Transportation Contingency Plans for Future Gas Shortages Will Not Meet Commuter Needs

CED-81-79: Published: Jul 1, 1981. Publicly Released: Jul 1, 1981.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO reviewed transportation contingency planning and discussed the need for new efforts to ensure that all areas of the country will be adequately prepared to maintain mobility during gasoline shortages.

The transportation disruptions caused by the gasoline shortages experienced in the 1970's illustrate the need to develop transportation contingency plans. GAO found that few areas have completed such plans, and progress in contingency plan development has slowed down. Regional contingency plans can help people identify and adopt alternative travel modes. Contingency strategies can include actions to: (1) inform people about the use of alternatives to driving alone in a private automobile; (2) increase the capacity of mass transit systems; (3) increase ridesharing by promotional activities; and (4) encourage the adoption of alternative work hour programs that reduce or spread the peak hour demand for mass transit services and that facilitate ridesharing. Factors which contributed to delays in regional contingency plan development include: (1) lack of Department of Transportation (DOT) guidance; (2) lack of information about possible federal and state actions; and (3) confusion about the relationship of these contingency plans with State emergency energy conservation plans developed by transit systems. Contingency plans in some areas will have limited impact because of the limited capacity of transit systems to effectively implement necessary actions. A regional approach to contingency planning could develop the cooperation needed for implementation although unresolved obstacles will hamper the implementation of some planned actions.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should provide guidance on the relationship between contingency plans and state emergency energy conservation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should develop specific criteria on what regional contingency plans should contain, what types of strategies are appropriate for each level of energy shortfall, and the acceptable periods of time needed to implement contingency actions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should work with the Department of Energy to develop specific information on potential shortfalls of petroleum supplies and the impact of shortfalls on the availability of gasoline to motorists, and provide more information to local planners on the ranges of shortfalls for which they should be developing contingency actions and federal actions that could be expected for given shortages.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should establish a required review process for all contingency plans developed using DOT funding and develop procedures to inform metropolitan planning organizations of inadequacies and assist them in correcting their planned strategies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 14, 2016

Sep 2, 2016

Aug 8, 2016

Jul 28, 2016

Jul 13, 2016

Jul 7, 2016

Jun 24, 2016

Jun 21, 2016

May 26, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here