Preparing for hurricane season is imperative in Florida. In the event of a major hurricane and subsequent evacuation, the Florida Department of Transportation should be prepared with a plan to mitigate hurricane evacuation travel demand. When vehicles are gridlocked on Florida’s roadways, people are unable to escape. FDOT needed to better understand evacuation travel conditions in order to prepare for mitigation strategies and avoid gridlock.
Kittelson ran the statewide travel demand model in conjunction with an evacuation model to simulate likely travel conditions during a hurricane, including hard shoulder running and contraflow for north and westbound movements. The model analyses gave FDOT an understanding of how varying mitigation strategies impacted the traffic flow during an evacuation.
Prior to the 2017 hurricane season, FDOT was able to plan for evacuation traffic mitigation strategies. These strategies were adopted in Florida’s Emergency Management Plan. Kittelson’s modeling efforts provided FDOT with the information needed to effectively plan for shoulder use for emergency evacuations.