Public Transit Emergency Preparedness Against Ebola and Other Infectious Diseases

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Transit is increasingly becoming the backdrop against which pandemics unfold, making the need for emergency preparedness for outbreaks ever more important. SARS, MERS, H1N1, and even the seasonal flu provide opportunities to identify areas in which public health and transit can work together to ensure transit’s emergency response posture.

A new report published by the National Academies Press examines responses to infectious disease epidemics and identifies legal issues that may be confronted by transit agencies.

The Transportation Research Board’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Legal Research Digest 50: Public Transit Emergency Preparedness Against Ebola and Other Infectious Diseases considers federal and state laws and available court decisions affecting transit agencies’ responses to infectious disease outbreaks, including potential cohesiveness among transit agencies’ procedures and federal and state guidance.

Highlighted topic areas include:

  • Closures of Major Traffic Generators
  • Full or Partial Suspension of Service
  • Screening and Prescreening
  • Quarantine and Isolation
  • Employee Protocols and Work Safety
  • Infection Control and Disinfection Measures

The digest also examines the legal basis for the protocols that public transit agencies and other transportation providers such as airlines have planned or implemented to respond to epidemics and pandemics. This report builds upon the 2014 NCHRP Report 769: A Guide for Public Transportation Pandemic Planning and Response.

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