Using Geographic Information Systems for the determination of Evacuation Routes following a Catastrophic Earthquake in the Greater Vancouver Regional District
The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) in southwestern British Columbia (BC), Canada, is currently at risk of a high-magnitude earthquake. An earthquake off the coast of BC would result in tremendous loss of life by primary earthquake effects (eg. ground shaking) and secondary earthquake effects (eg. slope failure and tsunami innundation) (Roger, 1992; Clague, 2002; Rabinovich & Stephenson, 2004; Adams et al., 2010). The auditor general of BC (2014) concluded that their emergency response plan is insufficient in the case of an earthquake as their level of preparedness is not defined. British Columbians are in need of management tools to improve their earthquake preparedness. The purpose of this study is to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) as a tool to identify evacuation routes away from high-risk zones within the GVRD; these high-risk zones are determined by considering physical and societal factors related to earthquakes. Methodologies and findings of this study include Multi-Criteria Evaluation (MCE) models, which identify areas from high to low physical geographic and societal risk; as well as Least-Cost Pathway Analysis (LCPA), which identifies optimal evacuation routes based on existing roads. The evacuation routes identified ultimately guide the population to safe inland cities, such as Abbotsford and Mission.