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167764-1 Report Abstract

Real-Time Data for Hurricane Evacuation in Texas

Darrell W. Borchardt and Darryl D. Puckett, Texas A&M University, February 2008, 45 pp. (167764-1)

In September 2005, the threat of Hurricane Rita to the Houston-Galveston region resulted in the evacuation of more than one million persons from the Texas coastal and urban areas.  This concentration of evacuees overloaded all routes leaving the Houston area, resulting in traffic queues on freeways as long as 36-hours.  While traffic and emergency management personnel had access to real-time traffic information in the urban areas, no such information was available in rural areas where the roadways had restricted capacity.  There was clearly a need to expand video and traffic monitoring capabilities beyond the urban areas to allow for better traffic management in response to evacuations as well as normal traffic operations.

HURREVAC is a restricted-use Internet based computer program used by government emergency managers to track hurricanes and assist in evacuation-related decision making.  The program includes an ETIS (Environment Transport Integrated planning System) module included which allows for inclusion and access to real-time traffic information by emergency managers.  This report documents attempts to complete the integration of the module with traffic data for Texas coastal regions.  It also provides for general equipment and installation guidelines for deployment of video and sensor detection stations along hurricane evacuation routes.  In addition, a list of recommended additional deployments of such monitoring equipment to allow for improved monitoring and managing of traffic during evacuation events in Texas.

Keywords: Hurricane Evacuation, Real-Time Traffic Monitoring, Remote Sensing

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 5.7 MB)