Helen Chen
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Future of Emergency Response

Urban resiliency through an interconnected and responsive transportation infrastructure.

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Rendering by Felix Ho



GUIDANCE
Richard Tyson (Gensler)
James Wynn

CATEGORY
Research, Service Design
Systems Design,
Information Design

TEAM
Helen Chen
Felix Ho
Shin Young Park

Challenge

Due to rise in sea level and increased frequency in large storms, New York City is expected to experience catastrophic floods every five years by 2030 to 2045. Using this as a lens for the future conditions of the city, how can we better the emergency response infrastructure to create more resiliency?

Solution

Urban Artery is a project that seeks to provide a seamless emergency response and evacuation system by integrating its auto-sensing technologies into the existing transportation infrastructure of the city. By creating a unified and centralized system, both rescuers and civilians have a more efficient roadmap giving and getting the aid they need to find safety in perilous situations.



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IN THE PAST

Emergency response in New York City has been fragmented leading to:

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Photos Courtesy FEMA

• Inefficiencies caused by miscommunication and delay between organizations

• Too much responsibility of reporting placed on user’s end

• Lack of agility and flexibility in dispatch response



CREATING A RESPONSIVE CITY

Urban Artery works with a mapping team, UX Designers, software and hardware engineers, data security specialists, and urban planners to ensure that the reporting process is comprehensive, reliable, and centered around the user. This backend technology and planning team also ensures that the alert sensing and reporting systems help guide rescuers and resource managers as efficiently as possible.

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Autonomous vehicles deployed during emergencies have sensing systems, are reconfigurable, and will contain EDC kits:

Activating the City

In addition to deploying autonomous vehicles, there will also be emergency alert systems embedded in other parts of transportation and building infrastructure of the city. Building facades will show alert and wayfinding signage, traffic lights will have an “emergency mode”, and LinkNYC devices will serve as contact points where civilians can report information about emergency situations.

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EXAMPLE
SCENARIOS

Autonomous vehicles in emergency mode and a unified alert system will act as the modular elements that sense and respond to adverse situations and emergencies accordingly.

 
Vehicles transporting civilians to an evacuation center during a major flood

Vehicles transporting civilians to an evacuation center during a major flood

Fire Rescue

Fire Rescue



A UNIFIED EMERGENCY GUIDELINE

A disorganized alert system leads to a low willingness to evacuate emergencies.

Civilians and first responders often do not have a clear overview of the emergency response infrastructure. A central emergency response guideline is an essential component of creating a unified system.

 
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STAKEHOLDERS

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