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Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
TransCAD, Evacuation Planning, Dynamic Traffic Assignment
Disasters, ranging from manmade events to natural occurrences, can happen anywhere on the planet, and their consequences can range from economic loss to catastrophic loss of life. Determining how the transportation system fares in the face of these disasters is important so that proper planning can take place before, rather than after, an event has happened. Modeling the transportation system gives operators the ability to discover bottlenecks, to determine the possible benefit of using lane reversals, and to find out the influence of evacuation speed on system efficiency. Models have already been created that are able to model some of these types of disasters with some level of accuracy. These models range from microscopic simulation to regional, macroscopic models. This research examines how an off-the-shelf regional modeling software package, TransCAD, can be used to model emergency evacuations. More specifically, this thesis presents four case studies involving three different types of disasters in Western Massachusetts. Because this research documents a first-hand experience using TransCAD in emergency evacuation planning, the results give regional modelers the ability to modify their models to fit their specific region. These case studies demonstrate how the modified inputs and existing portions of the four-step transportation planning model can be used in place of the usual data demands of the software. Dynamic traffic assignment is used in three of the case studies while the fourth case study uses static traffic assignment. An evaluation of the software package along with lessons learned is provided to measure the performance of the software.