Responding to the Unexpected: Development of a Dynamic Data Driven Traffic Operation Model for Effective Evacuation

Principal Investigator(s):

Henry Liu, Former Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Recent natural and manmade disasters around the world have demonstrated the need for effective evacuation traffic management to maximize use of the transportation system. This research responded to this need for innovative evacuation operation strategies and evaluation of current evacuation planning models with advanced traffic models. The goal of this project was to advance the current state-of-the-art evacuation modeling from the planning stage to real-time and dynamic-operation stages by developing a suite of conceptual, analytical, and simulation models that were expected to function as real-time online tools for evacuation traffic management. To "squeeze" the spare capacity out of the current traffic network system and fully utilize the available network capacity within the evacuation time window, the researchers proposed to develop a system optimal model that can generate time-dependent evacuation routes and intersection control strategies to minimize the total evacuation time. The computer model would be able to take dynamic inputs, such as road closures, into consideration and generate solutions quickly. The transportation network of downtown Minneapolis was used in the model for testing purposes. The research team developed the analytical model that can provide the above functionalities and coded the theoretical model into computer software, which will provide a user-friendly graphical interface.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2007045
  • Start date: 09/2006
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Data and modeling, Security