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Trust and Compassion in Willingness to Share Mobility and Sheltering Resources in Evacuations: A case Study of the 2017 and 2018 California Wildfires

  • Author(s): Wong, Stephen D
  • Walker, Joan L
  • Shaheen, Susan A
  • et al.
Abstract

Advances in the sharing economy – such as transportation network companies (e.g., Lyft, Uber) and home sharing (e.g., Airbnb) – have coincided with the increasing need for evacuation resources. While peer-to-peer sharing under normal circumstances often suffers from trust barriers, disaster literature indicates that trust and compassion often increase following disasters, improving recovery efforts. We hypothesize that trust and compassion could trigger willingness to share transportation and sheltering resources during an evacuation.

To test this hypothesis, we distributed a survey to individuals impacted by the 2017 Southern California Wildfires (n=226) and the 2018 Carr Wildfire (n=284). We estimate binary logit choice models, finding that high trust in neighbors and strangers and high compassion levels significantly increase willingness to share across four sharing scenarios. Assuming a high trust/compassion population versus a low trust/compassion population results in a change of likelihood to share between 30% and 55%, depending on scenario. Variables related to departure timing and routing – which capture evacuation urgency – increase transportation sharing willingness. Volunteers in past disasters and members of community organizations are usually more likely to share, while families and previous evacuees are typically less likely. Significance of other demographic variables is highly dependent on the scenario. Spare seatbelts and bed capacity, while increasing willingness, are largely insignificant. These results suggest that future sharing economy strategies should cultivate trust and compassion before disasters via preparedness within neighborhoods, community-based organizations, and volunteer networks, during disasters through communication from officials, and after disasters using resilience-oriented and community-building information campaigns.

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