Computer simulation-based framework for transportation evacuation in a major trip generator

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Southwest Region University Transportation Center, Center for Transportation Training and Research, Texas Southern University, 2009 - Social Science - 95 pages
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Since emergencies including both natural disasters and man-made incidents, are happening more and more frequently, evacuation, especially transportation evacuation, is becoming a hot research focus in recent years. Currently, transportation evacuation study focuses on evacuating people and property from large areas and does not address the problem of transportation evacuation in a small and dense area. This research is intended to identify the study framework of developing transportation evacuation plans in small and dense areas. Texas Medical Center (TMC), Houston, Texas, is selected as case study in this thesis. Incidents are assumed based on potential threats. Traffic information is collected through filed data collections in the TMC area, and evacuation scenarios with incidents and management improvements are coded and simulated in VISSIM, a microscopic traffic simulation model. Genetic Algorithm is one of the calibration methods for searching multiple parameters at the same time and is used in this thesis to calibrate parameters of driving behaviors in VISSIM by using field collected and simulation data. Based on the simulation results, potential improvements and measurement of effectiveness (MOE) of operations such as Reversed Lane (RL) and In-bound Shuttle (IS) are analyzed and evaluated. Simulation results show that the evacuation would be much more efficient if appropriate operational strategies are implemented. Proper management improvements such as Reversed Lane and In-bound Shuttle could greatly maximize the number of persons/vehicles evacuated in the area. The selected operational plan can efficiently evacuate all persons in the Texas Medical Center in suitable simulation scenario under a given incident assumption. The framework of developing transportation evacuation plan is tested and proven to be effective in the Texas Medical Center. The microscopic simulation based study process is targeted on small and dense areas and it can be used in any other similar areas. It is recommended that further work be conducted to form a comprehensive evacuation plan.

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