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Open AccessArticle

Optimization of Evacuation Warnings Prior to a Hurricane Disaster

School of Economics and Management, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin 150001, China
Industrial and Systems Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2152;
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 18 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 22 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disasters, Crisis, Hazards, Emergencies and Sustainable Development)
The key purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that optimization of evacuation warnings by time period and impacted zone is crucial for efficient evacuation of an area impacted by a hurricane. We assume that people behave in a manner consistent with the warnings they receive. By optimizing the issuance of hurricane evacuation warnings, one can control the number of evacuees at different time intervals to avoid congestion in the process of evacuation. The warning optimization model is applied to a case study of Hurricane Sandy using the study region of Brooklyn. We first develop a model for shelter assignment and then use this outcome to model hurricane evacuation warning optimization, which prescribes an evacuation plan that maximizes the number of evacuees. A significant technical contribution is the development of an iterative greedy heuristic procedure for the nonlinear formulation, which is shown to be optimal for the case of a single evacuation zone with a single evacuee type case, while it does not guarantee optimality for multiple zones under unusual circumstances. A significant applied contribution is the demonstration of an interface of the evacuation warning method with a public transportation scheme to facilitate evacuation of a car-less population. This heuristic we employ can be readily adapted to the case where response rate is a function of evacuation number in prior periods and other variable factors. This element is also explored in the context of our experiment. View Full-Text
Keywords: hurricane disaster; evacuation warning; risk communication; evacuation decision-making; hurricane evacuation planning hurricane disaster; evacuation warning; risk communication; evacuation decision-making; hurricane evacuation planning
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Sun, D.; Kang, J.E.; Batta, R.; Song, Y. Optimization of Evacuation Warnings Prior to a Hurricane Disaster. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2152.

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