Highway congestion during evacuation: examining the household's choice of number of vehicles to evacuate Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Hurricane evacuations in coastal counties have been reviewed and analyzed for the role of household preparedness and decisions before and during a disaster. However, one of the several emerging problems in the hurricane evacuation is transportation. Transportation issues have become more important in coastal evacuations as traffic problems impinge on peoples ability to get out of harms way and ultimately influence their decisions to evacuate. To add to the complexity, when families evacuate in multiple vehicles, it leads to additional vehicular traffic on roads and increased pressure on the transportation systems. However, little has been investigated on the characteristics that influence a households decision to evacuate in one or multiple vehicles. The outcome from such an analysis can help both the emergency managers and the transportation planners to targets groups that report taking more vehicles to develop policies that result in efficient evacuation. This study investigates the responses of evacuees surveyed after Hurricane Rita in the counties of Galveston, Brazoria and Harris County. The ordinary least square regression analysis revealed that access to transportation characteristics of a household such as number of registered vehicles in a household and number of eligible drivers was positively and significantly related to evacuating in more vehicles. Meanwhile, the risk of reaching destination safely was negatively related to taking more vehicles for evacuation even though both the risk index and deterrence index were positively significant. The time of decision and evacuation did not report any statistical significance.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Maghelal, P., Li, X., & Peacock, W. G.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Maghelal, Praveen||Li, Xiangyu||Peacock, Walter Gillis

publication date

  • July 2017