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600451-00101-1 Report Abstract

Gulf Coast Megaregion Evacuation Traffic Simulation Modeling and Analysis

Zhao Zhang and Brian Wolshon, December 2015

This paper describes a project to develop a micro-level traffic simulation for a megaregion. To accomplish this, a mass evacuation event was modeled using a traffic demand generation process that created a spatial and temporal distribution of departure times, origins, and destinations based on past hurricane scenarios. A megaregion-scale simulation was required to assess this event because only at this level can traffic from multiple cities, over several days, with route assignments in multiple and overlapping directions be analyzed. Among the findings of the research was that it is possible to scale-up and adapt existing models to reflect a simultaneous multi-city evacuation covering a megaregion. The movements generated by the demand and operational models were both logical and meaningful and they were able to capture the key elements of the system, including the traffic progression over vast spaces and long time durations. They were also adequate to demonstrate benefits of proactive traffic management strategies and the effect of increased and decreased advanced warning times. The project also revealed numerous limitations of existing modeling and computational processing capabilities. The knowledge and results gained from this research can be adaptable and transferable for the evaluation of other locations with different road networks, populations, transportation resources, and hazard threats. Models such as this can be modified to represent anticipated growth and development within large regions and can be used to evaluate the interrelationships between behavioral response and regional transportation management strategies.

Keywords: Megaregion, Evacuation, Simulation, Modeling, Regional Planning

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 802 KB)