5 years ago
When Hurricane Sandy made landfall on Oct. 29th, 2012 it quickly became the second most costly hurricane in U.S. history, with estimated damages of $65 billion dollars. The New York City transportation system was a major victim of the storm, with the Transit Authority stating that the destruction caused was the worst disaster the subway system had endured in over a century. Seven tunnels were flooded, along with many train and bus stations. Traffic was disrupted for a week in the city. However, the evacuation efforts went off without a hitch. This impressive fact prompted researchers at the University of Illinois to analyze the New York transportation system. Their goal is to assist their local authorities in evaluating how resilient their own transport system is to extreme weather conditions.
The researchers used data from the taxi systems GPS units to observe the changes in traffic patterns during hurricanes, snowstorms, and other weather events. Dan Work, assistant professor in the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Brian Donovan, a graduate student in the Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure System program designed a method to compute the distribution of travel times between areas of the city. Their method allows them to determine the pace of deviation of taxi trips during the hurricane. They analyzed 700 million taxi trips from a period of four years, a range including pre-Sandy and post-Sandy, as well as the time the city was affected. Their analysis showed that traffic in New York was returned to normal relatively quickly.
"The first step was to figure out from the data what is normal," Work said. "There is a heartbeat pattern to the city every single day…The data shows us the typical heartbeat, and then we look for the arrhythmia."
Work and Donovan created a visual map of GPS data from the taxis in the days following Hurricane Sandy, then compared it to another visual map they created from data gathered in normal traffic conditions. Analysis of the maps showed them that the longest delays happened when residents returned to the city after evacuation. Though surprised by the data, it made them realize that the process of returning residents to their homes is just as vital to smooth transportation within a city as the initial evacuation itself. It is especially applicable to the need for unencumbered movements of emergency workers and crews throughout a city while restoring functionality.
The researchers received their data from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, which was provided under the Freedom of Information Law.
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To inform and help protect independent vehicle operators and their passengers, we have developed and implemented a set of COVID-19 response measures compliant with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) recommendations.
As of April 17, 2020, New York State requires all TLC drivers and passengers to wear face coverings while riding together. Independent vehicle operators are required to wear a face covering, such as a facemask, bandana, or a scarf that cover mouth and nose when transporting passengers, or when otherwise within 6 feet of customers or others. Passengers are asked to wear a face covering before entering vehicles and during their entire ride.
We require independent vehicle operators to sanitize their vehicles before the start of each shift. Independent vehicle operators must also clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces after the completion of each trip. When cleaning and disinfecting, individuals must wear disposable gloves and PPE, compatible with the cleaning products being used. Vehicles must be thoroughly ventilated during and after the cleaning process. All gloves and any other disposable PPE used for cleaning and disinfecting the vehicles must be removed and disposed of after cleaning.
Interior surfaces that must be disinfected include: seat cushions, arm rests, door handles, window buttons, buckles and seatbelts, light and air controls, doors and windows, and grab handles. Frequently touched electronic surfaces, such as tablets or touch screens used in the vehicles must also be cleaned and disinfected. Special attention must be paid to surfaces and objects that are touched often by passengers. Surfaces that are frequently touched by the driver, such as the steering wheel, radio buttons, turn indicators and cup holders, must also be disinfected at regular intervals.
Independent vehicle operators must carry cleaning and disinfectant sprays and/or disposable wipes and disposal trash bags with them in their vehicles.
We educate independent vehicle operators about where to find accurate information about COVID-19, its symptoms, and how it spreads. We actively encourage sick independent vehicle operators to stay home. We also encourage the use of and provide assistance in acquiring hand sanitizer and disposable wipes and cleaning products.
As an important infection control measure, we require independent vehicle operators to practice regular hand hygiene. The times on the job to clean hands include:
Most independent vehicles are carrying partitions between driver and passengers for your safety.
At this time, we restrict independent vehicle operators from providing pooled rides or picking up multiple passengers who would not otherwise be riding together on the same route. Passengers should only be allowed to sit in the back seat.
We also encourage use of the vehicles' vents and/or lower the vehicle windows to bring in fresh outside air instead of using the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation during passenger transport.
We ask independent vehicle operators to open and close trunks and doors for their passengers. Passengers should be asked to handle their own personal bags and belongings during pick-up and drop-off.
We prioritize contactless transactions that limit or eliminate close contact and the sharing of items such as pens and electronic signature pads between independent vehicle operators and passengers.
For the safety of passengers, no items such as water bottles or magazines should be provided.
We routinely conduct unannounced field checks to monitor compliance with our COVID-19 response measures. We discontinue service to our customers by independent vehicle operators found to not comply with our guidelines.