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Modeling a spatiotemporal distribution of stranded people returning home on foot in the aftermath of a large-scale earthquake

Abstract

On the day of the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake (2011), all rail services in the Tokyo Metropolitan area were paralyzed, amid substantial confusion. Consequently, over 3 million persons were unable to return home on that day. Some, unable to contact their families, felt uneasy and set out to return home on foot. Main roads were seriously congested with cars and people, and the use of emergency vehicles was also obstructed. In this paper, we construct several models that describe decision-making and behavior of individuals attempting to reach home on foot in the wake of a devastating earthquake. The proposed models are calibrated using data taken from questionnaire surveys and person-trip surveys, addressed to occupants of the Tokyo Metropolitan area. We attempt to simulate the movement of individuals having decided to return home on foot and demonstrate the spatiotemporal distribution of those who might be exposed to city fires on their way home in the context of such an event.

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Acknowledgments

This research is part of an effort supported by a Grant-in-Aid (21310105) from the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Health (MEXT) and a Labor Sciences Research Grant, Scientific Research (B). A portion of this paper was originally presented at the CUPUM conference (Osaragi and Tanaka 2011). The author would like to give his special thanks to Mr. Satoshi Tanaka for computer-based numerical calculations.

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Correspondence to Toshihiro Osaragi.

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Osaragi, T. Modeling a spatiotemporal distribution of stranded people returning home on foot in the aftermath of a large-scale earthquake. Nat Hazards 68, 1385–1398 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-012-0175-8

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Keywords

  • Decision-making
  • Fire risk
  • Spatiotemporal distribution
  • Person-trip survey
  • Difficulty in returning home
  • Neural network model
  • Simulation model
  • Travel behavior