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Optimal Scheduling of Evacuation Operations

Principal Investigator(s) 

Abbas M. Afshar, Ph.D. Candidate

Evacuation Planning and Emergency Management is a sophisticated field of civil engineering sciences, aimed to save human lives by safe facility design and optimization of evacuation and rescue operations. Demand estimation, behavioral analysis, destination selection, and route selection are 4 steps of evacuation planning required before the actual plan set up and implementation. Recent approaches advertise integration of last 3 steps to achieve system optimal plans.

Mathematical formulation, traffic simulation and optimization algorithms are required components of such approaches. In this research, an optimization model for Emergency Evacuation Planning is proposed along with a simulation-optimization framework to solve for the system optimal evacuation plan. The model simultaneously solves for the choice of destination (shelter), evacuation route, and departure time for all evacuees from given origins (endangered zones).

Heuristic algorithms are proposed to find the system-optimal Dynamic Traffic Assignment during an iterative procedure. The mesoscopic traffic simulator is embedded in the optimization modules to find travel time marginals and obtain required performance measures in each iteration.

For the case study of Ocean City in Maryland, implementing the proposed solutions shows dramatic improvements in network performance measures such as total travel time and network clearance time.

*Map source: Traffic Monitoring System for the Ocean City Region