Evacuation route selection based on tree-based hazards using light detection and ranging and GIS

Debra F. Laefer, Anu R. Pradhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Falling trees pose a great hazard to the safe and uninterrupted use of the road transportation system during storm events. The present process of manually identifying potentially hazardous trees is laborious and inefficient. This paper presents a novel methodology for automating the tree threat identification process by using airborne laser altimetry data and a geographical information system (GIS). This methodology has the potential to be used for selecting the best possible evacuation routes based on tree hazards. The proposed method harnesses the power of spatial analysis functionality provided by existing GIS software and high-quality, three-dimensional (3D) data obtained from an airborne laser scanning system. This paper highlights the benefits related to using: (1) Height calculation of tall objects; (2) identification of hazardous objects; and (3) object identification from irregular 3D light detection and ranging point data over the currently employed manual methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Transportation Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Evacuation
  • Geographic information systems
  • Hazards
  • Highway maintenance
  • Highway safety
  • Transportation management
  • Trees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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