Joint modeling of evacuation departure and travel times in hurricanes

Abstract

Hurricanes are costly natural disasters periodically faced by households in coastal and to some extent, inland areas. A detailed understanding of evacuation behavior is fundamental to the development of efficient emergency plans. Once a household decides to evacuate, a key behavioral issue is the time at which individuals depart to reach their destination. An accurate estimation of evacuation departure time is useful to predict evacuation demand over time and develop effective evacuation strategies. In addition, the time it takes for evacuees to reach their preferred destinations is important. A holistic understanding of the factors that affect travel time is useful to emergency officials in controlling road traffic and helps in preventing adverse conditions like traffic jams. Past studies suggest that departure time and travel time can be related. Hence, an important question arises whether there is an interdependence between evacuation departure time and travel time? Does departing close to the landfall increases the possibility of traveling short distances? Are people more likely to depart early when destined to longer distances? In this study, we present a model to jointly estimate departure and travel times during hurricane evacuations. Empirical results underscore the importance of accommodating an inter-relationship among these dimensions of evacuation behavior. This paper also attempts to empirically investigate the influence of social ties of individuals on joint estimation of evacuation departure and travel times. Survey data from Hurricane Sandy is used for computing empirical results. Results indicate significant role of social networks in addition to other key factors on evacuation departure and travel times during hurricanes.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to National Science Foundation for the Grant CMMI-1131503 to support the research presented in this paper. A number of questions used for the survey questionnaire were derived from earlier research on the Hurricane Sandy evacuation done by Dr. Hugh Gladwin and Dr. Betty Morrow supported by National Science Foundation Grants CMMI-1322088 and CMMI-1520338. The survey was conducted by Dr. Hugh Gladwin of Florida International University. However, the authors are solely responsible for the findings presented in this study.

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Correspondence to Satish V. Ukkusuri.

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Gehlot, H., Sadri, A.M. & Ukkusuri, S.V. Joint modeling of evacuation departure and travel times in hurricanes. Transportation 46, 2419–2440 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116-018-9958-4

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Keywords

  • Hurricane evacuation
  • Departure time
  • Travel time
  • Joint modelling
  • Social networks