The importance of emergency response systems cannot be overemphasized today due to the many manmade and natural disasters in the recent years such as September 2001 and the recent Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster. The overall cost of the Japan disaster alone is estimated to have exceeded 300 billion USD. Transportation and telecommunications play a critical role in disaster response and management in order to minimize loss of human life, economic cost and disruptions. Our research is concerned with developing emergency response systems for disasters of various scales with a focus on transportation systems, which exploit ICT developments.
In this paper, we leverage Intelligent Transportation Systems including Vehicular Ad hoc Networks, mobile and Cloud Computing technologies to propose an intelligent disaster management system. The system is intelligent because it is able to gather information from multiple sources and locations, including from the point of incident, and is able to let vehicles make effective strategies and decisions of communication protocols usage. Hybrid vehicular communications based on vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure protocols are opportunistically exploited. The effectiveness of our system is demonstrated through modelling the impact of a disaster on a real city transport environment and comparing it with the case where our disaster management system was in place. We report great benefits derived from the adoption of our proposed system in terms of improved and balanced traffic flow and smooth evacuation.