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This seminar will present ongoing research into how integrated social, natural, and engineered systems can improve life safety under threat of multi-hazards. The targeted scenario is a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, threatening communities along 1,000 miles of the US Pacific Northwest coastline.

Since the mid-1980’s scientific evidence has underscored the possibility of such an extreme event, and it has taken at least another decade or more before public attitudes and policy have begun to adapt to this new hazard. Life safety is a pressing issue for the near-field CSZ tsunami hazard for several reasons.

  • First, there is limited time from the start of the earthquake to when the tsunami arrives to the shore–20 to 30 minutes depending on location–compared to several hours for the case of a distant tsunami across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Second, evacuations will be self-initiated, relying on an individual’s perception of risk and knowledge of correct course of action.
  • And third, unlike other natural disasters such as river floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes which are more easily imagined, the rarity of tsunami events in the U.S. make the tsunami scenario difficult to visualize.

This seminar will present the results of an agent-based tsunami evacuation model to explore how decisions on when to leave, route choice, mode (on foot or by car) and unplanned disruptions affect life safety. This work is applied to case studies: one in Seaside, Oregon and a second at Oregon's South Beach State Park. These projects developed close collaboration with a number of organizations responsible for public safety during the response to extreme natural hazards, including the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Oregon Sea Grant, and internationally.

Biographical Information

Dr. Haizhong Wang is an Associate Professor of Transportation Engineering within the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. Dr. Wang received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Applied Mathematics and Civil Engineering (Transportation), and B.S. and M.S. degrees from Hebei University of Technology and Beijing University of Technology, China. Dr. Wang’s research interests include (1) Interdisciplinary Disaster Resilience: use the ABM framework to evaluate the impacts of heterogeneous decision-making behavior on life safety under unplanned infrastructure network disruptions; (2) Critical Resilient Interdependent Lifeline and Infrastructure Networks: system resilience characteristics and dependency/interdependency modeling; (3) Heterogeneous Traffic Flow Modeling and Simulation: deterministic and stochastic fundamental diagram of traffic flow, hysteresis, and stochastic capacity analysis; and (4) Connected Automated Vehicle (CAV): mobility and safety analysis in a mixed traffic flow environment under varying levels of market penetrations.


Earthquake hazard analysis -- Oregon -- Planning, Subduction zones -- Oregon


Structural Engineering | Transportation Engineering | Urban Studies and Planning

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An Agent-Based Evacuation Model to Improve Safety in the Cascadia Subduction Zone



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