Reinforcing Network Resilience to Support Equitable Disaster Evacuation

As one of the principal lifeline systems, transportation networks are crucial for evacuation during extreme weather events like hurricanes, and critical network links must remain intact. Since resilience of the transportation network during the evacuation saves lives and preserves existing infrastructure, one of the top priorities for decision-makers is to protect links to withstand a hurricane and restore links when disrupted. Researchers developed several performance metrics to evaluate the resilience of the network links based on their topology (Scott et al., 2006), transportation cost (Taylor et al., 2006), and flooding risk (Helderop et al., 2019). These measures translate into various network functionalities to support evacuation such as flexibility, reliability, or robustness. In a previous TranSET project, the research team investigated network resilience in the Gulf Coast regions and developed system vulnerabilities to identify critical network links for evacuation (TranSET #20PUTA28). While conducting the project, the team identified a significant gap between the current practices in disaster planning and recommendations made by scientific research. In particular, when evaluating network resilience for evacuation, practitioners use their regional knowledge to determine evacuation demand and traffic patterns while researchers rely on theoretic constraints and network topology to determine operational strategies that increase throughput. Oftentimes, strategies suggested by scientific research do not reflect the realistic network traffic or travel behaviors during an emergency even though they could fit into theoretic formulas to obtain system efficiency. This critical oversight results in impractical or infeasible operational strategies for practitioners due to discrepancies between actual traffic patterns and simulated evacuation demands. This project brings the established knowledge on network resilience to the next level by developing actionable strategies for decision-makers to support their resource prioritizations to preserve existing infrastructure during an emergency. During an emergency, network volumes are highly dependent on when and where an evacuation order is initiated as residents in the same geographic area evacuate at the same time. This project will investigate the level and type of disruptions (i.e., inundation) of critical links that can cause significant rerouting and rescheduling of evacuation traffic. Demographic characteristics of the evacuees will determine the evacuation destinations, and especially for underserved communities that appear to comply less frequently with evacuation orders due to their lack of resources and awareness. The strategic plans obtained from the study will facilitate decision-making on disaster planning and operation prior-to and during the disaster when the demand and patterns of evacuation movements may greatly change over time. Decision-making that considers the resource allocations to reduce congestion effects while achieving social equity may require a more deliberate strategy by understanding the shift and changes in evacuation activities. The research outcomes will be shared with practitioners, policy-makers, and universities through Workshops, Webinars and Conferences to attract discussions from the transportation operation and management sectors, particularly from the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and other regional MPOs. The findings will strongly support short- and long-term transportation and infrastructure planning for policy makers and planners especially when optimizing maintenance and operation resources for future transportation strategies for disaster operations.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • 22MUTA59


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $106000
  • 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:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Dhasmana, Heena

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Texas at Arlington

    Box 19308
    Arlington, TX  United States  76019-0308
  • Principal Investigators:

    Hyun, Kate

  • Start Date: 20220401
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01844956
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: May 9 2022 11:00AM