Modern climate cycles have brought rapid-onset, significant disaster events such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, which bring new challenges to emergency planning and preparedness. One of those challenges is the necessity to evacuate large populations out of harm’s way. Implementing an evacuation order is a complex operation that requires significant planning, analysis, and coordination to execute the order in an efficient and effective method. Communities cannot underestimate the importance of conducting an evacuation study and the value of evacuation clearance time modeling to help facilitate good decision-making and operational effectiveness.
Recent new advancements in technology will not only improve decision-making, but also serve as an invaluable tool to operationally visualize evacuation behavior patterns and improve evacuation operations.
Our team at ISC was recently tasked with assisting a client with an all-hazards evacuation clearance time study to better understand the time needed to conduct a safe and timely evacuation for various natural, technological, and human-caused hazards that pose a threat to their community.
The study used state-of-the-art and robust transportation modeling software that allows users to systematically analyze multimodal evacuation strategies across the full transportation network. Data inputs can be manipulated to include statistical data of known evacuation behaviors such as type of vehicles, number of vehicles pulling trailers, and other evacuation behaviors.
This software solution can also model pedestrian crowd flow patterns by replicating the pace of movement and other psychological and social behaviors in a virtual environment. Crowd flow modeling can help to understand security needs to manage pedestrian flow patterns, crowd flow patterns for concerts, mass evacuation of stadiums, and many other applications for crowd management strategies.
Most recently, the ISC team modeled the evacuation clearance times for 37 hazard scenarios, including 31 tropical cyclone scenarios, three (3) coastal/inland flooding scenarios, one (1) nuclear power plant release scenario, one (1) hazardous materials release scenario, and two (2) vehicle and pedestrian terrorism scenarios. The following pictures and video simulate the mass evacuation of a 65,000 seat stadium based on an active assailant/terrorist threat scenario.