June 9, 2010 From left: Professor Baher Abdulhai, award-winning PhD candidate Hossam Abdelgawad and the Honourable Rob Merrifield, Canadian Minister of State for Transport.
U of T Engineering student Hossam Abdelgawad
(CivE) received the Young Researcher of the Year Award 2010 at the International Transport Forum, the leading global mobility summit, held in Leipzig, Germany on May 27. The 27-year-old PhD candidate was recognized for his study of mass evacuations of major cities in the event of a catastrophe.
The paper Abdelgawad delivered, Managing Large-Scale Multimodal Emergency Evacuations
, co-authored by U of T Engineering Professor Baher Abdulhai
(CivE), addresses a growing concern that large-scale evacuations of urban centres may becomes necessary, especially in light of recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the undetonated car bomb on New York’s Time Square on May 1, 2010. “The numerous catastrophes that menace major communities accentuate the need for proper planning for emergency evacuation,” explained Abdelgawad. “My research focuses on coordinating, controlling and optimizing the utilization of the existing transportation network capacity.”
A breakthrough towards efficient evacuation of major emergencies in cities, Abdelgawad’s proposed framework integrates car-based and mass transit based evacuations. Using a large-scale model for the City of Toronto, he successfully tested a simulated evacuation with rapid transit, buses and automobiles. Abdelgawad’s first step was to design a “demand estimation model” to accurately quantify the evacuation demand by calculating the mode of transport
(drivers vs. transit users) over time
(of day the crisis begins) over space
(location). The output was then fed into two optimizing platforms. The first is the “Optimal Spatio-Temporal Evacuation model” (OSTE), which coordinates the evacuation scheduling, route choice and destination choice for vehicular traffic. The second, a new variant of the “Vehicle Routing Problem” (VRP), optimizes routing and scheduling for mass transit. The results of the study concluded that 1.2 million people using cars could be evacuated in close to two hours and that a transit-dependent population of 1.34 million can be efficiently evacuated within two hours.
“We congratulate Hossam Abdelgawad on this exciting award,” said Professor Brenda McCabe
, Chair, Department of Civil Engineering. “The fact that his engineering scholarship is being recognized internationally provides further evidence of the strong reputation of our Transportation group and of U of T as a world-class university.”
Added Professor Cristina Amon
, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, “His internationally lauded research illustrates the innovative PhD candidates that U of T Engineering counts among our community of scholars. We are tremendously proud."
Follow the link to read more about Abdelgawad's work as reported by NEWS @ the University of Toronto