Vehicular Route Modelling for Safe Travel during Urban Flooding

Authors: Armita Kar*, Graduate Assisstant, Department of Geography, University of Utah, Thomas J Cova, Professor, Department of Geography, University of Utah
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Transportation Geography
Keywords: Safety, Vehicular Routing, Urban flooding
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Forum Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Ensuring the safety of urban residents while traveling through flood events can be challenging. The goal of this research is to develop a method of identifying safe travel routes during tropical storms and floods. The City of Friendswood, Texas in the Houston metropolitan area is used as a case study, as it was inundated during 2017 Hurricane Harvey. The method considers four topographical and environmental factors: elevation, flood zone, rainfall and flood level as indicators of safety. Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm is applied for modelling the safest, balanced and fastest route. The safest and fastest route respectively use a weighted composite score of safety factors and travel time as impedance values. The balanced routes are designed as an integration of both travel time and safety. The method also incorporated a moderate level of turn penalties to ensure the simplicity of the routes. The study found variation in routes with different impedance factors and a Pareto efficient relationship among the safest, balanced and fastest route for any origin-destination pair in the study area. Application of this method in route planning can provide information to vehicle drivers or users about the relatively safe urban travel routes to minimize losses and injuries.

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