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Data and analysis from StreetLight Data of more than 670 communities is intended to help prioritise the towns in each state that need to bolster evacuation preparedness.
The US states of California, Florida, Arizona and Texas have emerged as the states with the greatest number of communities most at risk during an emergency evacuation.
Building on earlier research, which focused on the top 100 at-risk communities, the new report from mobility metrics company, StreetLight Data, includes analysis of some 670 communities across the continental US (48 states).
California and Florida, on the heels of a 2020 plagued by massive fires and the most active hurricane season on record, are the two states with the largest number of ‘remote’ communities identified by this analysis.
StreetLight’s methodology uses a mathematical algorithm that identifies town boundaries with too many people relative to the number of roads leading out of town.
The 10 states with the most communities at risk are:
1 California (91 communities)
2 Florida (62 communities)
3 Arizona (42 communities)
4 Texas (41 communities)
5 Pennsylvania (40 communities)
6 New York (31 communities)
7 Washington (30 communities)
8 West Virginia (28 communities)
9 Virginia (24 communities)
10 New Jersey (23 communities).
“As we head into peak season for wildfires and hurricanes, there is no better time to review emergency evacuation risk with the scale and granularity enabled by big data analytics,” said Paul Friedman, CTO of StreetLight and author of the study.
“Sharing information about transportation infrastructure and emergency route options is an important part of disaster preparedness. Our goal in sharing this data is to support those working in this complex field, especially as they look for ways to make our communities safer.”
To help identify the communities most affected by constrained evacuation routes, StreetLight analysed the 30,000 towns in the continental US with populations under 40,000, drawing on its hyper-local transportation metrics.
“Sharing information about transportation infrastructure and emergency route options is an important part of disaster preparedness. Our goal in sharing this data is to support those working in this complex field”
Communities were then scored using a ratio of the number of roadway ‘exits’ available in each town and the average ‘load’ on the most-used exit, weighted by town population. From those findings, StreetLight was able to identify a subset of 675 communities that scored at least three times the average of all towns analysed.
States with the fewest communities at risk are:
1, 2, 3 Montana, Rhode Island, Tennessee (all with zero communities at risk)
4, 5 Connecticut, Delaware (each with one community at risk)
6, 7, 8 Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma (each with two communities at risk)
9, 10, 11 Maine, Nebraska, South Carolina (each with three communities at risk).
StreetLight measures diverse travel patterns and makes them available on-demand as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for mobility, StreetLight InSight. From identifying sources of congestion to optimising new infrastructure to planning for autonomous vehicles, StreetLight reports it powers more than 6,000 global projects every month.
See the interactive map of states and at-risk communities here.