California Department of Transportation

Airport Disaster Recovery Planning


Patrick Tyner

Project Description

Caltrans’ goal in aviation is to foster and promote the development of a safe, efficient, dependable, and environmentally compatible air transportation system. Yet, the interconnected, multimodal system, which includes aviation, is vulnerable to numerous natural disasters including earthquakes. It is estimated that California has a 99% chance of experiencing a major earthquake (magnitude 6.7 or greater) within the next thirty years: the chance of a similar event happening in the San Francisco Bay Area over the same timeframe is estimated at 62%. The state’s airports will play a critical role in any disaster response and recovery effort after such an event. To date, most of the transportation disaster planning has focused specifically on restoration of the surface transportation systems (such as roadways and transit). Ultimately, the relationship between airports and the surface transportation system will be critical during the recovery phase of any disaster. State agencies, including the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) and Caltrans, regional agencies, as well as local government cities, counties, and transit operators, have developed a comprehensive set of interrelated plans to restore surface transportation services as quickly possible in the aftermath of any disaster. There is no coordinated regional or statewide disaster plan describing the role of airports and the coordination of air and surface transportation in any major disaster response. This research effort supports Caltrans’ goal in aviation and closes the gap of understanding regarding airport and surface transportation dynamics involved in emergency response coordination.

Current Tasks