Double the Trouble: A Playbook for COVID-19 and Evacuations

Authors: Stephen Wong, PhD, Jacquelyn Broader, Adam Cohen, Susan Shahen, PhD Date: February 1, 2021 Abstract: Evacuation and response plans require thoughtful strategies that build mandatory evacuation order compliance, reduce vehicular congestion, and increase social equity for disadvantaged populations. However, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic coincided with a series of devastating disasters in 2020 that have required mass evacuations, leading to several new compounding effects (i.e., “double the trouble”). Strategies typically used in evacuations (e.g., high-capacity vehicles and public congregate shelters) and movements of people (e.g., evacuees, first responders, and volunteers) could increase the risk of COVID-19 spread and exposure. Moreover, disadvantaged populations who are already disproportionately impacted by disasters and COVID-19 separately could face new challenges in dual crises. To address these new and growing challenges, this playbook employs insights from case studies (n=12), survey data of individuals impacted by public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events (n=210), and expert interviews (n=17). Using these data, the playbook: (i) shares recent lessons learned from case studies of compounding disasters during the pandemic; (ii) offers a primer for the potential compounding impact of PSPS events and disasters; (iii) highlights current considerations in the emergency management and evacuation fields; and (iv) provides a series of actionable checklists to address COVID-19 and a compounding disaster. Relevant stakeholders in disasters and evacuations that should use this playbook include public agencies, first responders, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, private mobility companies, public health facilities, and other evacuation stakeholders. The playbook can be adapted for multiple hazards, different local contexts, various agency types, and future pandemics. View...
How COVID Could Change the Bay Area For All of Us

How COVID Could Change the Bay Area For All of Us

Bay Curious, February 11, 2020 A year into the coronavirus pandemic there’s hope on the horizon. It’s too soon to know the lasting impacts on the Bay Area, but we asked experts in mental health, transportation and education to try and predict what we might expect in our day-to-day lives as we slowly emerge from this crisis. … Listen to the full podcast episode...

Public Transit and Shared Mobility COVID-19 Recovery: Policy Recommendations and Research Needs

Authors: Susan Shaheen, Stephen Wong Date: December 1, 2020 Abstract: While the COVID-19 crisis has devastated many public transit and shared mobility services, it has also exposed underlying issues in how these services are provided to society. As ridership drops and revenues decline, many public and private providers may respond by cutting service or reducing vehicle maintenance to save costs. As a result, those who depend on public transit and shared mobility services, particularly those without access to private automobiles, will experience further loss of their mobility. These transportation shifts will be further influenced by changing work-from-home policies (e.g., telework). While uncertainty remains, work-from-home will likely alter public transit and shared mobility needs and patterns, necessitating different services, operation plans, and business structures. View...

Covid has spurred a bike boom, but most U.S. cities aren’t ready for it

Natalie Zhang, December 8, 2020 Bikes have been a hot ticket item during the Covid pandemic. In early 2020, bike stores struggled to keep up with the demand. Bicycle sales reached $1 billion in April, an increase of 75 percent from the previous year, according to market research company NPD Group. Major U.S. cities even adjusted to the demand. They temporarily closed streets to give residents more room to travel and restaurants more curbside room while maintaining a social distance. In some cities like Seattle, it has led to a permanent move toward more bicycle-friendly streets. With more bikes on road — along with more mopeds, scooters and motorcycles — transportation experts say this moment appears prime for a transit upheaval. … Watch the full video.  ...