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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI hurricane evacuation study seeks survey respondents

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. – August 14, 2007 – A team of University of Rhode Island researchers is studying hurricane preparedness and traffic flows in evacuations, and they are looking for Rhode Islanders to take a survey that is vital to their research.

URI civil engineering professors Natacha Thomas and Christopher Hunter said that the anonymous survey primarily targets state residents living in flood zones in Barrington, Warwick, Jamestown, Newport and other communities around Narragansett Bay, but all Rhode Island residents are encouraged to participate.

Those interested in taking the survey can do so online at www.uri.edu/cve. The deadline for participating is August 31.

Funded by the URI Transportation Center and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the study aims to assess how prepared residents are for a hurricane, their likelihood of evacuating, and the routes they would take in an evacuation.

“We want to find out what percentage of residents would evacuate, how many would stay, and where they would go – would they leave the state or relocate elsewhere in Rhode Island,” explained Thomas.

The researchers also want to know if the availability of particular resources – like pet shelters or public transportation – would affect residents’ decision to evacuate.

A report on the results of the survey will be provided to officials at the Department of Transportation, who will use it to update the state’s hurricane evacuation plan.