Natural disasters such as the recent, catastrophic Hurricane Sandy put people’s lives, property, and possessions at risk. In any natural disaster, but particularly in an area unaccustomed to such conditions, panic can ensue. It can be difficult to keep people abreast of changes during an evacuation such as which routes are safe to take, how soon the storm will hit, and when it is no longer safe to be out on the roads. It can also be a challenge to ensure that motorists are driving safely and staying alert as they prepare for an upcoming storm.
On the Streets Bloomberg news offers the following advice to New Yorkers looking to avoid traffic after Hurricane Sandy: Use your bike. Read the full story on Bloomberg News.
Astoria, Queens Oct 29, 2012
Traffic Logix interviewed Mr. Frank Storch, an Emergency Coordinator for CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) in Maryland with over 40 years of experience in safety and security management about the role of traffic calming solutions in natural disasters
Ocean City, MD
and other emergency situations. Mr. Storch was enthusiastic about the role that variable message signs can fulfill in ensuring safety and protecting people and property.
Keeping People Safe and Informed
While radar speed signs are primarily used to slow traffic when speeding is a concern, they can also be a valuable emergency response tool. Mr. Storch suggested that variable message signs can be programmed to offer messages regarding traffic conditions, storm warnings, and in directing traffic along an evacuation route.
New software program in Germany helps agencies deal with power outages more efficiently. Read the full article at the Science Daily.
A sign such as the rotating SafePace 800 led sign, which offers a full matrix that can be used both to display speeds and for longer messages or graphics can help keep drivers safe and up to date.
While static signs can notify people as well, they can be timely to deploy. Radar signs, however, such as the SafePace series, can be deployed in a matter of minutes when used with a speed trailer or dolly unit. In addition to offering notification, radar signs can serve the dual purpose of slowing drivers down and keeping them alert to changing road conditions.
Did you Know? In 2011, 9 deaths were caused by hurricanes in the US as reported by the National Weather Service, the least of all categories of weather related fatalaties.Hurricane Sandy alone has tragically taken over 100 lives. Read more here.
Traffic Logix Tidbits
Dynamic messaging signs can also play a pivotal role in preparing and responding to emergencies. With the ability to schedule and update messages as needed as well as to display a series of messages one after another, these signs can help keep people informed and safe. They can also be economical since they can be used to control traffic all year long and do not need to be purchased only in an emergency.
“During the emergency evacuations prior to Hurricane Sandy, many people didn’t know which streets to turn down and where it was safe to drive,” said Mr. Storch. “Having signs with specific information such as that 13th St is now Northbound, or that the storm surge is expected at noon, could be extremely helpful in avoiding chaos and helping to evacuate large numbers of people efficiently.”
Aiding the Recovery
We’ll be attending the NLC Congress of Cities later this month from November 28-December 1 at the Boston Convention & Exposition Center. The Expo brings together local leaders from cities across the United States.
If you’re in the area, we’d love to see you. Stop by our booth #1055 and say hello to our reps James Weatherall and Brett Ferrin! We’ll have a great giveaway and our solutions for you to explore firsthand.
In addition to keeping people informed during an evacuation, Mr. Storch noted that variable message signs can be useful in helping people to recover once the storm is over. The signs can be posted near local stores, letting people know where they can and cannot obtain necessary supplies and pharmaceuticals. They can notify those waiting in line at gas stations when the gas is depleted, helping them to avoid unnecessary waiting.
On local roads, dynamic messaging can be invaluable and even lifesaving in letting people know which roads are closed due to flooding or tree falls as well as alternate routes to take instead. Signs that display driver speeds can also warn motorists to slow down when approaching roadways where they need to drive slower due to storm destruction or conditions.