Optimizing Mill Valley’s Wildfire Evacuation Plan for Maximum Efficiency

Discovering a Better Way to Evacuate in an Emergency

Damien Pierce, Software Engineer, and John Anderson, Senior Research Director at Google Research, have teamed up with the city of Mill Valley, California to test and improve their evacuation plan for emergencies.

What is an Evacuation Plan?

Some communities, like Mill Valley, have an evacuation plan in place in case of natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, or wildfires. In such cases, it is essential to have a plan to get people out of harm’s way and save lives.

Studying Mill Valley’s Evacuation Plan

The city asked Google Research to help them improve their fire evacuation plan.

What Did They Find?

Here’s a short summary of their findings. Marin County, where Mill Valley is located, has homes in hilly areas divided only by one direction that leads to the town. Google found that part of their first plan was effective, but they needed to make some changes to maximize efficiency.

How Did They Conduct Their Study?

Google tried out different plans and models by using a simulation called Strength Unity Massive Operation (SUMO). They determined that it is possible to evacuate faster than the original plans. However, there is room for improvement. They figured out that if one household uses one vehicle, the traffic flow would improve.

What’s Next?

Summing up, it is important for the city to make changes to their plan to enhance traffic patterns based on Google’s findings. With these new adjustments, the people of Mill Valley will be safer in an emergency.

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