Pedestrian evacuation modeling to reduce vehicle use for distant tsunami evacuations in Hawai'i

Tsunami waves that arrive hours after generation elsewhere pose logistical challenges to emergency managers due to the perceived abundance of time and inclination of evacuees to use vehicles. The authors use coastal communities on the island of O'ahu (Hawaii, USA) to demonstrate regional evacuation modeling that can identify where successful pedestrian-based evacuations are plausible and where vehicle use could be discouraged. The island of Oʻahu has two tsunami-evacuation zones (standard and extreme), which provides the opportunity to examine if recommended travel modes vary based on zone. Geospatial path distance models are applied to estimate population exposure as a function of pedestrian travel time and speed out of evacuation zones. The use of the extreme zone triples the number of residents, employees, and facilities serving at-risk populations that would be encouraged to evacuate and slightly reduces the percentage of residents (98–76%) that could evacuate in less than 15 min at a plausible speed (with similar percentages for employees). Areas with lengthy evacuations are concentrated in the North Shore region for the standard zone but found all around the O'ahu coastline for the extreme zone. The use of the extreme zone results in a 26% increase in the number of hotel visitors that would be encouraged to evacuate, and a 76% increase in the number of them that may require more than 15 min. Modeling can identify where pedestrian evacuations are plausible; however, there are logistical and behavioral issues that warrant attention before localized evacuation procedures may be realistic.


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  • Accession Number: 01669140
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 17 2018 4:27PM