Tsunami vertical-evacuation (TVE) refuges can be effective risk-reduction options for coastal communities with local tsunami threats but no accessible high ground for evacuations. Deciding where to locate TVE refuges is a complex risk-management question, given the potential for conflicting stakeholder priorities and multiple, suitable sites. We use the coastal community of Ocean Shores (Washington, USA) and the local tsunami threat posed by Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes as a case study to explore the use of geospatial, multi-criteria decision analysis for framing the locational problem of TVE siting. We demonstrate a mixed-methods approach that uses potential TVE sites identified at community workshops, geospatial analysis to model changes in pedestrian evacuation times for TVE options, and statistical analysis to develop metrics for comparing population tradeoffs and to examine influences in decision making. Results demonstrate that no one TVE site can save all at-risk individuals in the community and each site provides varying benefits to residents, employees, customers at local stores, tourists at public venues, children at schools, and other vulnerable populations. The benefit of some proposed sites varies depending on whether or not nearby bridges will be functioning after the preceding earthquake. Relative rankings of the TVE sites are fairly stable under various criteria-weighting scenarios but do vary considerably when comparing strategies to exclusively protect tourists or residents. The proposed geospatial framework can serve as an analytical foundation for future TVE siting discussions.
Additional publication details
Tsunami vertical-evacuation planning in the U.S. Pacific Northwest as a geospatial, multi-criteria decision problem