In response to both natural and man-made disasters,emergency evacuation aims to move a large disaster affected population through a multimodal transportation network towards safer areas quickly and efficiently. For this to be executed in a successful manner, the emergency evacuation process will require cautious planning from an integrated system level perspective, various scenarios with dynamic traffic assignment (DTA), real valid data inputs and state of the art analytical software that allow for a more accurate simulation based analysis of the transportation network system being evaluated. In this study, geographic data from MDOT was used to create the highway network model. DTA models DYNASMART-P and DynUST were employed to develop operational strategies for the state transportation agencies to be more prepared for an emergency evacuation in the Greater Jackson area in Mississippi. The program Nexta was used to build the network model in DYNASMART-P and DynUST. Figure 1 shows the highway networks. Figure 2 shows the scenario in which different amounts of traffic evacuated from southeast Louisiana due to an approaching hurricane and was simulated to analyze the potential impacts of these evacuating vehicles. The blue arrow lines signify the evacuation production area. The classic gravity model was applied to distribute the evacuation trips on the network model using TransCAD 5.0 software. Finally DYNASMART-P and DynUST programs were employed to assess the influence of the evacuation traffic on individual highways, streets, and intersections.
The research results have shown that the operational strategies developed for emergency evacuation has potential for cost reduction, and significant impact in the reduction of congestion on highways during emergency situations. Although the project was demonstrated in an area in Jackson, Mississippi, it does have significant implications at the regional and national levels in providing pathways to a more effective use of our highway networks during emergency evacuation situations.