Develop an effective evacuation plan for special event that gathers a large audience and consider co-locating the responding agencies in a joint command center.

Experience from iFlorida Model Deployment

Florida; United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

An activity funded as part of the iFlorida Model Deployment was the development of an emergency evacuation plan for the Daytona International Speedway. This section of the report summarizes the results of that activity. Each year, about 500,000 visitors come to the Daytona Beach area during Speedweek, a two-week period of racing in February that culminates in the Daytona 500. In addition, the Pepsi 400, hosted on July 4th weekend, attracts over 200,000 visitors.

With so many people attending Speedway events, concerns existed about whether the Speedway could be efficiently evacuated if an event occurred. These concerns were increased because, in 2004, the Speedway was in the process of a significant remodeling of the Speedway infield area. These changes necessitated an updated evacuation plan for the Speedway.
The ITS infrastructure near the Speedway that supported traffic leaving the Speedway during an evacuation was also changing. Prior to the 2003, there was already close coordination between the Speedway and nearby transportation agencies-particularly, FDOT D5, Volusia County, the City of Daytona Beach, and the FHP-to manage traffic entering and exiting the Speedway. Volusia County and the City of Daytona Beach would modify signal timings to accommodate higher traffic flows towards the Speedway before a race and away from it afterwards. FDOT staff would stay at the Daytona Beach TMC to coordinate between the City of Daytona Beach, local law enforcement, FHP, and Road Rangers, and D5 would use its traffic management resources (e.g., 511, DMS) to help monitor and improve traffic flow.

During the period when the iFlorida infrastructure was being deployed, a significant expansion in ITS infrastructure near the Speedway was taking place. Traffic monitoring devices and DMSs were being installed on both I-4 and I-95 near the Speedway, and trailblazer signs were being deployed at a number of key intersections on arterials that might carry traffic during a Speedway evacuation or when an incident occurred on I-4 or I-95 near the Speedway. (See Source, Figure 139 shows the locations of the dynamic message and trailblazer signs in the area around the Speedway.) The development of the new Speedway evacuation plan provided an opportunity for the nearby transportation agencies to update their plans on how to use available resources to best manage Speedway traffic. A new emergency evacuation plan was developed focusing primarily on evacuating spectators off the property and onto the roads. The plan included the following components:
  • A concept of operations that described the organizations involved in an evacuation and their responsibilities as well as the relationship of the Speedway evacuation plan to other emergency plans and facilities.
  • Pre-planned pedestrian evacuation routes for all sections of the facility, with assignment of responsibility to uniformed public safety personnel and vested event staff as necessary to direct evacuees to safety.
  • Recommended public information and emergency instructions regarding the evacuation process.
A review of the plan identified the following key elements within it:
  • Establish a joint command center. In order to evacuate attendees, a number of jurisdictions and organizations would need to be involved. The Speedway would need to direct attendees to their vehicles and manage traffic exiting parking facilities. The City of Daytona Beach and Volusia County would need to modify signal timings and police the evacuating traffic. FDOT and FHP would need to manage traffic on I-4 and I-95. Coordination of these activities would be simplified from a joint command center.
  • Identify a route for ingress and egress of emergency response personnel. The Speedway evacuation plan designated a route linking the Speedway with the nearby Halifax Medical Center. This emergency ingress/egress route could be used for entry by emergency response personnel and for evacuation of injured to the medical center. It did not cross any pre-planned evacuation route to avoid conflicts between pedestrian evacuees and emergency service vehicles.
  • Identify an off-site staging area for emergency response personnel. The plan identified a strategic off-site location to which supplemental response personnel would initially respond, and located this area on the emergency ingress/egress route.
  • Establish pedestrian evacuation routes and procedures for managing pedestrian traffic on these routes. The plan established pedestrian evacuation routes, so that attendees could make it to their vehicles. Attendees would be expected to walk to their vehicles in a direction away from or around the evacuated area. Once in their vehicles, evacuees would be directed to drive out of the area, away from or around the evacuated area.
  • Establish evacuation routes and procedures for managing vehicular traffic on local and state routes evacuating the Speedway area. Once vehicles departed from the available parking areas, traffic management services would be provided by the City, County and State, using currently established procedures and facilities.
  • Review and update the evacuation plans annually. To accommodate changes that might occur either at the Speedway or in the local transportation network, the evacuation plans should be reviewed on an annual basis. It was recommended that a table top exercise be conducted biannually to help determine if modifications or enhancements are needed.
Although no Speedway evacuations occurred during the iFlorida project evaluation period, one event did occur that emulated some of the traffic disruption that might take place during a Speedway evacuation. On February 18, 2007, following a race at the Speedway, a motorist on I-4 was shot and killed and I-4 was closed for several hours during the investigation. The shooting occurred about one half mile east of the SR 44 exit on I-4, preventing all traffic from using I-4 to exit the Speedway. FDOT responded by changing DMS and trailblazer messages to establish detours on nearby arterials. The extensive signing helped drivers find and follow these alternate routes. FDOT also used its 511 system to provide information to travelers.

The Speedway management reported to FDOT that it had received numerous comments from Speedway attendees regarding the usefulness of the roadside signs in helping them find their way during this event. The incident made it clear that the emergency evaluation plan was useful improving the mobility and efficiency of the transportation network in an emergency situation.

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iFlorida Model Deployment Final Evaluation Report

Author: Robert Haas (SAC); Mark Carter (SAIC); Eric Perry (SAIC); Jeff Trombly (SAIC); Elisabeth Bedsole (SAIC): Rich Margiotta (Cambridge Systematics)

Published By: United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590

Source Date: 01/30/2009

EDL Number: 14480

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/3977

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Lesson of the Month for December, 2009 !

Lessons From This Source

Assess security risks, threats, vulnerabilities, and identify countermeasures to ensure operations of transportation management centers.

Be flexible to use data from various sources, such as the highway police patrol’s incident data, user feedback, and monitoring stations, to develop a statewide traveler information system.

Beware of challenges involved in developing an integrated statewide operations system for traffic monitoring, incident data capture, weather information, and traveler information—all seamlessly controlled by a central software system.

Beware of costs, utility, reliability, and maintenance issues in deploying a statewide transportation network monitoring system.

Beware of the limitations of using toll tags in order to calculate travel time on limited access roadways and arterials.

Beware that software development for ITS projects can be utterly complex, which demands avoiding pitfalls by following a rigorous systems engineering process.

Define a vision for software operations upfront and follow sound systems engineering practices for successfully deploying a complex software system.

Deploy a variable speed limit system only after the software systems required to support it are mature and reliable.

Design traffic video transmission systems around the constraints of bandwidth limitations and provide provisions for remote configuration of video compression hardware.

Develop an accurate, map-based fiber network inventory and engage ITS team in the construction approval process.

Develop an effective evacuation plan for special event that gathers a large audience and consider co-locating the responding agencies in a joint command center.

Ensure compatibility of data format of the field-weather monitoring sensors with the central software in the transportation management center.

Ensure that experienced staff oversee the development of a complex software system and thoroughly follow systems engineering process.

Ensure that Highway Patrol's CAD system operators enter key information needed by the transportation management center operators.

Establish a well defined process for monitoring and maintenance before expanding the base of field equipment.

Estimate life-cycle cost of ITS technologies as part of procurement estimates in order to assess the range of yearly maintenance costs.

In developing software for automated posting of messages on dynamic message signs, focus on the types of messages that are used often and changed frequently, and also include manual methods for posting.

Incorporate diagnostic tools to identify and verify problems in the transmission of video in a transit bus security system.

Perform adequate analyses and tests to design, calibrate and validate the capabilities of a bridge security monitoring system in order to reduce false alarms.

To support statewide traveler information services, design and implement reliable interface software processes to capture incident data from the local and highway patrol police’s computer aided dispatch systems.

Use simple menu choices for 511 traveler information and realize that the majority of callers are seeking en route information while already encountering congestion.

Lesson ID: 2009-00507