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Lessons from the December storm. Board Meeting January 26, 2011. 4. Storm chronology – major storm affecting entire region. 4. Successfully managing storms has 4 phases. 1. Track storm forecasts Continuously assess storm impact and response required Update and disseminate alert levels

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Lessons from the December storm

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Lessons from the december storm l.jpg

Lessons from the December storm

Board MeetingJanuary 26, 2011


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4

Storm chronology – major storm affecting entire region


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4

Successfully managing storms has 4 phases

1

  • Track storm forecasts

  • Continuously assess storm impact and response required

  • Update and disseminate alert levels

  • Formulate plan for operation and recovery

Storm tracking and readiness

2

Mobilization

  • Pre-position equipment

  • Call in staff

  • Activate situation rooms, as required

  • Issue customer advisories

3

Execution

  • Fight snow/ice/water

  • Endeavor to maintain service while being mindful of customer/employee safety and impacts on equipment

  • Be prepared to switch from service delivery to curtailment/suspension strategy

  • Care for stranded customers and employees

  • Provide up-to-date service information

4

  • Restore normal service

  • Provide up-to-date service information

  • Assure storm equipment is ready for next storm

Recovery

Effective coordination with OEM’s and other external agencies required throughout


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4

MNR successfully adapted to quickly changing conditions but had some issues with delayed and disabled trains and restoring service

Positives

Issues

1

Storm tracking and readiness

  • Early meeting of Emergency Management Task Force

2

Mobilization

  • Situation room activated early

  • Equipment and employee pre-deployment

3

Execution

  • Rapid observation-based decision to suspend service reduced duration of service outage and recovery time

  • Detailed and consistent messages delivered through all channels

  • Delayed and disabled trains in the Bronx and Westchester

4

Recovery

  • Imbalance of service supply and rider demand on Tuesday left some customers waiting on platforms

  • Negative effects on New Haven Line fleet availability

  • Advance creation and deployment of recovery service plans

  • Successful execution of recovery service plans in the face of rapidly changing conditions


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4

LIRR’s pro-active suspension of service and early mobilization avoided stuck trains but some communication and recovery issues

Positives

Issues

1

Storm tracking and readiness

  • Level 4 (highest level) staffing activated on Dec 24 even though storm at Level 1 due to forecast volatility

2

Mobilization

  • Situation room activated early

  • Clear pre-storm communications regarding potential service interruption

  • Employee availability not optimal

3

Execution

  • Pro-active suspension of service avoided stuck trains

  • ‘Comfort trains’ successfully deployed

  • Clear and timely communications

  • Only limited service available

  • Inability to keep Jamaica switches functioning

4

Recovery

  • Only limited service available Tuesday

  • Platform communication systems crashed

  • Did not clearly communicate train times for limited service operated during recovery period (on platforms in particular)

  • Effective staged restoration of service


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4

Subways’ inability to quickly adapt to deteriorating conditions led to stuck trains and under-estimation of stranded customer issues

Positives

Issues

1

Storm tracking and readiness

  • Frequent planning conference calls to monitor changing storm forecasts

  • Internal alert level not formally upgraded until storm well underway

2

  • Several aspects of Plan IV activated – underground train storage; deployment of storm fighting equipment system-wide

  • No formal implementation of Plan IV

  • Situation room not activated

Mobilization

3

  • Large portion of network delivered un-interrupted service

  • Clear and consistent communications

  • Inadequate central coordination of field actions

  • Not curtailing/suspending service led to stuck trains, stranded customers and slow recovery

  • No robust plan to care for customers on stuck trains

  • Insufficient number of experienced managers on duty

Execution

4

  • Prioritized recovery strategy

  • Clear and consistent communications

Recovery

  • Not understanding implications of providing full service before and during storm


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4

Buses’/Paratransit’s not quickly curtailing service led to large numbers of stuck vehicles. Monday service updates were untimely.

Positives

Issues

1

Storm tracking and readiness

  • Highest internal alert level not activated

2

Mobilization

  • Pre-storm mobilization of personnel and snow-fighting equipment

  • Night and articulated buses equipped with chains as planned

  • Situation room not activated

3

Execution

  • Poor coordination with non-MTA transport modes left some riders stranded

  • Not curtailing/suspending service led to increased numbers of stuck vehicles, stranded customers and slow recovery

  • Insufficient route-level detail in service interruption communications

  • Held back some service that could not be operated effectively

4

Recovery

  • Route-specific service detail eventually communicated

  • Bus radio system crashed


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4

Bridges and Tunnels performed well

Positives

Issues

1

Storm tracking and readiness

  • Storm alerts issued and updated as forecast deteriorated

2

  • Significant mobilization of staff despite holiday beginning early December 25

Mobilization

3

  • No service interruptions

  • Successful sharing of equipment with Buses

  • GPS tracking of snow-fighting vehicles

Execution

4

Recovery

  • Quickly assessed and assured serviceability of snow-fighting equipment immediately after storm


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4

Learning and applying the lessons of the December storm

  • Immediate actions taken

  • Application to recent storms

  • In-depth review


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4

Actions have already been taken to address the identified issues

Actions completed since December storm

1

Storm tracking and readiness

  • MTA HQ disseminating incoming weather notifications across agencies

  • MTA HQ coordinating regular inter-agency calls to compare forecast information and approach and communications strategy

2

Mobilization

  • Situation rooms / incident command centers resourced and ready at operating and support agencies

  • Subways created a blizzard response ‘Plan V’ that includes specific service curtailment/suspension actions in response to high winds and high rates of snow accumulation

  • Pro-active cancellation of non-essential paratransit trips

3

Execution

  • Customer advocate role at all agencies

  • Coordinated effort by bus road operations and depot staff to assess service conditions route-by-route during storm and aftermath

  • Updated list of priority bus routes to be operated during curtailed service

  • Buses updated guidelines for applying chains and replacing articulated buses with standard-length buses to improve service resilience

  • Internal coordination procedures in place to provide route-specific bus service information through website

4

  • LIRR developing limited service schedules for publication in advance

  • MNR established procedure to quickly add service (where possible) in response to customer demand during recovery period

Recovery


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Actions were proven during recent storms

  • Incident centers activated at Bridges & Tunnels, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, NYC Transit and MTA Bus before the first snow fell

  • Near normal service for Subways and LIRR

  • Planned modifications to MNR service

  • No trains stuck for any significant period of time

  • No buses or paratransit vehicles stuck for any significant period of time

  • Full coordination with NYC OEM and regional OEM offices

  • Jan 7 – minor storm

  • Jan 11/12 – moderate storm in NYC; significant in MNR service area

  • Jan 21 – moderate storm


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4

An in-depth review to be completed during the second quarter will identify additional actions that could improve response to all storms

  • Cross-agency effort led by MTA COO

  • Identify issues and solutions including:

    • Best practices in other systems around the world that contend with snow regularly

    • Review agencies’ internal assessments

    • Equipment and infrastructure vulnerabilities

    • Practices and rules that may inhibit effective storm mobilization or response

    • Equipment and technology that would make MTA agency response to storms more effective

    • Training and simulations that better prepare staff for infrequent events

    • Follow-up by Internal Audit to review relevant recommendations from previous storm reports and confirm implementation of agency-initiated actions

    • Generalizing from December snowstorm lessons to other weather-related events


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