Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Evacuation software finds best way to route millions of vehicles

14.06.2007
Yi-Chang Chiu wants to move people efficiently — lots of people, millions of people — in response to a terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Suppose, for instance, that a disaster occurred in Southern California and suddenly 700,000 vehicles headed for the Arizona border" How would transportation officials generate the best traffic management strategy to cope with the traffic"

One very good option would be to use the computer simulation package that Chiu, an assistant professor in The University of Arizona Civil Engineering Department, has been developing since 1995, when he was a graduate student at the University of Texas in Austin.

"Solving large-scale evacuation problems is overwhelming," Chiu said. "No one can just sit down with a map and draw lines and figure out the best answer to problems like these."

No single plan or even series of plans is sufficient, he added. "We're not focusing on a script because a disaster scenario is very unpredictable. You can't have one plan that fits all situations, and you can't evaluate hundreds of scenarios or your 'plan' will end up looking like a phone book."

Instead, Chiu and his colleagues have focused on developing software that can react to a situation in real time, adjusting as conditions on the ground change.

Planning on the Fly "If we're reacting to a hurricane, we have 72 hours to plan," he said. "But what if an unforeseen disaster occurs" We need to make a decision in 15 minutes."

The software package depends on detailed traffic census data that is collected by state and city transportation departments in conjunction with real-time traffic surveillance data. "The cars aren't just randomly placed on the streets in our simulations," he said. "We know where every car has come from, where it's at and where it's headed, and vehicle movements follow rigorous traffic flow theories. So the simulation is very realistic. It's not just a random process."

It's also very complicated. The software considers decisions each driver might make on factors such as when to leave, which route to take, if they listen to radio reports and change their route, if they are slowed by congestion and change routes, or if they react to freeway message boards that carry routing advisories.

Responding to Airborne Hazards The model also can be combined with an air-plume dispersion model to predict how traffic will respond to airborne hazardous material.

"We have a scenario that says a refinery caught fire and every 30 minutes the wind plume is progressing according to the wind speed and temperature," Chiu said. "So we can calculate the health risk. In the case of an extremely toxic substance, we can also calculate the number of casualties and where they will occur."

The model isn't finished when the disaster ends. It also has post-disaster applications. For instance, Chiu and his colleagues analyzed a high-rise, multi-level interchange in El Paso, Texas where I-10 and US 54 meet.

If that interchange were completely destroyed, what would be the immediate and long-term impact to the city and what would be the best scenario for recovery"

"If you have only limited funds or time, which project will do the most good for recovery"" Chiu asked. "Do you open I-10 first or US 54" The model allows us to make those kinds of after-disaster recovery decisions based on the detailed, day-to-day traffic-flow data that has been collected by the City of El Paso and the projected traffic patterns from the model."

Value Pricing on Toll Roads Chiu and his colleagues also have used the software to model what's called "value pricing" on toll roads. The idea is to use a sliding toll scale to manage congestion. When traffic increases, the toll notches up incrementally to a maximum amount. This information is broadcast to drivers in various ways, with the hope that they will choose a different route, use public transit or delay their trip.

"The real research focus here is to develop a fair method for calculating tolls," Chiu said. "It can't be arbitrary or people won't accept it. You need to do very careful planning."

The traffic software, which Chiu and others began building line-of-code by line-of-code back in 1995, has undergone several software engineering cycles since then and now is a mature product that will soon be ready for state transportation and emergency medical agencies.

The next generation of the software, which is now under development, is called MALTA (Multi-Resolution Assignment and Loading of Traffic Activities). It is being designed to run even faster, to handle networks with much larger sizes, and to respond minute-by-minute to real-time emergencies. Instead of running on a single computer, it employs parallel processing, in which several computers work together on the problem. The National Science Foundation and Arizona Department of Transportation are funding the development and field testing of MALTA.

Johnny Cruz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.arizona.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Deep Learning predicts hematopoietic stem cell development
21.02.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone
16.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>