Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



While traffic planning is important for developing a hurricane evacuation plan, vehicle performance on the roads during extreme weather conditions is critical to the success of the planning process. This study was designed to lay a foundation for modeling driving behavior and vehicle performance as an assessment tool in the decision making process for planning evacuation routes during hurricane and tropical storms. The study explores how the parameters of a driving simulator could be modified to reproduce wind loadings experienced by three vehicle types (a passenger car, an ambulance, and a bus) during gusty hurricane winds, through manipulation of appropriate software. Thirty participants were then tested on the modified driving simulator under five wind conditions (ranging from “wind-free” to hurricane category 4). The driving performance measures used were heading error and lateral displacement. The results showed that higher wind forces resulted in more varied and greater heading error and lateral displacement. The ambulance had the greatest heading errors and lateral displacements, which were attributed to its large lateral surface area and light weight. Mathematical models were developed to estimate the heading error and lateral displacements for each of the vehicle types for a given change in lateral wind force. Through a questionnaire, participants felt the different characteristics while driving each vehicle type. The findings of this study demonstrate the valuable use of a driving simulator to model the behavior of different vehicle types, and to develop mathematical models to estimate and quantify driving behavior and vehicle performance under hurricane wind conditions.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Ishak, Sherif