The Exodus team coordinates and facilitates the departure of tens of thousands of Burning Man participants from Black Rock City on a single two-lane road. The Exodus team is responsible for ensuring a safe and timely trip off the playa, as well as giving all our beloved citizens their final farewell for the year.
Exodus in 2007 managed to improve over 2006, even with a large population increase. We assisted a record number of Burners out of BRC without any major incidents. Our campaign to have BRC citizens leave BRC at times other than the prime-time (Monday afternoon) really paid off, as we saw substantial numbers leaving during non-peak hours.
The length and capacity of Gate Road increased by almost 100% so we could handle more vehicles. While we achieved our main goal, which was to not have backups too far into the city, there were still some challenges.
Because many people left at non-peak hours, times that traditionally have not warranted Exodus Operations (such as late night and early morning), were very busy. Lane cones during those hours were knocked down, and Gate Road became a free-for-all.
While we managed to have close to the maximum possible flow onto the paved road at most times, the paved highway’s finite capacity is still our biggest limitation to getting more people out of the city faster. This is not a limit we can increase. Wait times of 3 to 5 hours (depending on that year’s population) to get out of Black Rock City are to be expected during most of Exodus, from Saturday night to Monday night. No matter what, we’re still emptying a bathtub with a straw. No matter how many lanes we have on the gate road, and how many people we have flagging and waving and shouting, it’s still a 1-lane road off the playa. Until the Nevada Department of Transportation (NVDOT) decides to create a 6-lane highway for us, Exodus is going to be a long wait.
Help each other. Being patient, being considerate of your fellow participants (who are, of course, in the same boat as you), and keeping the Burning Man spirit on your way out and on your way home can go a long to towards making your experience and those around you the best, and safest, it can be.
The biggest challenge that we face with Exodus is that we are always light on volunteers. This makes it very hard to run a smooth operation. We continue to encourage interested people to contact us with comments or suggestions.
Odwally and BlueCross