway Administration (FHWA).


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Performing Organizations:

      Harvard University

      Kennedy School of Government, 79 JFK Street
      Cambridge, MA  United States  02138-0000
    • Principal Investigators:

      Howitt, Arnold

    • Start Date: 20091101
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20110831
    • Source Data: RiP Project 24552

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01480761
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0001, HVDR22-12
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: May 7 2013 1:01AM