Survey analysis for evacuee preferences on real-time traffic monitoring systems in Texas
Relocating large populations from at-risk locations to safe areas using existing road networks in a timely manner is a challenge faced by many transportation agencies in regions exposed to hurricanes. Residents may react disparately to evacuation orders based on their past experiences and the information that they receive. Real-time traffic monitoring devices may assist with evacuations by alerting operators to traffic congestion or roadway incidents such as disabled vehicles, which may block evacuation routes and impact the safety and efficiency of the evacuation event. Evacuees may rely on real-time traffic information to make evacuation decisions and select their routes and destinations. To better understand their perceptions and usage of traffic monitoring devices during past hurricane evacuations, an online survey was distributed via email and social media, targeting Texas residents who were exposed to previous hurricane events in the state. Survey questions were designed to learn about the demographics of evacuees, common issues encountered during past Texas hurricane evacuations, the usage of traffic monitoring devices, and suggestions for traffic monitoring system improvements. A total of 1,398 valid responses were received, and the results indicate that certain demographic groups may be more likely to evacuate compared to other groups. The results also suggest that improved traffic data quality and accessibility may increase the likelihood for residents to evacuate and improve evacuation efficiency.