Postprint version. Published in Journal of Transportation Safety & Security, Volume 6, Issue 3, April 3, 2014, pages 257-273.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1080/19439962.2013.863258.
Simulation studies of urban transportation networks have been increasingly applied to evacuation planning. The level of detail provided within a traffic simulation model allows for devising strategies for evacuation and emergency response. In this research, simulation model of downtown San Jose, California, transportation network is developed to evaluate the efficiency of the evacuation process under hypothetical scenarios. Although the scenarios evaluated herein are not exhaustive, they demonstrate the potential of the simulation approach for managing traffic engineering aspects of the emergency response. The scenarios described here include the use of contraflow lanes, traffic incidents on the network, and a modal shift to transit by evacuees. It was found that among the tested scenarios, reduction in number of vehicles on the road through increased public transit ridership in conjunction with rerouting vehicles and contraflow operations on key corridors would be the most efficient approach. The major contribution of this study is the ability to examine not only the travel times for evacuees but also mobility and accessibility for emergency vehicles. The time to access location(s) under distress, while ensuring efficient evacuation operations at the same time, is critical to reducing losses during an unfolding human-caused disaster.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
2014 Taylor & Francis. This is an electronic version of an article published in Journal of Transportation Safety & Security.