EESA Success Stories
Advanced Evacuation Modeling Using TRANSIMS
Since 9/11, strengthened security measures and the availability of new methodologies for emergency scenario modeling are needed. Argonne's Transportation Research and Analysis
Computing Center (TRACC) and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force are creating a complex model of
the Chicago Metropolitan Area to simulate the progress and impact of emergency evacuations
from the Chicago Business District.
To successfully model a large urban area like Chicago, while microsimulating on a second-bysecond
basis the escape movements of all individuals in order to help city officials create a plan
to evacuate the city and save as many lives as possible.
TRANSIMS models are used for complex and
detailed simulations of the highly dynamic
effects of evacuations on the underlying
transportation system, and can include the
response to radiological dispersion patterns to
optimize evacuation routes.
Using TRANSIMS (Transportation Analysis and
Simulation System), a set of travel software
modeling procedures, researchers have simulated
the activities surrounding the evacuation modeling
project, building the model's major components
using TRACC's high-performance computing cluster.
Northern Illinois University (NIU) students have
worked on data acquisition and verification under
the direction of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency
Special methodologies have been developed to
modify TRANSIMS' normal traffic forecasting
features so they can be applied to more dynamic
A comprehensive evacuation traffic model has
been developed that is being continually improved
in subsequent evacuation modeling projects. The
road network and trip data has been implemented
in TRANSIMS and the functionality of the major
components has been verified. Researchers are
now working to detect and eliminate modeling
artifacts and to improve and correct the road network coding. NIU students are using satellite
imagery, aerial photography, and direct observations to improve the accuracy of the road
network and its topology. Additional software is being developed to manage the large amounts
of data and to run different scenarios on TRACC's high-performance computing cluster.
"TRANSIMS allows emergency responders to evaluate regional emergency response
plans with regards to their feasibility, and to fully consider the complex interactions of
evacuations with the available transportation systems and response strategies," said
TRACC researcher Young Soo Park.
- Poster: Advanced Evacuation Modeling Using TRANSIMS (pdf)