SCOTSEM Managing Catastropic Transportation Emergencies



During one transportation CEO’s tenure, there were four major snowstorms, two major tornados, and a flood event spanning the longest duration in U.S. history.

Another CEO experienced the “perfect storm” in his first emergency response situation—the loss/retirement of critical experienced staff, inaccurate information, and new leadership that was not prepared—that turned a localized weather event into a statewide emergency, stranding hundreds of trucks and motorists for more than 20 hours and closing major highways for four days.

As these examples demonstrate, learning emergency response “under fire” is an all-too-common experience.

Senior executives who lead state departments of transportation (DOTs) have the responsibility of planning, delivering, operating, and maintaining a transportation network that includes over four million miles of roads serving local, regional, and national travel needs, along with many rail lines, bus and rail transit systems, ferries, ports, and waterways.

An agency’s emergency preparedness capabilities—preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a major event—are critical to safe and efficient operation of the nation’s transportation network.

Operations Area of Practice

  • Active Traffic Management (ATM)
  • Planning for Operations
  • Strategic Planning
  • TSMO Culture

Organizational Capability Element

  • Performance Management
  • Procurement
  • Active Traffic Management/Travel Demand Management/Pricing
  • Emergency Transportation Operations
  • Traffic Incident Management

Content Type

  • Best Practice

Role in Organization

  • Associate Engineer
  • CEO / GM / Commissioner
  • Director / Program Manager
  • Emergency Manager
  • Engineer
  • Maintenance Staff
  • Manager / First Line Supervisor
  • Operator
  • Principal Engineer
  • Researcher/Academic
  • Senior Engineer
  • Senior Manager
  • Technician
  • Transit Professional
  • Transportation Planner

Document Downloads

Project Website

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Issue Date
September 1st, 2015
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