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Transportation during and after Hurricane Sandy.
  • Published Date:
    2012-11-01
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-2.01 MB]


Details:
  • Resource Type:
  • Geographical Coverage:
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  • Abstract:
    "Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the strengths and limits of the transportation infrastructure in New York City and the surrounding region. As a result of the timely and thorough preparations by New York City and the MTA, along with the actions of city residents and emergency workers to evacuate and adapt, the storm wrought far fewer casualties than might have occurred otherwise.

    The MTA and New York City Police Department, Departments of Transportation, Environmental Protection, and Sanitation worked quickly to pump water out of tunnels, repair infrastructure, enforce bus lanes, and clear debris. They also informed riders of service updates and the status of infrastructure, particularly with up-to-date maps, photos and videos provided by the MTA. The experience of Hurricane Sandy reinforced the importance of having multiple modes of transportation in the New York Region: subways, buses, bridges and tunnels, ferries as well as commuter rail systems in moving people in, through and out of the New York City and surrounding region.

    Hurricane Sandy also highlighted key investments and policies that should be considered to assure the viability of our infrastructure during future disasters:

    • Install backup power for subway pumps

    • Consider the use of porous pavement for streets in flood-prone areas

    • Locate building generators and fuel sources in flood prone areas on higher floors

    Hurricane Sandy and its impact on transportation also provided a timely message to all New Yorkers that public transportation is essential to the economic and social well being of the people who live, work and visit here. During and after the storm, New Yorkers displayed impressive inventiveness to maintain their mobility. Individuals created new routes and combinations of modes to get to work, using a variety of systems: bus shuttles, bikes, shared vehicles with strangers, ferries, alternate work sites, and telecommuting. According to a survey conducted as part of this research, commuters suffered from the storm’s transportation damage. Those who returned to work on November 1st and 2nd saw their typical commuting times double or triple, and reported high levels of frustration. But several discovered new methods of commuting, and others shared their workspaces. The importance of social media was also highlighted as an essential source of information for many residents lacking television service, but able to receive information on smartphones.

    While transportation stoppages would have crippled other cities, New York was able to provide alternative services, and those residents who lived outside the severely damaged areas of the Rockaways, southern Brooklyn, and the south shore of Staten Island creatively adapted to conduct business, though under new constraints and conditions. It is this remarkable blend of ingenuity and persistence in the face of disaster that truly characterizes New Yorkers’ behavior with regard to transportation."

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