Evacuation planning in the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand: a spatio-temporal approach for emergency management and transportation network decisions
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand (pop. 1.5 million) and is situated atop an active monogenetic volcanic field. When volcanic activity next occurs, the most effective means of protecting the people who reside and work in the region will be to evacuate the danger zone prior to the eruption. This study investigates the evacuation demand throughout the Auckland Volcanic Field and the capacity of the transportation network to fulfil such a demand. Diurnal movements of the population are assessed and, due to the seemingly random pattern of eruptions in the past, a non-specific approach is adopted to determine spatial vulnerabilities at a micro-scale (neighbourhoods). We achieve this through the calculation of population-, household- and car-to-exit capacity ratios. Following an analysis of transportation hub functionality and the susceptibility of motorway bridges to a new eruption, modelling using dynamic route and traffic assignment was undertaken to determine various evacuation attributes at a macro-scale and forecast total network clearance times. Evacuation demand was found to be highly correlated to diurnal population movements and neighbourhood boundary types, a trend that was also evident in the evacuation capacity ratio results. Elevated population to evacuation capacity ratios occur during the day in and around the central city, and at night in many of the outlying suburbs. Low-mobility populations generally have better than average access to public transportation. Macro-scale vulnerability was far more contingent upon the destination of evacuees, with favourable results for evacuation within the region as opposed to outside the region. Clearance times for intra-regional evacuation ranged from one to nine hours, whereas those for inter-regional evacuation were found to be so high, that the results were unrealistic. Therefore, we conclude that, from a mobility standpoint, there is considerable merit to intra-regional evacuation.