Mineta Transportation Institute Report: How to Create State-Level Transportation Agency COOP/COG Plans

Adaptable templates help state DOTs maintain essential functions during emergencies, disasters
August 18, 2011
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San José, CA

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) released a technical report intended to serve as a template for individual states to use in the development of their own Continuity of Operations and Continuity of Government (COOP/COG) plans. This type of planning ensures that State Departments of Transportation can continue their essential functions through a wide range of emergencies and disasters. Generic Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government Plan for State-Level Transportation Agencies was authored by MTI Research Associates Frances L. Edwards, PhD, Daniel C. Goodrich, and William M. Medigovich.

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided guidance for COOP/COG across local and state government agencies, there is no specific guidance for transportation departments, whose activities are uniquely multi-layered, in reconciling their plans with certain federal mandates. This report provides directly applicable or adaptable templates so states can easily “connect the dots” to fulfill those planning requirements. Those templates are available in the PDF report through a link to Word documents that can be edited as necessary.

“As researchers, we owe a debt of gratitude to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for its participation in developing a state-specific transportation COOP/COG plan that meets California’s state mandates and risk-based needs,” said Dr. Edwards. “While this generic plan benefits from the research and discussions that led to the California plan, it is based on the authors’ conceptions of best practices across all states, independent of specific state needs and constraints.”

To effectively leverage the template, she said, each state must factor in its own risk analysis, organizational structure, state mandates, and unique operations. In developing a generic plan, the authors have included some material as examples that each state may replace or adapt. For some states, these examples may be deleted, while in others, state-specific material should be substituted.

Templates include charts of Essential Functions; Resource Requirements; Communications Methods; EOC/COOP Joint Activation; COOP/COG Branch Supervisory Lines of Succession; Notification Procedure with Phone Tree; Mission Critical Systems and Equipment; and other charts. The report also includes operational check lists; a sample organization chart; and more.

ABOUT THE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Frances Edwards, PhD, is director of the Master of Public Administration program and professor of political science at San José State University. She is Deputy Director of the DHS NTSCOE of the Mineta Transportation Institute at SJSU, where she is also a Research Associate and teaches emergency management in the Master of Science in Transportation Management program. Her current research is focused on the continuity of operations process and its relationship to emergency management in transportation organizations. She is also researching issues related to climate change and transportation, and transportation security issues. Dr. Edwards is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board’s ABE40 Committee, focused on critical infrastructure security. She is widely published and is regarded as a leading authority in her field.

ABOUT THE MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues. It was established by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and was reauthorized under TEA-21 and again under SAFETEA-LU. The Institute is funded by Congress through the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration, by the California Legislature through the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and by other public and private grants and donations, including grants from the US Department of Homeland Security. DOT selected MTI as a National Center of Excellence following competitions in 2002 and 2006. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI’s focus on policy and management resulted from the Board’s assessment of the transportation industry’s unmet needs. That led directly to choosing the San José State University College of Business as the Institute’s home.