Improving Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management Capabilities in Transportation--Year 2

While disaster preparedness and emergency management capabilities have had a high public profile during the current decade, Hurricane Katrina in late 2005 revealed serious weaknesses in the United States' emergency re¬sponse capabilities. There is thus much left to do if the full purposes of the consolidation of agencies into the Department of Homeland Security and of parallel development efforts carried out by other levels of government are to be achieved. This research will examine whether and how one significant functional area - surface transportation - is developing the capabilities necessary to fit effectively into the comprehensive, integrated emergency management system that the United States is committed to developing. Following earlier work on terrorism preparedness and emergency evacuation, the proposed study will focus specifically on implementation in transportation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a Congressionally-mandated national template for coordinated organization, operational command, and implementation of response. This system is useful for emergency management situations that because of scale must cut across work group, agency, or functional boundaries. The project will conduct empirical research in several major metropolitan areas and the federal government, thus looking at this issue from national, state, and local perspectives, with significant concentration on the linkages between these levels of government. The proposed extension of the current study will examine whether transportation is effectively implementing the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a Congressionally-mandated national template for coordinated organization, operational command, and implementation of response. This system is useful for emergency management situations that because of scale must cut across work group, agency, or functional boundaries.