Pedestrian flow-path modeling to support tsunami evacuation and disaster relief planning in the U.S. Pacific Northwest

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
California State University, Sacramento, Department of Geography; State of Washington Military Department, Emergency Management Division; Binghamton University, Department of Geography
By: , and 



Successful evacuations are critical to saving lives from future tsunamis. Pedestrian-evacuation modeling related to tsunami hazards primarily has focused on identifying areas and the number of people in these areas where successful evacuations are unlikely. Less attention has been paid to identifying evacuation pathways and population demand at assembly areas for at-risk individuals that may have sufficient time to evacuate. We use the neighboring coastal communities of Hoquiam, Aberdeen, and Cosmopolis (Washington, USA) and the local tsunami threat posed by Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes as a case study to explore the use of geospatial, least-cost-distance evacuation modeling for supporting evacuation outreach, response, and relief planning. We demonstrate an approach that uses geospatial evacuation modeling to (a) map the minimum pedestrian travel speeds to safety, the most efficient paths, and collective evacuation basins, (b) estimate the total number and demographic description of evacuees at predetermined assembly areas, and (c) determine which paths may be compromised due to earthquake-induced ground failure. Results suggest a wide range in the magnitude and type of evacuees at predetermined assembly areas and highlight parts of the communities with no readily accessible assembly area. Earthquake-induced ground failures could obstruct access to some assembly areas, cause evacuees to reroute to get to other assembly areas, and isolate some evacuees from relief personnel. Evacuation-modeling methods and results discussed here have implications and application to tsunami-evacuation outreach, training, response procedures, mitigation, and long-term land use planning to increase community resilience.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Pedestrian flow-path modeling to support tsunami evacuation and disaster relief planning in the U.S. Pacific Northwest
Series title International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
DOI 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2016.05.010
Volume 18
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Western Geographic Science Center
Description 15 p.
First page 41
Last page 55
Country United States
State Washington
City Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Hoquiam
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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