Corridor-Based Emergency Evacuation System for Washington, D.C.: System Development and Case Study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - station, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, infrastructure - traffic signals, organisation - management, mode - bus, mode - subway/metro, mode - pedestrian


Washington (District of Columbia), Union Station (Washington, District of Columbia), Traffic signal timing, Traffic signal settings, Settings (Traffic signals), Routing, Rapid response (Emergencies), Pedestrians, Metropolitan areas, Evacuation, Emergency preparedness, Emergency management, Emergency evacuations, Emergencies, Disasters and emergency operations, Disaster preparedness, Conurbations, Contraflow operations (Emergencies), Contraflow lanes, Case studies, Bus transit operations, Bottlenecks


The evacuation of large municipal areas in an efficient manner during emergencies and disasters is one of the critical tasks of emergency management agencies. This paper presents a corridor-based emergency evacuation system and an example application of the system for the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The proposed system features flexibility by accounting for various critical issues associated with both planning and real-time operations, including the integration of data from multiple sources, network decomposition, network-level traffic routing, contraflow design, staged evacuation, optimal signal timing, and the incorporation of pedestrian and bus operations. Under a hypothetical emergency scenario for Union Station in Washington, D.C., the proposed system demonstrated its effectiveness at producing evacuation routing strategies, identifying potential bottlenecks, and evaluating the performance of evacuation operations.