EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

This project was awarded in response to the research proposal solicitation offered through the North Carolina A&T State University Transportation Institute's Urban Transportation Institute (UTI).

 

The major focus of the research project was to model transit issues associated with hurricane evacuation planning.  However, the specific objectives were to use a traffic operations based hurricane evacuation model to determine the expected time to evacuate the entire population; identify the locations of the potential traffic bottlenecks; and assess traffic operation strategies aimed at mitigating the resulting congestion.  Since some sectors of the population, specifically the elderly and disabled, may not be able to evacuate by their own means, this project also presents a methodology to determine the scheduling of buses to be used for that purpose.  The methodology is presented in the form of case studies that analyze the use of buses during a hurricane evacuation of a small urban and rural area located in the state of North Carolina.

 

There are many observations, conclusions and recommendations that surfaced from this research project.  They include general comments to very specific suggestions aimed at enhancing travel speed and lowering travel time for specific evacuees within a small urban and rural area.  In order to implement many of the items contained in this report, which we feel is needed in a comprehensive evacuation plan, several general observations and recommendations can be made.

 

First, mobility and accessibility of the under-represented population residing in both small urban and rural hurricane-prone areas will be enhanced. And second, institutional arrangements and inter-agency coordination between small urban and rural transit providers and other emergency responsive agencies located within the surrounding jurisdiction will also be improved.  A lot can be gained in terms of minimizing loss of life during a natural disaster by providing alternative evacuation routing strategies prior to the actual disaster taking place. Interagency communication is critical to proving optimal evacuation success.

 

The need to evaluate multiple scenarios through simulated evacuation crises management environment cannot be over emphasized as it will provide initial training and knowledge base for the events that will unfold.  

 

Implementation Statement

 

The results of the completed work consist of modeling transit issues unique to hurricane evacuations in small urban and rural areas located in the state of North Carolina.  Particular emphasis is placed on identifying transit options needed to assist underrepresented populations such as the elderly and disabled, who maybe, in some ways, captive without transportation means or limited in terms of evacuation means.  The value of this research is in its ability to provide North Carolina's small urban and rural emergency management agencies and officials with a practical methodology that facilitates local disaster planning and preparedness efforts regarding the movement of underrepresented citizens during evacuations.