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Traffic Engineering and Operations Office

TEO / Divisions / TIM CVO / Hurricane Response / One-Way Evacuation /

One-Way Evacuation Operations

Picture of a Florida Roadway
As the term implies, a "one way" is traffic movement against the normal direction. More specifically, it involves reversing portions of interstates and expressways so that all lanes head in one direction. This specialized evacuation procedure provides additional highway capacity to accommodate the high volume of traffic as coastal residents attempt to move inland prior to a hurricane's landfall. Florida has chosen to use the terminology of "reverse lanes" for this procedure rather than "contraflow" and this change was made effective in 2007. Documents published prior to 2007, will retain the contra-flow name. Although we have changed terminology, the contra-flow terminology is still used by other states.

Florida's existing reverse lanes plans were produced in 2000 after more than 2 million residents evacuated Florida's east coast due to Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Transportation and law enforcement officials began planning ways to better use limited-access highways around Florida for reverse-lane operations. The hurricane activity during the summer of 2004 raised many of the same evacuation concerns, so a follow-up study was conducted that produced the June 2005 report entitled "Contraflow Plan for the Florida Intrastate Highway System." This update was based on a comprehensive review of the existing District reverse lane plans and a series of public meetings with the various stakeholders to determine their needs. The result was a series of recommendations on ways to make reverse lane operations safer and more feasible as evacuation procedures.

For additional information, please contact Shawn Kinney at Shawn.Kinney@dot.state.fl.us