The Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Evacuation During a Disaster

October 31, 2018

No one likes to think about it, but disaster can strike at any time. People in areas prone to hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters know this all too well. If the worst were to happen and your city needed to evacuate, would it be ready?

Envista Forensics recently determined how the 10 most populated urban metro areas would fare in an evacuation. They took into account a wide range of factors: exit capacity, internal traffic, roadway intensity (number of lanes per thousand people), auto availability, bottlenecks, congestion, geographic barriers (oceans, lakes, mountains), public transit, land area, and density (population per square mile).

From Worst to First

10. New York City: Ranked the worst city of all to evacuate. Unlike the other worst performers, traffic is not the biggest concern. Instead, it has low marks for exit capacity, auto availability, roadway intensity and land area.

9. Los Angeles: It’s no secret that the city is known for its traffic issues and that comes through in the findings. Los Angeles receives low marks for bottlenecks, density and internal traffic. 

8. Chicago: The city does have an emergency evacuation plan, but strangely has chosen not to make it available to the public. Chicago struggles when it comes to internal traffic, exit capacity and roadway intensity.

7. Washington, D.C.: While Pennsylvania Avenue is unable to be used for political evacuation, this city does well when it comes to public transportation (best in the country), geographic barriers, land area and bottlenecks.

6. Miami: Miami has a number of Storm Surge zones (high levels of storm damage typically occur in these areas), and pose high risk for flooding in important evacuation zones or shelters. 

Read on to find out which city takes the top spot!


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