Date of Award


Document Type



Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Qu, Xiuli


Given the approach of a hurricane, U.S. port decision makers are required to follow a set of policies and procedures to evacuate the infrastructure. The effectiveness of such policies can determine the level of damage that the port will experience and have implications on its recovery time. Therefore, the objective of this research is to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of port emergency response and evacuation plans to predictable natural disasters, such as hurricanes. In this research, a computer-based simulation is built to capture a complex port environment in the normal operations and during the hurricane response procedure. Due to the non-static nature of the port environment, this research incorporates dynamic network flow theories into the simulation model to consider the variations in capacity and travel flow rates from one location to another during port evacuation.

Each phase of the port emergency evacuation plan, “Whiskey”, “X-Ray”, “Yankee”, “Zulu”, and “Recovery”, are analyzed to identify the critical and efficient determining actions that must take place for a successful port evacuation. These actions in conjunction with port operational and environmental characteristics, capacity and flow variations, and evacuee behavioral aspects are considered to design a variety of possible evacuation scenarios to evaluate, compare, and quantify port evacuation strategies and xiv identify the impact of environmental factors and port characteristics on evacuation policy effectiveness. The developed simulation model is used to estimate the port productivity and the potential damage in each scenario, which evaluate and quantify the effectiveness of port evacuation plans. The results in this study demonstrate that while the current evacuation policies and procedures are sufficient for most emergency conditions, if the method presented is applied, the effectiveness of evacuation plans could be improved, providing information regarding expected damages and how to reduce them.