Community Resilience

Evacuation Planning & Analysis for Disasters

Changes in the global climate and urban populations are increasing the likelihood and magnitude of natural and man-made disasters affecting communities. Such disasters  include wildfires, flooding, and hurricanes which are being reported in locations where such events have not previously occurred, often requiring communities to evacuate to places of safety.

Evacuation of such large numbers of people is a complex process involving the interplay of  residents with emergency services, disaster conditions, and traffic management. Communities susceptible to such disasters often do not have an evacuation plan or if they do, it lacks specific detail and may not have been demonstrated to actually work under a range of scenarios.

Big  Fall Creek Wildfire, US (Marcus  Kauffman, 2017)

Movement Strategies uses cutting-edge evacuation modelling tools and design guidance to support planning/analysis for communities exposed to disasters. Building on our international research contributing to these areas being led by our Research Lead Prof. Steve Gwynne, we are able to model the impact of disasters on the availability of transport corridors (e.g. smoke from wildfire causing blockages) and simulate behavioural responses such as vehicles and people redirecting to alternative evacuation routes.  

Flooded street in St-Joseph du Lac, Quebec

This allows us to assess the performance of the evacuation plans for the transport networks under a range of different evolving scenarios. Where shortfalls are identified, we can use these tools and expertise to test potential changes to urban design or evacuation plans to create a more resilient community evacuation strategy.

We are able to remove the guesswork in urban design for evacuation planning/analysis for disasters. This provides much needed confidence and assurance to authorities and safety advisors in developing resilient evacuation strategies for communities. Find out more about our work in this area by clicking here.


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