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The tragic events of September 11th, 2001 have had a profound and unimaginable impact on lower Manhattan, and the New York City metropolitan region. The changing perception of the safety of the transportation modes as a result of 9/11 is impacting the way in which the individuals make choices of mode and place of work and residence, and the way in which businesses make location decisions. 9/11 has also provided a monumental challenge to transportation and city planners because there are no guidelines in the literature on how to address travel and urban planning issues after such an event occurs.

The tragedy of 9/11 provides a unique opportunity to investigate and model how extreme events impact the travel decision itself. Given that some of these behavioral effects may be of a transient nature, there is an urgent need to implement a data collection process aimed at gathering the necessary behavioral data before these effects fade over time. The proposed project builds upon a previous NSF project by providing additional resources for data collection and advanced behavioral modeling.

The objectives of this investigation are: (i) to assess the behavioral changes that have taken place as a response to the 9/11 tragedy; and (ii) to begin laying the theoretical and empirical foundation for the study of the impacts of extreme events upon travel behavior. Among other things, this knowledge would enable: (a) transportation agencies and municipalities to devise policies aimed at restoring the perception of safety; and (b) a new generation of planners to understand the dynamic impacts of extreme events on individual choices. A contribution of this study will be the development of new approaches to modeling and data assessment for travel models required by a rational planning process. The research will assist in answering developing questions concerning the future of lower Manhattan, as well as any other urban areas affected by extreme events.