Application of TRANSIMS for theMultimodal Microscale Simulation of theNew Orleans Emergency Evacuation PlanFinal Reportsubmitted to the:United States Department of TransportationFederal Highway AdministrationOffice of Planning1200 New Jersey Ave., SEWashington, DC 20590by:Brian Wolshon, Ph.D., P.E., P.T.O.E.Professor, Louisiana State University andDirector, Gulf Coast Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliencyin collaboration with:Joseph Lefante, Hana Naghawi, Thomas Montz, and Vinayak Dixit, Ph.D.Louisiana State UniversityJohn Renne, Ph.D., Patrick Haughey, Ph.D., and Wendel DufourUniversity of New OrleansDepartment of Civil and Environmental EngineeringLouisiana State UniversityBaton Rouge, LA 70803Submitted:July 20, 2009

New Orleans Evacuation TRANSIMS StudyDraft Final ReportTable of ContentsEXECUTIVE SUMMARY .7Background and Motivation for the Study. 7Study Goals and Objectives . 8Methodology . 8Network Construction . 9Synthetic Population . 9Modeling Departure Time and Destination Choice . 10Calibration and Validation . 10Simulation of Transit Evacuation . 11Strengths . 12Recommendations . 12CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION .13Problems of Evacuation Transportation Analysis and Motivation for this Study . 13Difficulties of Evacuation Transportation Simulation . 15Limited Use of TRANSIMS . 16Study Goals and Objectives . 16Methodology . 16Base Model Development . 17Base Model Validation and Review . 18CHAPTER 2. NETWORK CONSTRUCTION .19Data Sources . 19Network Development and Verification Programs and Files . 20Network Construction and Editing Process . 21Network Layout . 24Network Verification and Repair . 25Network Geometry . 25Links and Nodes . 27Contraflow . 29CHAPTER 3. POPULATION SYNTHESIS .31Data Sources and Assumptions. 32Land Use Data. 41Coding and Execution Process . 50Output and Results . 52Future Synthetic Population . 53CHAPTER 4. GENERATION OF EVACUATION TRAVEL ACTIVITY.55Page 1

New Orleans Evacuation TRANSIMS StudyDraft Final ReportClassification of Evacuees . 55Group 1 – Independent Self Evacuators . 58Group 2 – Dependent Self Evacuators . 58Group 3 – Dependent Non-Self Evacuators . 58Travel Movements Assumptions . 59Modeling Departures . 60Assignment of Departure Time . 60Assignment of Departure Destination . 63CHAPTER 5. TRANSIT-BASED EVACUATION MODELING .64Background . 65Carless and Special Needs Evacuation Planning in New Orleans, Louisiana . 65Methodology and Results . 66Transit Evacuation Plans Data Collection . 67Tourist Evacuation . 68Jefferson Parish Publicly Assisted Evacuation Plan . 69Coding Transit Evacuation Plans in TRANSIMS . 70Results . 87Conclusion . 93CHAPTER 6. MODEL CALIBRATION AND VALIDATION .94Data Sources . 94Procedure . 97Results . 98General Speed Flow Relationships . 98Comparison of Volumes . 99Data Analysis . 107CHAPTER 7. MICROSIMULATION RESULTS AND ANALYSES .122Analysis of Route Segments . 122Segment-Specific Qualitative Results . 125Effects of Ambient Traffic . 129Directional Volume Comparison . 130Speed and Flow Conditions . 132Summary of Findings . 137CHAPTER 8. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .139Network Construction . 140Population Synthesizer . 141Modeling Departure Time and Destination Choice . 141Calibration and Validation . 142Simulation of Transit Evacuation . 143Strengths . 143Page 2

New Orleans Evacuation TRANSIMS StudyDraft Final ReportRecommendations . 144Future Work . 144REFERENCES .146APPENDIX A .148APPENDIX B .158Page 3

New Orleans Evacuation TRANSIMS StudyDraft Final ReportList of FiguresFigure 1. GISNet control file code to convert coordinate referencing . 22Figure 2. TransimsNet control file code to convert coordinate referencing . 22Figure 3. GISNet script file for converting speed, classification and directional information . 23Figure 4. Project road network. 24Figure 5. TRANSIMS geometric and control interpretation of the . 26Figure 6. Actual Jefferson Highway/Clearview Parkway intersection configuration . 26Figure 7. Revised link-node geometry and control for the . 28Figure 8. Verification of the revised Jefferson Highway/Clearview Parkway intersection . 29Figure 9. Example of LBCS Four Digit Coding System . 35Figure 10. LBCS Function Codes Used to Identify Land Use for Each Development Site . 36Figure 11. Metro New Orleans and Vicinity Land Use . 42Figure 12. RPC Data and Land Use Color Classifications . 45Figure 13. The RPC Land Use Color Classification Legend . 45Figure 14. Jefferson Parish Parcel Data . 46Figure 15. The Jefferson Parish Land Use Color Classification Legend . 46Figure 16. USGS Digital Ortho Quarter Quads (DOQQs) . 47Figure 17. Pictometry of Commercial and Main Streets (pre \ post Katrina) . 48Figure 18. Pictometry for Residential, Multifamily and Commercial Areas . 48Figure 19. PopSyn Control File Code . 51Figure 20. PopSyn Execution Batch File Code . 51Figure 21. PopSyn.prn Output File (Household Model). 52Figure 22. PopSyn.prn Output File (Household Summary) . 53Figure 23. Temporal Cumulative Evacuation Outbound Traffic Distribution . 61Figure 24. LA DOTD New Orleans Area Data Collection Stations . 62Figure 25. Study Methodology . 67Figure 26. Orleans Parish Pick-Up Locations. 68Figure 27. Jefferson Parish East Bank Transit Evacuation Routes . 69Figure 28. Jefferson Parish West Bank Transit Evacuation Routes . 70Figure 29. Coding Methodology . 71Figure 30. Orleans Parish Transit Evacuation Routes . 75Figure 31. Tourist Evacuation Route . 76Figure 32. Jefferson Parish Transit Evacuation Routes . 77Figure 33. Orleans & Jefferson Evacuation Routes . 79Figure 34. New Orleans Evacuation Response Curve Created by TRANSIMS . 85Figure 35. Tourist Evacuation Response Curve Created by TRANSIMS . 85Figure 36. Transit Ridership/ Orleans Parish . 91Figure 37. Transit Ridership/ Jefferson Parish . 91Figure 38. Tourist Transit Ridership . 92Figure 40. Speed and Volume Trend Comparisons . 99Figure 41a. Comparison of Observed and Simulated Volumes - I-10 (WB) @ Laplace . 108Figure 42a: Comparison of Volumes - US-61 (WB) @ Laplace . 111Page 4

New Orleans Evacuation TRANSIMS StudyDraft Final ReportFigure 43: Comparison of Volumes - US-190 (WB) @ Denham Springs . 113Figure 44. Comparison of Traffic - US 190 (WB) @ Denham Springs . 114Figure 45. Comparison of Total Westbound Traffic . 115Figure 46a: Comparison of Volumes - I-59 (NB) @ LA/MS Border . 116Figure 47a. Comparison of Volumes on I-55 (NB) @ Fluker . 118Figure 48a. Comparison of Volumes - US-90 (WB) @ Centerville . 120Figure 49. LA DOTD Southeastern Louisiana Regional Evacuation Plan . 123Figure 50. LA DOTD Southeastern Louisiana Regional Evacuation Plan . 124Figure 51. Volume vs. Time Comparison for Segment 3 . 126Figure 52. Volume vs. Time Comparison for Segment 5 – Contraflow Lanes . 127Figure 53. Volume vs. Time Comparison for Segment 5 – Normal Flow Lanes . 128Figure 54. Volume vs. Time Comparison for Segment 6 . 129Figure 55. Volume vs. Time Comparison – US-190 near Baton Rouge . 130Figure 56. Spatio-temporal Distribution of Speed on Westbound Segments . 132Figure 57. Spatio-temporal Distribution of Speed on Segment 2 - Contraflow . 133Figure 58. Spatio-temporal Distribution of Volume on Westbound Segments . 134Figure 59. Spatio-temporal Distribution of Volume on Westbound Segments . 135Figure 60: Spatio-temporal Distribution of Speed on Northbound Segments . 135Figure 61: Spatio-temporal Distribution of Speed on Segment 5 - Contraflow . 136Figure 63: Spatio-temporal Distribution of Volume on Northbound Segments . 136Figure 64. Spatio-temporal Distribution of Speed on Eastbound Segments . 137Figure 66: Spatio-temporal Distribution of Volume on Eastbound Segments . 137Page 5

New Orleans Evacuation TRANSIMS StudyDraft Final ReportList of TablesTable 1. SF 3 1990 and 2000 Population and Housing Table Names . 38Table 2. SF 3 2000 Data Field and Respective TRANSIMS Data Field Identifier . 38Table 3. PUMS Household and Person Data Fields Extracted for Use in Population Synthesizer. 40Table 4. Data Sources . 44Table 5. Evacuee Classification Groups . 56Table 6. Evacuee Classification Group Sizes . 57Table 7. Evacuee Travel Direction . 63Table 8. Sample Route Header File . 72Table 9. Evacuation Routes Headways . 72Table 10. Sample Route Nodes File . 73Table 11. Activity Survey Assumptions . 80Table 12. New Orleans Household Matching Script . 82Table 13. Tourist Household Matching Script . 82Table 14. North Location Choice Scripts . 83Table 15. MSY Location Choice Scripts . 83Table 16. Seven Leg Plan Example . 88Table 17. Estimated Number of Buses . 93Table 18. LADOTD Data Station Observed Evacuation Volume . 96Table 19.Westbound Traffic . 101Table 20. Westbound Traffic . 102Table 21. Westbound Traffic . 103Table 22. Eastbound Routes . 104Table 23. Northbound Routes . 105Table 24. Southbound Routes . 106Table 25. Number of Evacuees based on direction of evacuation choice . 107Table 26. Error Percentage between at 8 hour intervals for Westbound Routes . 113Table.27. Error Percentage for Eastbound Routes at Station 67. 116Table 28. Error Percentage at 8hour intervals for Northbound Route at Station 15 . 118Table.29. Error Percentage at 8hour intervals for Southbound Route at Station 88 . 120Table 30. Total Traffic Volume at All Eastbound Stations . 131Table 31. Total Traffic Volume at All Westbound Stations . 131Page 6

New Orleans Evacuation TRANSIMS StudyDraft Final ReportExecutive SummaryFollowing the obvious failings to effectively evacuate the low-mobility populations from NewOrleans for Hurricane Katrina, state and local officials in Louisiana as well as their federalcounterparts, developed a revised evacuation plan for the region that includes a much greaterusage of public transit resources. The 2006 post-Katrina New Orleans City Assisted EvacuationPlan relies on busses, trains, and even airplanes to ferry out elderly, infirm, tourists, andeconomically disadvantaged residents of the city using a complex relay system that spansbetween various modes and locations. Although officials are confident that the new plan willeliminate much of the delays and suffering experienced by these low-mobility individuals, at thetime of this research and development project the plan was not yet complete and had never beentested or evaluated to any degree. The city assisted evacuation plan for New Orleans is one ofthe cornerstones of the city‟s emergency preparedness position to assist the elderly, sick, andpoor. However, it had never been used, practiced, or even simulated and no one knew how wellor even if it will actually work.In this project the Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS) was applied foremergency transportation planning and analysis. In this effort, the TRANSIMS platform wasused to develop a transportation model to simulate the travel processes associated with anevacuation of the New Orleans Louisiana metropolitan region. Given the temporal and spatialscales of mass evacuations, it was theorized that the scalability and level of detail afforded by theTRANSIMS program would make it an ideal system to model, test, and evaluate evacuation andother emergency transportation plans. In fact, given the capabilities of the program, it is quitesurprising that it has not been used more extensively in the past for city-level emergencytransportation plan development and evaluation purposes.Background and Motivation for the StudyThe large, obvious, and continuing transportation system failures observed in the recentevacuations associated with Hurricane Floyd in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina in 1999;Hurricane Ivan in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2004; and Hurricane Rita in Houston in 2005have led to significant efforts on the part of the United States Department of Transportation(USDOT) to assist hurricane-threatened states better manage and prepare for future massevacuations. One area where transportation preparedness efforts have lagged behind, however,is in the area of detailed multimodal emergency transportation modeling and simulation.The current state-of-practice for the planning and management of evacuations has been largelybased on lessons learned in prior events and the failures identified in prior evacuations. Whilethere is a large and detailed body of knowledge in the areas of evacuation behavioral patterns,decision-making, and travel patterns (origins and destinations), there has been a virtual absenceof research, analysis, and modeling in emergency traffic operations in general and in multimodalemergency transportation in specific. Over the past 10 years, simulation efforts have beenundertaken in several states to analyze and mitigate the traffic impacts associated with massevacuation. However, all of this work has been limited to the vehicle-based highway mode, mostnotably in the area of freeway contraflow.Page 7

New Orleans Evacuation TRANSIMS StudyDraft Final ReportThe first Louisiana efforts to manage evacuation traffic were undertaken as a direct result thevery public failings of the 2004 Ivan evacuation. Although severely limited by the capabilities ofexisting models, the simulation study had an enormous impact on the enhancements incorporatedfor the 2005 hurricane season less than a year later. The overwhelming successes of thehighway-based evacuation for Hurricane Katrina can be traced directly to the 2004 modelingeffort. Despite these successes there nevertheless have remained enormous and glaringshortcomings in the ability to model evacuations, most notably in terms of the size and durationof the simulations and the lack of an ability to model pedestrians, transit, or any other beyond thebasic vehicular-based highway mode.Study Goals and ObjectivesThe overall goal of the project was to apply the TRANSIMS transportation analysis system tomodel and analyze the emergency transportation plan for the New Orleans metropolitan region.Through this work, the effort also sought to achieve the following objectives:demonstrate the power and utility of the system for emergency transportation analysis,illustrate how and where certain aspects of the system are best suited for particularanalyses, andassist state and local-level transportation agency personnel to become acquainted with thesystem and realize it greater potential for the modeling and analyses of both emergencyand routine transportation system analysis.MethodologyThe project was undertaken within a two-phase model development process. The first was thedevelopment of a baseline condition model and the second was the modification of this “BaseModel” to reflect the multimodal regional evacuation plan that was developed after HurricaneKatrina. It sought to recreate the conditions that existed in the study area at the time ofHurricane Katrina. After the Base Model was coded and verified, its output was validated. Thevalidation process was based on the distribution of outbound evacuation traffic volumesthroughout the metropolitan New Orleans region. The “ground-truth” volume distributionpatterns that served as the basis of comparison came from data recorded during the Katrinaevacuation by the LA DOTD.In the second phase, the Base Model was used to evaluate the city assisted plan by coding theproposed bus routes and assisted evacuee movements currently anticipated in Orleans andJefferson Parishes. These future evaluation efforts will focus on frequently posed questions ofinterest to emergency management officials, including:How long will a total evacuation take?What will travel times be for evacuees who depart at different times during the evacuationprocess, heading to different destinations, and using different routes or modes?When should contraflow be started and ended and where should it be used?What happens if a route(s) is blocked by an incident, flood, train crossing or drawbridgeopening?Should evacuees be given specific guidance or required to use specific routes to theirdestinations?What changes should be made to the plan if the storm size, strength, speed, and/or approachdirection changes?Page 8

New Orleans Evacuation TRANSIMS StudyDraft Final ReportPerhaps more significantly, the results of the model runs will be used to answer questions ofwhat can be done to make these issues less of a problem in future events. This may includechanges to the plans themselves, the need for additional resources, modifications to the timingand manner in which evacuations are ordered, etc.Network ConstructionThe New Orleans network was modeled using an iterative process of model building, errorchecking, and network modification. In the initial development step, a Metropolitan PlanningOrganization (MPO) level TransCAD network of the New Orleans region and GIS data ofadditional highways and interstates around New Orleans were imported into TRANSIMS.Network construction also required the assignment of detailed attribute data to all the links in thenetwork including numbers of lanes, function classifications, and operating speeds as well. Forexample, in addition to the basic layout of the road network, it was also necessary to representthe junctions between roads accurately. This included not only correct intersection andinterchange ramp configurations, but the number of lanes on these ramps and app

tested or evaluated to any degree. The city assisted evacuation plan for New Orleans is one of the cornerstones of the city‟s emergency preparedness position to assist the elderly, sick, and poor. However, it had never been used, practiced, or even simulated and no one knew how well or even if it will actually work.