Response, Emergency Staging and Communications, Uniform Management, and Evacuation (R.E.S.C.U.M.E.) is a DMA bundle of applications that targets the improvement of traffic safety and mobility during crashes and other emergencies that affect the highway network. Within the R.E.S.C.U.M.E bundle, the Emergency Communications for Evacuation (EVAC) application provides travelers information on traffic and road conditions; location of available lodging; and location of fuel, food, water, cash machines, and other necessities to assist with an evacuation. By providing this information, EVAC strives to enable evacuees to reach destinations faster, to reduce overall congestion and delay, and to reduce the number of stops for refueling. Potential impacts of EVAC were assessed through the application of a simulation model of the Greater New Orleans region, as if key aspects of the connected vehicle system had existed under the Katrina evacuation scenario of August 2005.
The New Orleans regional evacuation traffic model was calibrated using actual mass evacuation traffic counts from Hurricane Katrina, courtesy of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s (LA DOTD) traffic data collection stations.
Seven simulation scenarios were developed, including a base scenario and six additional strategy scenarios in which EVAC functionality or a combination of functionalities were modeled. The functionalities modeled in scenarios included information on traffic and road conditions, location of available lodging, and location of fuel, food, water, cash machines, and other necessities. The sensitivity of the potential benefit of the EVAC functionality was examined by simulating it under three levels of EVAC market penetration: 15 percent, 25 percent, and 50 percent.
- The percentage of time congested decreased by about 20 percent for all penetration rates.
- The wait time for transit services was reduced by over 90 percent for EVAC-equipped evacuees.
- At 50 percent penetration, fuel-related breakdowns were reduced by more than 50 percent.
- On average, evacuees seeking lodging experienced a 2-hour travel time benefit.