|M.Sc Student||Marom Ido|
|Subject||Travel Patterns During Disaster Evacuation|
|Department||Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering||Supervisor||Professor Tomer Toledo|
|Full Thesis text|
Disasters have been part of our world for as long as humanity existed. In recent years an increase in the frequency as well as size of the affected areas is being observed. It is imminently clear that the ability to predict what demands on the transportation network will look like, is crucial in order to enable emergency response forces to handle such situations.
The effect disasters have on human behavior might change according to culture, accumulated experience, socio-demographic characteristics, as well as the event’s characteristics. Hence, the study of behavior during disaster evacuation needs to consider a wide variety of situations. The most studied element in the field is the evacuation propensity, subject to different socio-demographic and event characteristics. A large portion of these studies deals with hurricanes or use stated reference data in order to investigate no-notice events.
On Thursday November 24th, 2019 at 10:05 a fire broke in the city of Haifa. 60,000 residents were urged to evacuate their homes by the next day. During the consequent months, a web survey was distributed intended to shade light upon the forces and motivations for travel during these kinds of events. Respondents to the survey were asked about their and their entire household members’ whereabouts during the fire and evacuation.
Similarly to other researches, the influence of different socio-demographic characteristics on the propensity of evacuation was examined. Some factors, such as risk and the presence of children in the household were found (as previously mentioned) to increase the tendency to evacuate. Other factors, such as gender, that were previously found as influential, turned out as insignificant in this case. It is apparent that evacuation is just one of several behaviors that take place during a disaster, such as: gathering together in order to travel in groups, waiting for the event to unfold, passing through home or picking up people. Hence, the decision to evacuate cannot be simply defined for one specific point in time or examined out of context for specific individuals.
Social interaction takes a vital rule during disaster evacuation. People tend to travel together during disasters. This was found to be true for all individuals, regardless of their household composition, and increasingly for the second and onward leg of their journey, in comparison with the first leg. A non-trivial amount of this observed joint travel involves also individuals outside the household, which raises the need to understand and evaluate a broader social sphere. Social interactions take many forms, as is evident from the data collected: some of them, such as stopping at one’s home, may be regarded as a household task. Child pick-up, which was considered a household task, turned out to be more complicated: a significant portion of the children have left school accompanied by individuals from outside their own households. It is evident that the child pick-up process is non-trivial and cannot be simply be divided among adult household members.