Date of Award

Spring 4-2021

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

Committee Chair

Scott A. Parr

First Committee Member

Christopher D. Grant

Second Committee Member

Hongyun Chen

Third Committee Member

Marwa M.H. El-Sayed


The goal of this research is to better understand the evacuation of a coastal community, the Florida Keys. This will aid in the planning, mitigation, response, and recovery of this community when a hurricane threatens to destroy their homes. To achieve this, a model of the Florida Keys was built in VISSIM, a microscopic traffic flow simulation software, to experiment with different improvement strategies. This process included collecting data about the Florida Keys, building the roadway network of the Florida Keys, calibrating and validating the model, modeling recommendations, and analyzing the outputs when imploring the different improvement strategies. In addition to the current evacuation plan, evacuation by zone, the following strategies were modeled: flashing yellow signals, conflict elimination, contraflow, and emergency shoulder use. From this, it was determined that the modifications to the intersections with traffic control devices – flashing yellow signals and conflict elimination, did not drastically alter the evacuation process. Travel lanes were added when modeling both contraflow and emergency shoulder use, and this reduced delay and the travel time for both individual vehicles and the entire population. All four recommendations improved the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the evacuation process because they reduce idling at either intersections, in queues, or both. Ultimately, it was determined that emergency shoulder use would be the most effective recommendation to implement.