Blocking roads to increase the evacuation efficiency

Olga Huibregtse, Andreas Hegyi, Serge Hoogendoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In order to evacuate as many people as possible in case of an approaching disaster, evacuation plans have to be made in advance. These plans usually consist of optimized traffic flows. Theoretically, these flows lead to an efficient evacuation, but in practice evacuees will most probably not behave like these flows without any intervention. This difference is partly caused by evacuees using roads that are unused in the optimized traffic flows case. In this paper, a new approach is investigated that can be applied to approach these flows during an evacuation: blocking the roads (i.e., making the roads inaccessible) that have a flow equal to zero in the optimal traffic flows. This approach is expected to be effective because the people are forced to behave in the direction of the optimized traffic flows. In a case study, this approach turns out to be effective. For two different cases, the efficiency of the evacuation (a function of the arrivals) improves with respectively 10.0% and 13.4% when the zero-flow links are blocked compared with an evacuation without any intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Advanced Transportation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • blocking roads
  • efficiency
  • evacuation
  • traffic flows

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