Agent-based Modeling for Recovery Planning after Hurricane Sandy

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Virginia Tech


Hurricane Sandy hit New York City on October 29, 2012 and greatly disrupted transportation systems, power systems, work, and schools. This research used survey data from 397 respondents in the NYC Metropolitan Area to develop an agent-based model for capturing commuter behavior and adaptation after the disruption. Six different recovery scenarios were tested to find which systems are more critical to recover first to promote a faster return to productivity. Important factors in the restoration timelines depends on the normal commuting pattern of people in that area. In the NYC Metropolitan Area, transit is one of the common modes of transportation; therefore, it was found that the subway/rail system recovery is the top factor in returning to productivity. When the subway/rail system recovers earlier (with the associated power), more people are able to travel to work and be productive. The second important factor is school and daycare closure (with the associated power and water systems). Parents cannot travel unless they can find a caregiver for their children, even if the transportation system is functional. Therefore, policy makers should consider daycare and school condition as one of the important factors in recovery planning. The next most effective scenario is power restoration. Telework is a good substitute for the physical movement of people to work. By teleworking, people are productive while they skip using the disrupted transportation system. To telework, people need power and communication systems. Therefore, accelerating power restoration and encouraging companies to let their employees' telework can promote a faster return to productivity. Finally, the restoration of major crossings like bridges and tunnels is effective in the recovery process.



Agent-based modeling, hurricane Sandy, adaptation