Development of a Large-Scale Traffic Simulation Model for Hurricane Evacuation of Mississippi Coastal Region

Hurricanes are one of the most catastrophic events resulting in severe consequences including loss of life and property damage. The magnitude of devastation was evident in the hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf coast. The Mississippi Gulf coast region generally refers to the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula Area that consists of the Gulfport-Biloxi Metropolitan Area and the Pascagoula Metropolitan Area, including five counties and a joint population of about 400 thousand residents and 150 thousand families. The casino industry and tourism in the region also attract thousands of tourists and travelers from everywhere. Emergency management teams play a huge role in safeguarding the lives of people in endangered areas by evacuating them to safer locations as efficiently as possible. An evacuation plan is an essential component of an emergency plan. The proposed research will study the effect of applying various traffic control plans (TCP) to the Mississippi coast region to provide the most efficient movement of vehicles out of the region during a hurricane evacuation. UPDATE: The project demonstrates the effectiveness of using a gate control strategy for traffic management in an emergency evacuation when people within a localized Protective Action Zone (PAZ) must be evacuated with a short notice. Selected nodes on the PAZ boundary with access and volume capacities could be treated as gates for evacuation traffic to be guided through with a higher priority over traffic using the non‐gate nodes. In the study, an optimization process is sought to minimize the total travel cost of the evacuation trips with a gate control strategy while traffic constraints and network equilibriums are considered. The effectiveness of the model is first tested by the computation results drawn from an assumed evacuation network. The computation results show that the gate control strategy could improve the performance of an evacuation by reducing the numbers of conflicts in trip routes and traffic movements. Then, the model is tested in a case study of a real evacuation network in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region with nodes and links in several counties, respectively. The experimental study results show that the gate control strategy could achieve an effective evacuation operation and improve the performance of the evacuation by reducing average travel time in trip routes and conflicting traffic movements compared with a non‐gate situation where evacuation trips are conducted based on “shortest paths” without a gate control strategy. Project complete.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $75000.00
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Jackson State University, Jackson

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Jackson, MS  United States  39217-0168

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Performing Organizations:

    Jackson State University, Jackson

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Jackson, MS  United States  39217-0168
  • Principal Investigators:

    Wang, Feng

  • Start Date: 20140701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150731
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37068

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01573285
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Maritime Transportation Research and Education Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC50
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 21 2015 1:01AM