The integration of research and practice is particularly well exemplified in this project. Since transportation is an applied field, both professionals and researchers stand to benefit from transferring research into practice. This, in fact, was the Research Team's overall goal for this project. Additionally, outlined below are the expected results, research benefits, and a few recommendations in terms of future research efforts that should be pursued as a result of this particular project.


Expected Results


The expected results that relate to this research are twofold. 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. The results of this study demonstrate that 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.


Research Benefits


Below are the research benefits that precipitated from conducting this research and they are:


        Developed a methodology to model the use of transit activities during an emergency evacuation.


        Automate the determination of total en-route travel time as a function of departure time.


        Enhanced travel speed and lower travel time for specific evacuees within Elizabeth City and Louisburg.


        Perform sensitivity analysis on various traffic management approaches to complement the use of buses in mitigating congestion.


        Enhance disaster management coordination and planning for small urban and rural transit providers as well as other emergency responsive agencies.


        Enhance the mobility and accessibility elderly and disable residents residing in small urban and rural hurricane-prone areas.


Further Research


Generally speaking, further research is an approach used to extend the boundaries that have been set by the research project. Regarding this project, some recommended follow on research efforts are:


        Model the use of new technologies and traffic management initiatives to examine their usefulness relative to the subject matter;


        Examine the impact various bus assignments (buses are scheduled to stop at several pick-up points before exiting the network) will have on congestion levels, evacuation time, and travel speed; and


        Model evacuation times for the entire state (urban and rural areas) based on modifications to the selection criteria (e.g., definition of population at risk, area population concentration, etc.).