Officials of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission unveiled an evacuation plan for carless or disabled central Ohio residents at a press conference Nov. 15.

Officials of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission unveiled an evacuation plan for carless or disabled central Ohio residents at a press conference Nov. 15.

The planning framework for the "evacuation of the transportation needs populations in central Ohio" is designed to address shortcomings in previous evacuation plans, said Daniel Haake, MORPC senior planner.

"It was a regional recognition of the need following Hurricane Katrina to address the needs of those who have transportation issues," Haake said. "We got together a key group of 'stakeholders' and we hired a consultant and all of us really worked together. It was truly a regional plan."

MORPC, a coalition of 47 local governments across seven central Ohio counties, created the framework by working with the Kettering Foundation. The foundation led a series of discussions with local transportation needs populations particularly minority, low-income, elderly, and persons with disabilities.

A year and a half of development, paid for by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration, produced the plan, Haake said. It was one of only two such grants awarded in the nation.

The plan is divided into three sections, the first of which is explanatory.

"It's things you need to think about, like sheltering options and different types of transportation you need to look at," Haake said.

The second section contains the results of the Kettering Foundation's study of transportation needs populations.

"They sat down with folks and used the windstorm and the ice storm as an example," he said. "(They asked) 'What do you need?' and 'What do you know?' that kind of thing, instead of just doing research out of a book, they listen to the population's actual voices, which is incredibly important."

The third section is the actual plan, including pick-up and drop-off locations, as well as essential information such as capacity for Central Ohio Transportation Authority buses.

The framework is for official use only, so it will be delivered to local emergency managers only.

"Each of the emergency management agencies in the seven counties will be receiving all of the information," Haake said.

The framework will serve as a tool for local agencies to update their emergency plans and as a model for agencies around the country. MORPC plans to update the framework on a continual basis, keeping it relevant for the changing and growing central Ohio region.

"To create a group to keep the plan going ... it's something that we'll definitely be looking at and doing," Haake said.