Wednesday, November 4, 2009
SAN DIEGO San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts wants information about road closures to be more available in the case of emergency evacuations. He raised the issue during a review of the county’s wildfire preparedness.
“One of the things that we experienced in the last fires and we experience every time, is that we have to close a freeway,” he said. “For a lot of people that information is not available.”
Roberts said mobile devices can now show traffic flow but not road closures. In fact if there is no traffic on a road, the satellite may suggest the road is clear. In the case of a mass evacuation such as happened in 2007, this could be a major problem.
After the meeting, Yvette Urrea Moe of the County Office of Emergency Services, said that’s under review, but the way traffic information is collected and disseminated is not under the county’s control.
“The state and the federal government are trying to come up with some solutions for that but it might be another five years from now,” she said.
Urrea Moe says the county is working with OnStar, a subscription service for motorists, to get more immediate information about road closures during an emergency. However, other motorists would have to go to the county’s emergency web site to find that information. The county will announce details of their agreement with OnStar once it is finalized.
Urrea Moe said the county recommends that families research different routes out of their neighborhood before an emergency strikes, so they are not stranded if one exit is closed.
Supervisor Roberts said during the meeting that he wants to work on a solution for communicating road closures in real time based on how the information is collected and disseminated.