Forecasting Shelter Accessibility and Vehicle Availability for Hurricane Evacuation in Northern New Jersey Using Sample Enumeration

November 2012 (VOL. 30, NO. 3)

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As a part of a statewide effort to update county emergency management plans and to develop regional mass evacuation plans for New Jersey’s four planning regions, this study developed and used a methodology to forecast mode-specific and destination-specific evacuees and measure the accessibility of evacuees to shelters and evacuation vehicles at the level of census tracts for a seven-county region. The paper presents a discussion on certain critical issues pertaining to the prediction of evacuation behavior, and provides results from explanatory and forecasting models on evacuation likelihood as well as results from parsimonious forecasting models on mode choice and destination choice of evacuees. It presents county aggregates of total evacuees, mode-specific evacuees, and shelter-bound evacuees obtained by integrating the model results with spatial data from secondary sources. It further shows the level of access to shelters and evacuation vehicles at the level of census tracts by combining evacuee forecasts with data on shelters and evacuation vehicles. Finally, it shows the potential impact of a shelter-in-place advisory on the evacuee forecasts.