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A Multi‐Objective, Multi‐Criteria Approach to Improve Situational Awareness in Emergency Evacuation Routing Using Mobile Phone Data

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Emergency services personnel face risks and uncertainty as they respond to natural and anthropogenic events. Their primary goal is to minimize the loss of life and property, especially in neighborhoods with high population densities, where response time is of great importance. In recent years, mobile phones have become a primary communication device during emergencies. The portability of cell phones and ease of information storage and dissemination has enabled effective implementation of cell phones by first responders and one of the most viable means of communication with the population. Using cellular location data during evacuation planning and response also provides increased awareness to emergency personnel. This article introduces a multi‐objective, multi‐criteria approach to determining optimum evacuation routes in an urban setting. The first objective is to calculate evacuation routes for individual cell phone locations, minimizing the time it would take for a sample population to evacuate to designated safe zones based on both distance and congestion criteria. The second objective is to maximize coverage of individual cell phone locations, using the criteria of underlying geographic features, distance and congestion. In summary, this article presents a network‐based methodology for providing additional analytic support to emergency services personnel for evacuation planning.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography and GeoInformation Science, George Mason University

Publication date: 01 June 2012

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