Which Communities are the Most Evacuation Challenged?

New data can improve evacuation planning.

In a recent article by Jim McKay on Government Technology’s Emergency Management website, a new study of traffic patterns in 100 communities identified several factors that have a major impact on evacuation constraint risk.

StreetLight Data conducted the study which looked at 30,000 towns in the United States with populations under 40,000.

According to Laura Schewel, the CEO of StreetLight Data, “We decided to analyze small towns because those are the ones where you get the most horror stories and they have the most bottlenecks and the least amount of resources to deal with it.”

The StreetLight Data team developed an index that focused on a few key factors including:

  • How many total routes out of town are there?
  • On a typical day, what percentage of people take a certain route, even if other routes are available?
  • Total population

When multiple routes are available, most people choose a route out of ease of use or force of habit. Emergency managers must evaluate the likelihood of congestion on those favored routes and not assume there will be an equal traffic load on all the available routes.

The states with the most evacuation-challenged communities are:

1.    Florida (20 communities)
2.    California (14)
3.    Arizona (8)
4.    Texas (6)
5.    Washington (6)

The results of the study are available for free to government agencies.

Outside of the factors detailed in the study is the need for multiple patient transport capacity for hospital and nursing home evacuation, or picking up at-risk, homebound individuals. Many of the fatalities associated with large scale disasters that require evacuation occur among the elderly and other at-risk populations.

For more information on how the AmbuBus can give you the multiple patient transport capacity needed for these events, click here.

To read the original article on Government Technology’s Emergency Management website, click here.