Software will improve hurricane planning and evacuation
Many lives and dollars could be saved if emergency managers could make better decisions when faced with an approaching hurricane. Now, MIT student Michael Metzger, who works with Professor Richard Larson of CEE and the Engineering Systems Division, has developed a computer model that could help do just that. Metzger’s software could help emergency managers decide early on whether and when to order evacuations, and to do so more efficiently by evacuating people in stages according to population category. The tool could also help planners optimize the location of relief supplies before a hurricane hits. By analyzing data from 50 years of hurricanes and detailed information on several major ones, and by comparing the information available as a hurricane approached with data from the actual storm’s passage, Metzger produced software that provides a scientifically consistent framework for planning. Metzger, who is a research assistant in the Engineering Systems Division and a Ph.D. student in the Operations Research Center, received a second-place award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for this work. Read more.