Sustain ITS network operations and interagency communications during emergencies by ensuring provisions for alternate power supply and telecommunications services.
Experience nationwide with responding to catastrophic events
New York City,New York,United States; Michigan,United States; Ohio,United States; Washington,District of Columbia,United States; Baltimore,Maryland,United States; Northridge,California,United States
- Provide information on decisions regarding when and how to open or restrict facilities
- Provide a mechanism by which information can be transferred to other public and private agencies involved in the response
- Provide a way to inform the public about the status of the transportation system.
- Ensure sustainable operations of transportation technologies at times of emergencies. Agencies should consider the availability power supply and other needs of equipment during the purchasing process and should provide for backup power whenever feasible. Sustainability in a crisis is of particular importance for communications technology that can communicate information both within the agency, such as e-mail systems, and to the public, such as VMS. As many agencies discovered during the 2003 blackout, advanced technology is vulnerable to the loss of power at any point along the information chain, from equipment in the field to the control centers. One official in the Great Lakes region commented that without power, ITS data “go right in the wastebasket, during a time when you could ultimately use it the most.”
- Identify priority ITS technology networks and provide them with backup power supply. As agencies incorporate ITS equipment into their daily operations activities, it is important to identify those parts of the ITS network that should be capable of operating during a blackout or other emergency situation, and allocate capital and operating funds to maintain backup power supply in those parts of the system. Agencies should insulate their communications equipment from failure by installing backup power supply sources—generators or batteries—where appropriate.
- Avoid failure in your emergency telecommunications links by implementing both the wire-line and wireless services. Each of the events studied included different failures of communications technology. During the 2003 blackout, the plain old telephone system proved to be the most reliable form of communications technology, as cell phones, cell phone towers, radio repeaters, and Internet connections failed due to a loss of electrical power. In contrast, landline telephones were knocked out of service during the first hours of the Northridge earthquake as telephone switching centers shut down because of the high percentage of receivers knocked off the hook by the vibrations and aftershocks. Communication problems involved both dealing with technology failures, as well as disseminating informed, timely information within an agency, among agencies, and to the general public. Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) and the Wireless Priority Service (WPS) are two government sponsored priority communications systems that provide pre-approved users with priority routing of landline (GETS) and wireless (WPS) calls during times of emergency and crisis, even during periods of peak demand.
Author: Allan J. DeBlasio et al
Published By: U.S. Department of Transportation
Source Date: May 2004
EDL Number: 14024URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib//jpodocs/repts_te//14024.htm
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