A-RESCUE: An Agent-based Regional Evacuation Simulator Coupled with User Enriched Behavior

Published in Network and Spatial Economics, 2016

Recommended citation: Ukkusuri, S., Hasan, S., Doan, K., Luong, B., Zhan, X., Murray-Tuite, P., Yin, W., 2016. A-RESCUE: An Agent-based Regional Evacuation Simulator Coupled with User Enriched Behavior. Network and Spatial Economics, 17(1), 197-223.


Household behavior and dynamic traffic flows are the two most important aspects of hurricane evacuations. However, current evacuation models largely overlook the complexity of household behavior leading to oversimplified traffic assignments and, as a result, inaccurate evacuation clearance times in the network. In this paper, we present a high fidelity multi-agent simulation model called A-RESCUE (Agent-based Regional Evacuation Simulator Coupled with User Enriched behavior) that integrates the rich activity behavior of the evacuating households with the network level assignment to predict and evaluate evacuation clearance times. The simulator can generate evacuation demand on the fly, truly capturing the dynamic nature of a hurricane evacuation. The simulator consists of two major components: household decision-making module and traffic flow module. In the simulation, each household is an agent making various evacuation related decisions based on advanced behavioral models. From household decisions, a number of vehicles are generated and entered in the evacuation transportation network at different time intervals. An adaptive routing strategy that can achieve efficient network-wide traffic measurements is proposed. Computational results are presented based on simulations over the Miami-Dade network with detailed representation of the road network geometry. The simulation results demonstrate the evolution of traffic congestion as a function of the household decision-making, the variance of the congestion across different areas relative to the storm path and the most congested O-D pairs in the network. The simulation tool can be used as a planning tool to make decisions related to how traffic information should be communicated and in the design of traffic management policies such as contra-flow strategies during evacuations.

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