The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Transportation During and After Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane The Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, part of New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, released a report this month examining Hurricane Sandy's impact on transportation in the New York Region during and after the storm. This storm "demonstrated the strengths and limits of the transportation infrastructure in New York City and the surrounding region. As a result of the timely and thorough preparations by New York City and the MTA [Metropolitan Transportation Authority], along with the actions of city residents and emergency workers to evacuate and adapt, the storm wrought far fewer casualties than might have occurred otherwise." The hurricane also "brought out a uniquely New York commuting creativity," with New Yorkers finding new and inventive ways "to maintain their mobility". Key findings from the survey include:
  • Many people in the New York region returned to work after the storm
  • New Yorkers significantly altered their commute patterns
  • Commute times after the storm varied by home region, with the largest differences in Staten Island and Brooklyn
  • Commuters who walked or biked experienced the fewest delays
  • People used a variety of mediums to learn about transportation resources, including websites and social media
This superstorm and the impact it had on transportation "provided a timely message to all New Yorkers that public transportation is essential to the economic and social well being of the people who live, work and visit here." While this storm may have crippled other cities, New York was able to respond efficiently to new obstacles, and it is "this remarkable blend of ingenuity and persistence in the face of disaster that truly characterizes New Yorkers' behavior with regard to transportation."