New manuscript on evacuation

Murray-Tuite, P., L. Schweitzer, S. Liu. 2009. “Impacts of Family Responsibilities and Car Availability on Household No-Notice Evacuation Time.” 14 p.

Available for download here.

The family gathering phenomenon is a critical evacuation consideration. Recently, researchers have placed greater emphasis on capturing household member interactions for emergencies, but most of these efforts have not specifically addressed associated gender issues. This paper examines the impact of gender-based family gathering responsibilities on family evacuation delay from the optimal conditions for a hypothetical no notice event during school hours. This study uses initial results of an original interview data collection effort addressing home and work locations, pre-evacuation actions, and family gathering responsibilities, among other considerations. Many of the women with appropriately aged children indicated responsibility for collecting them. The impact of assigning gathering responsibilities to a single parent on household evacuation time is determined using a nonlinear integer program that assigns activity chains, meeting locations, and final destinations so as to minimize household evacuation time in a multimodal transportation network. The effects of car availability are also examined for a sample household in Chicago Heights. The number of and locations of dependents were also varied as well as whether one parent stayed at home or both parents worked. If only one vehicle was available and with the parent further from the dependents, household evacuation time could substantially increase (e.g. double), especially if the family did not unite prior to arriving at the final destination. Consideration of gathering behavior, household responsibilities, and persons dependent on transit will lead to more accurate evacuation models that help emergency agencies make better decisions and potentially save lives.