Evacuation Behavior and its Mobility Impacts in Coastal Communities from Across the Nation

Coastal communities are at risk from a multitude of potentially disruptive events. Severe weather, climate change, and sea-level rise all pose serious and long term societal challenges. Community resiliency, as defined by the National Academies of Sciences, is a community’s ability “to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from and adapt to stressors from acute and longer-term adverse events”. Community resiliency in coastal areas is paramount for preserving the infrastructure, business continuity, and ultimately saving lives. One way coastal communities try to mitigate the impact of adverse events is through orderly evacuations. The withdrawal of the population from the area of threat is done to prevent injury and loss of life and to mitigate property damage. Several recent evacuations have occurred in the U.S. Hurricane evacuations have been ordered in the state of Florida while wildfires and impending dam failures have led to evacuations in the state of California. It has generally been accepted that the evacuation from a regional hurricane is fundamentally different than the evacuation from a wildfire. Hurricane evacuations generally encompass larger areas when compared to wildfire evacuations and provide several days of advanced warning. Whereas, wildfires impact smaller areas with significantly shorter warning time. However, at the broadest level, evacuees and their vehicles move in both time and space. This research seeks to develop a better understanding of the travel flow principles that govern the evacuation process and its impact on the mobility of a community, for different hazard types. This knowledge can be leveraged to better plan for and respond to evacuations, regardless of the event. The research will also allow agencies to identify best practices by learning from each other .


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    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $152919
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Maritime Transportation Research and Education Center

      University of Arkansas
      Fayetteville, AR  United States  72701
    • Performing Organizations:

      Louisiana State University

      3660G Patrick F. Taylor Hall
      Civil and Environmental Engineering
      Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
    • Principal Investigators:

      Wolshon, Brian

    • Start Date: 20200701
    • Expected Completion Date: 20230930
    • Actual Completion Date: 20230930
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01752827
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Maritime Transportation Research and Education Center
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747130
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Sep 24 2020 2:37PM