Research Reports

Contraflow Transportation Network Reconfiguration for Evacuation Route Planning

Principal Investigator:

Shashi Shekhar, Sangho Kim

June 2006

Report no. Mn/DOT 2006-21

Projects: Decision Support System for Evacuation Route-Schedule Planning: Determining Optimal Network Configuration

Topics: Planning, Traffic Modeling and Data

Given a transportation network having source nodes with evacuees and destination nodes, we want to find a contraflow network configuration, i.e., ideal direction for each edge, to minimize evacuation time. Contraflow is considered a potential remedy to reduce congestion during evacuations in the context of homeland security and natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes). This problem is computationally challenging because of the very large search space and the expensive calculation of evacuation time on a given network. To our knowledge, this paper presents the first macroscopic approaches for the solution of contraflow network reconfiguration incorporating road capacity constraints, multiple sources, congestion factor, and scalability. We formally define the contraflow problem based on graph theory and provide a framework of computational structure to classify our approaches. A Greedy heuristic is designed to produce high quality solutions with significant performance. A Bottleneck Relief heuristic is developed to deal with large numbers of evacuees. We evaluate the proposed approaches both analytically and experimentally using real world datasets. Experimental results show that our contraflow approaches can reduce evacuation time by 40% or more.

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