Using agent-based modeling to evaluate the effects of Hurricane Sandy’s recovery timeline on the ability to work

Hurricane Sandy greatly disrupted the New York City (NYC) region’s transportation systems, electric power systems, work locations, and schools in 2012. This study uses survey responses from NYC Metropolitan Area residents to develop an agent-based model that depicts commuter travel behavior and adaptation after the disruption. Six scenarios were tested to quantify which systems were more critical to recover for an earlier return to productivity - defined as the ability to work for one’s employer. The recommended system restoration order depends on the pattern of normal commuting behavior. In the NYC Metropolitan Area, a larger share of commuters use transit to commute than in any other US metropolitan area. This resulted in the model indicating the subway/rail system recovery as the most important factor for returning the most people to productivity. The second most important factor is widespread power restoration itself, which allows residents to telework while waiting for the transportation system to recover. The next most important factor is the reopening of schools and daycares (with associated infrastructure systems), freeing parents to commute. The remaining expedited system recovery scenarios tested using the agent-based model resulted in a faster return to productivity than the baseline, but to a lesser degree than the subway/rail, power, and childcare systems scenarios. Additional analysis of recovery shows that households with higher annual income benefit more from power recovery compared to those with lower incomes. Moreover, the effectiveness of recovery scenarios can differ based on residential location and the extent of disruption in that location.


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  • Accession Number: 01717622
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 23 2019 3:05PM