Analysis of Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Hurricane Disaster Relief Plans

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Understanding the impacts of transportation policies on different socioeconomic groups is a crucial part of ensuring equity in the overall transportation planning process. However, despite substantial research on the socioeconomic impacts of transportation in various contexts, there has been relatively little discussion of their potential influence on the provision of disaster relief. After the recent catastrophic natural disasters and terrorist acts around the world, transportation for disaster relief has become an increasingly important area of research. This paper focuses on the provision of disaster relief after a hurricane. By using a spatial model developed to site facilities for the distribution of relief goods, the study described in this paper considered the various decisions related to where these facilities should be located and investigated the differential impacts of the decisions on socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. The model is formulated and solved by using spatial data for a midsized city in the southeastern United States. The results of the analysis point out the differential accessibility to relief goods that population groups may experience and suggest that consideration of socioeconomic status in future disaster relief decision making is warranted.

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Transportation Research Record, v. 2067, p. 1-10