Evacuation Planning: Human Factors and Traffic Engineering Perspectives

Evacuation Planning: Human Factors and Traffic Engineering Perspectives


R Goldblatt, KLD Associates, US



A key element of emergency planning is evacuation planning. Originally a requirement of the nuclear power industry, evacuation planning has been extended to other venues: This includes chemical plants (especially after the incident in Bhopal, India) and military installations (particularly where chemical or biological weapons are to be destroyed). Now, in what is widely regarded as a changed world with much greater emphasis on emergency planning, evacuation planning is more important than ever.

This paper presents an overview of the evacuation planning process and discusses a number of planning issues. A case study is presented which applies the lessons learned to one of the most important evacuation planning applications in the country: The Indian Point Emergency Planning Zone in New York.

The overview of the planning process discusses the methodology and software utilized during the development of an evacuation plan. Critical issues are discussed including traffic routing, traffic control and their impact upon the evacuation time estimates.

A discussion of the human factor elements of evacuation planning will address the public response to evacuation instructions. Surveys undertaken to assess such human factors issues as household dynamics and family mobilization activities will be discussed. Comparisons of the results of several surveys will be made.

The use of both traffic planning and traffic simulation models in evacuation planning is presented. Planning models which perform trip assignment and trip distribution are used to identify optimal evacuation routing. Traffic simulation models are used to properly represent congested traffic conditions during evacuation and to estimate the time required to clear the area at risk. Comparisons are made between the results obtained through the use of both microscopic and macroscopic traffic simulation models used to develop the evacuation time estimates.

The Indian Point Emergency Planning Zone evacuation time estimates are presented to integrate the transportation and human factors discussions. A full evacuation of the area surrounding the Indian Point facility moves approximately 300,000 vehicles over a 9 hour period. Computer animation of the evacuation traffic flow is presented to display the effects of traffic congestion on the movement of vehicles.


Association for European Transport