Title: Modelling communication network effect on emergency evacuation times: public vs. personal

Authors: Michael E. Long; Patrick N. Morabito; Bernard P. Brooks; Jennifer L. Schneider

Addresses: CFC Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, 54 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623, USA ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology, 9 Buttonwood Circle, Fairport, NY 14450, USA ' School of Mathematical Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, 85 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623, USA ' Civil Engineering Technology, Environmental Management and Safety Department, College of Applied Science and Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, 78 Lomb Memorial Drive (B82), Rochester, NY 14623, USA

Abstract: Unexpected, catastrophic events initially result in anxiety and confusion. The congestion of pedestrians and vehicles further exacerbates the already turbulent environment. This uncertainty results in a chaotic site of victims, curiosity seekers, emergency responders, and mere transient individuals. Initial public announcements are often delayed, inaccurate, and met with skepticism and disbelief. However, interpersonal communications, although potentially less accurate, may have a greater influence on behaviour. With this in mind, an agent-based model was developed that included vehicle movement on roadways with traffic lights and stop signs, a disaster site, evacuation sites, and communication systems consisting of both public broadcast and personal communication networks. As an extension of earlier work, we explored the effect of the public announcement control variables and contrasted the results with those from a personal communication network. In addition, the model is thoroughly explored, explained, and shown to demonstrate the potential for improved site evacuation via personal communication networks, i.e., cell phones.

Keywords: communication systems; personal networks; evacuation times; risk management; business continuity; emergency evacuation; rumours; cell phones; mobile phones; public announcements; communication networks; emergency responders; modelling; agent-based models; agent-based systems; multi-agent systems; vehicle movements; traffic lights; stop signs; disaster sites; evacuation sites; personal communications; emergency response, emergency management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBCRM.2012.051867

International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management, 2012 Vol.3 No.4, pp.306 - 326

Available online: 31 Jan 2013 *

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