WGBH Boston interviews Dr. Ozlem Ergun on importance of systems in snow debris clearance

Posted March 6, 2015 | Atlanta, GA

A photo at the beginning of the story shows a crew from Connecticut clearing snow from the street near Fenway Park in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015. "Crews from around the region worked urgently to remove the massive amounts of snow that has clogged streets and triggered numerous roof collapses ahead of yet another winter storm due to arrive [that] Saturday."

WGBH's Craig Lemoult interviews HHS Center co-director and Northeastern faculty Dr. Ozlem Ergun about her experience with systems design for debris removal. 

“What happened this time is very unusual for a snow event, in the sense that it just kept snowing and the temperatures went [below] melting point so we’re just not seeing any melting," said Ergun, an engineer whose research focuses on making systems work smoothly and efficiently. "So the snow event turned into something more similar to a debris event, where if the snow is not removed from the streets, the entire, kind of, the workings of the city have been paralyzed.”

“We can never be prepared for the most extreme event at 100 percent level," said Ergun. "But the analysis — situational analysis and risk analysis — that we can do will help us to understand what is the right level of preparedness.”

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