Modeling and Assessing Crossing Elimination as a Strategy to Reduce Evacuee Travel Time
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During evacuations, emergency managers and departments of transportation seek to facilitate the movement of citizens out of impacted or threatened areas. One strategy they may consider is crossing elimination, which prohibits certain movements at intersections, that may be permissible under normal operating conditions. A few previous studies examined this strategy in conjunction with contra-flow operations, but fewer have considered crossing elimination by itself. This study helps fill the existing gap in knowledge of the individual effects of crossing elimination. A bi-level model that iterates between optimization and simulation is developed to determine the optimal configuration of intersection movements from a set of pre-specified possible configurations for intersections in a given area. At the upper level, evacuees' travel time is minimized and at the lower level, traffic is assigned to the network with the traffic assignment-simulation software DynusT. The overall model is solved with a simulated annealing heuristic and applied to a real case study to assess the impact of crossing elimination. Three scenarios are developed and examined using the solution method proposed in this research. These scenarios are developed using combinations of two elements: (1) Evacuee destination distributions, and (2) Evacuee departure time distributions. Results showed about 3-5 percent improvement in total evacuee travel time can be achieved in these scenarios. Availability of through movements at intersections and existing merging points in movement configurations are the two factors influencing the selection of movement configurations.
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