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VMASC Shows Off Hurricane Evacuation Simulation to Washington Lawmakers

Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) is part of a team of agencies "invading" Capitol Hill this week, to demonstrate the capabilities of the technology.

VMASC is part of the delegation being led by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation. A dozen project simulations will be demonstrated for Senators today and Congressmen on Thursday.

The center's researchers will demonstrate its simulation model of an evacuation of the Hampton Roads area in advance of a hurricane of different category strengths.

The model, funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of Preparedness, simulates the evacuation of more than 900,000 residents of Hampton Roads, via six different routes at any given time. The model incorporates growth in population figures and current flood zone mapping by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also accounts for the inevitable congestion that will occur with traffic accidents and incidents such as motorists running out of fuel.

It's safe to say traffic would be backed up at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

VMASC executive director Mike McGinnis says the ability to forecast how a catastrophic event would play out is a valuable tool for creating plans and policy.

"By modeling existing and proposed infrastructures, we can explore a wide range of threat scenarios from both man-made and natural disasters and discover new methods and techniques for protecting society," McGinnis notes.

This article was posted on: February 3, 2009

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