A Customized Modeling and Simulation Tool for Port and Airport Evacuation and Recovery: An Integrated Tool for Enhancing Preparedness and Response

Supplement: IEEE 2013 Conference on Technology for Homeland Security: Best Papers

ABSTRACT: Awarded Best Paper in the Attack Prep track.

Effective planning for the evacuation of port and airport facilities during or in advance of an event, and for the recovery of normal operations after an event, requires a comprehensive understanding of the potential effects of response decisions, both on the facilities themselves and on the surrounding areas. Only through a coordinated, integrated planning and analysis effort can emergency managers accumulate the appropriate knowledge to make confident decisions.

Response strategies that determine when, where and how passengers and employees evacuate must be objectively evaluated to assess whether sufficient resources have been allocated and appropriate practices put in place to minimize the risk of death and injury. Such evaluations must include consideration of the effects of and to existing conditions on roadways within and surrounding facilities. Further, because any evacuation consists of a combination of pedestrian and vehicle movement, the interactions between these factors must be considered.

In a similar manner, planning for recovery requires a comprehensive analysis of end-to-end movements. In a seaport environment, this includes thorough examination of vessel capacities, tug and pilot resources, berth availability, and terminal throughput, all within the constraints imposed by geography, landside accessibility, and transportation network capacity.

Until recently, this sort of comprehensive analytical effort has not been successfully undertaken. Through its project entitled “Development, Implementation and Maintenance of a Customized Evacuation and Recovery Model and Simulation Tool (CMST),” the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is developing and implementing such a solution. Working in concert with a contractor team led by Delcan Corporation, PANYNJ deployed this solution in July, 2012.

The CMST offers a systematic approach to planning for, and responding to, current and future threats. It involves the application of a suite of modeling and simulation tools to analyze the evacuation of the Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminals (PNEMT) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in the event of a disaster, and the recovery of normal operations at PNEMT after the threat clears. The tool consists of the following three components:

– A road traffic model, overlaying evacuation and recovery vehicles onto existing traffic conditions

– A Pedestrian Evacuation Model (PEM), which establishes the rate at which pedestrians are evacuated from EWR facilities to points where they board vehicles or reach other pre-defined destinations on EWR property

– A harbor model, evaluating the rate at which PNEMT facilities and the Captain of the Port Zone can resume normal operations after an evacuation

The tool consists of a graphical user interface (GUI) through which emergency managers and operations planners can input values for a variety of parameters and execute simulations that provide comparative results. Based on these results, which are presented in terms of measures of effectiveness (MOEs) such as time to evacuate, evacuation rate, and time to recover, the user can assess the effectiveness of various response strategies.

Key to the system’s success is that it does not require modeling or simulation expertise to operate. Users need only have an understanding of response capacity, such as the number of each of various types of vehicles available for evacuation, the number of individuals to evacuate, and the likely distribution of pedestrians between multiple pick-up points.

The CMST represents a first-of-its-kind, integrated planning and operations support tool that has the ability to be customized to model and simulate evacuation and recovery operations at any type of facility. Its successful deployment in the Newark Airport/Port Newark & Elizabeth Marine Terminal complex offers evidence of its value as a decision-support tool.  Download the full article.

Keywords-evacuation, simulation, port, airport, recovery, on-line, near real-time

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Suggested Citation

Belella, Paul A., and Bethann Rooney. “A Customized Modeling and Simulation Tool for Port and Airport Evacuation and Recovery: An Integrated Tool for Enhancing Preparedness and Response.” Homeland Security Affairs, IEEE 2013 Conference on Technology for Homeland Security: Best Papers (April 2014) https://www.hsaj.org/articles/257

This article was originally published at the URL https://www.hsaj.org/?special:article=0.7.2.

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