Analysis of Freight Movement Within Regional Evacuations

Analysis of Freight Movement Within Regional Evacuations
Evangelos I. Kaisar, Ph.D. (PI)
Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering
Florida Atlantic University
Scott Parr, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Proposal Summary and Objectives

Natural disasters are one of the most common emergency events in the United States. Florida is a state that frequently suffers from such events, specifically hurricanes. As the number of major hurricanes increases, the need to ensure resilient freight movement in the wake of a disaster is ever present. Unfortunately, as a major storm approaches, evacuating traffic represents a significant disruption to freight logistics. At a moment when cargo shipments are vital to prepare for and recover from a regional national disaster, freight transportation operates at a diminished capacity. The high demand for essential goods, compounded by a hindered ability to move these goods, constitutes a significant vulnerability on a national level. This research seeks to explore freight movements before, during, and after an emergency evacuation in support of identifying lessons learned and best-practices for future planning. The goal of this research is to build upon the prior knowledge and expand the scientific understanding of freight movements on the surface transportation network before, during, and immediately following a regional evacuation and major hurricane. The research goal will be achieved by investigating the movement of goods along Florida’s trucking routes in the weeks leading up to and following the September 10, 2017 landfall of Hurricane Irma. The 2017 evacuation from Hurricane Irma has been referred to as the largest evacuation in the history of the United States. Approximately 6.5 million Floridians were placed under either mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders (Marshall, 2017). This event undoubtedly had a significant impact on the freight movements across the state. The proposed research will take an empirical approach to quantitatively describe the movement of freight during this disrupted period to investigate what happened and what can be learned for future events.

Funding Amount: $100,000
Status: Active
Duration: Sep 1, 2019 - Jul 30, 2020