Effects of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy in New Jersey: traffic patterns and highway disruptions during evacuations

Jian Li, Kaan Ozbay, Bekir Bartin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper describes a quantitative analysis of traffic patterns and highway disruptions during Hurricane Irene and Sandy evacuations in New Jersey (NJ). This empirical study is based on multiple traffic and event data collected by various transportation agencies in NJ. In the first part of the paper, the temporal and spatial traffic patterns in NJ during Irene and Sandy evacuations were explored, and a comparative assessment of evacuation departure models was conducted based on the empirical traffic data. In the second part, we explored the frequency and geographic distribution of highway disruptions (vehicle accidents/incidents, incidents such as downed trees or road flooding caused by extreme winds and heavy rains, and highway bottlenecks) during Irene and Sandy evacuations and pre-landfall periods. The empirical patterns observed in this study can be used to improve real-world emergency response operations and evacuation models. The empirical findings may also benefit hurricane evacuation planning in areas with similar circumstances as NJ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2081-2107
Number of pages27
JournalNatural Hazards
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 27 2015

Keywords

  • Evacuation traffic
  • Highway disruption
  • Hurricane
  • Irene
  • Sandy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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