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Transportation Operations During Biohazard Situations

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The events of September 11, 2001, marked a distinct change in how transportation agencies plan for emergency events. Prior to then, transportation agencies focused on their role during weather-related incidents such as snowstorms, floods, and hurricanes. Since then, however, transportation agencies have shifted their attention to the wide range of potential man-made accidents and malevolent events, including terrorist strikes that could occur without notice and that would require immediate, coordinated response efforts concurrent to accident, law enforcement, or national security investigations. One type of incident trigger – a biohazard emergency – presents transportation challenges that are potentially even greater than those posed by a large-scale evacuation. A biohazard release could simultaneously require both restricting and facilitating mobility of those affected. The Application of Technology to Transportation Operations in Biohazard Situations project provides a more comprehensive and actionable understanding of the role of transportation during a biohazard event so that communities can better plan for, respond to, and recover from such a situation. The following documents were developed as part of this project:

 

Applications of Technology to Transportation in Biohazard Situations (Final Report) – This December 2005 report includes recommended practices and additional research needs that were identified as part of this project. The report includes the following sections:

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Executive Summary

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Background and Purpose

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Recommended Practices

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Additional Research Needs

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Applications of Technology to Transportation in Biohazard Situations (Literature Review) – This May 2005 document summarizes the literature review conducted as part of this project and draws upon background information on biohazards and biohazard events. It includes documents describing the role of transportation during a biohazard event, and current plans, guidance, and analytical tools for transportation response to biohazard events.

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Applications of Technology to Transportation in Biohazard Situations (Transportation Biohazard Operational Concept) – This August 2005 report supports the efforts of State DOTs in defining their organizational structure, roles and responsibilities, processes and policies for managing a biohazard event. The operational concept clarifies the transportation functions to be performed during a biohazard situation by specifying the processes through which these functions are accomplished.

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Applications of Technology to Transportation in Biohazard Situations (Transportation Activities and Applications of Technology) – This November 2005 report provides functional requirements and specifications for communications and ITS that would operate during and in response to a biohazard event. It also recommends a set of technologies that would be especially useful during a biohazard situation.

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Applications of Technology to Transportation in Biohazard Situations (Workshop Summary) – Summarizes the results of the July 18, 2005, workshop at the University of Wisconsin at Madison that was conducted as part of this project. This workshop was co sponsored by the USDOT's ITS Joint Program Office.

In addition to these documents the reader may wish to consult the on-line Transportation Operations During Biohazard Events Learning Tool. The Learning Tool is designed to inform transportation agencies about the potential role of transportation operations and technologies in addressing a biohazard incident and to help them improve their plans for dealing with such an incident. The Learning Tool is available at: http://www.its.dot.gov/eto/docs/transops_biohazard/learning_tool/index2.htm

Photograph of two workers in hazmat suits spraying spill from truck on highway

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