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Options for improving evacuation: Investigating an unconventional strategy and expanding route options using TRansportation ANalysis and SIMulation System

Carol Abel Lewis, PhD, Sandra Onyejekwe, MS, Garlin Wynn, MS, Brandon Mosley, MS

Abstract


Various agencies including state departments of transportation, emergency management offices, a municipal works agency, or a highway patrol agency may prepare evacuation plans. Storm strength and landfall predictions determine procedures and strategies. Studies have been conducted that examined various methods considering evacuees’ behaviors, traffic control, safety, and preferential routing. The occasions when a hurricane is imminent require residents to make a choice between sheltering-in-place or evacuating. Tremendous growth is anticipated in many US coastal communities and that will place greater pressure on evacuation strategies in future years. Given the inevitability of future hurricane evacuations and the intensive growth projections for US coastal areas, this research examines evacuation options with a focus on the Houston-Galveston region. The research examines two scenarios using the TRansportation ANalysis and SIMulation System simulation model which relies on a GIS base. Study results showed that both scenarios perform well as alternative options for inclusion in regional planning. It is recommended that these two scenarios be included in the array of responses available for decision makers depending on the myriad of variables—citizen response, congestion levels on the roadways and location, and prediction of an impending storm. The options may be applied independently or in concert with other strategies.


Keywords


emergency evacuation, evacuation strategies, hurricane evacuation

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2015.0229

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