Moving people quickly in emergency impossible

Traffic on the interstates is often congestion, without an emergency. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON – A constant concern in the Washington region is being able to move people in the event of a major emergency. But a top transportation leader admits it’s impossible to move everyone at the same time.

“Not only can’t we get people out, but often we have to get emergency equipment in to affected areas,” says Rob Kirby, director of transportation for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Kirby says it’s impossible to get anyone, in any part of metro area, out quickly.

But his focus is providing information, not giving out orders.

“The whole premise of this effort has been if we give people good information and advise them, you know, that it’s best not to move unless you have to, that they will.

“We can’t guarantee that they will act on that information, but to a very large measure we believe that they will,” says Kirby.

Additionally, Kirby says it’s important to make sure only the people who need to move are doing so.

In any emergency that would warrant an evacuation, WTOP Traffic will provide you constant updates on Twitter @WTOPtraffic.

WTOP’s Adam Tuss contributed to this report. Follow Adam and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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