Can the Sharing Economy be Leveraged in Disaster Relief? Lessons from California

September 12, 2019

aftereffects of a wildfire

Natural and man-made disasters and their emergency evacuations are more common than many people realize, and remain a common strategy to ensure safety. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the most frequent causes of evacuations in the U.S. each year are fires and floods. Due to the heavy reliance on private vehicles in the U.S.,...

UC Berkeley releases report on disaster evacuations

July 12, 2019

BERKELEY — A U.C. Berkeley team that conducted wildfire evacuation focus group research in Lake County released a report this week that recommends more use by government agencies of the sharing economy during disaster evacuations.

The report, entitled “Current State of the Sharing Economy and Evacuations: Lessons from California,” investigates the public perception and potential impacts of...

Leveraging the Sharing Economy to Expand Shelter and Transportation Resources in California Evacuations

Stephen Wong
Susan Shaheen, PhD

policy brief on evacuations

In 2017 and 2018, California was severely impacted by a number of devastating wildfires that required thousands of people to evacuate. These evacuations were hampered by poor communication, traffic congestion, and transportation and shelter resource deficiencies. To ensure that all citizens have both transportation and shelter in evacuations, agencies must...

How can companies like Airbnb, Lyft or Uber help in disasters?

June 19, 2019

photo of researcher Stephen Wong

In the past few years, devastating California wildfires have forced more than half a million people to evacuate their homes. In many cases, local government agencies did not have enough resources to transport and shelter all of the evacuees, especially vulnerable populations like the elderly and disabled. Meanwhile those who...

Current State of the Sharing Economy and Evacuations: Lessons from California

Stephen Wong
Susan Shaheen, PhD

In many evacuations including wildfire evacuations, public agencies often do not have enough resources to evacuate and shelter all citizens. Consequently, we propose that the sharing economy, through private companies and/or private citizens, could be leveraged in disasters for transportation and sheltering resources. To assess this feasibility, we distributed surveys to individuals impacted by three major wildfires in California: 1) the 2017 October Northern California Wildfires (n=79), 2) the 2017 December Southern California Wildfires (n=226), and 3) the 2018 Carr Wildfire (n=284...