Congratulations to Caroline, Victor and Pascal – PAIS’14 best paper award

Published on August 21, 2014

Evacuation Planner

The paper “NICTA Evacuation Planner: Actionable Evacuation Plans with Contraflows” received the best paper award at the Prestigious Applications of Intelligent Systems conference (PAIS’14), Prague.

The NICTA Evacuation Planning project provides emergency services with tools to plan and schedule large scale evacuations. It can plan and simulate the evacuation of 80,000 people in a couple of minutes, enabling better planning and response capabilities.

The tools developed by the Optimisation Research Group will be presented during the NICTA Technology Showcase (Aug. 29, Melbourne).


Evacuations are a critical aspect of disaster management, and generally the first prevention measure to ensure the safety of persons under the threat of a forthcoming disaster. Designing evacuation plans is a complex task that requires to take into account multiple factors to limit congestion and ensure that all evacuees reach safety in time. In this work, we propose a conflict-based path-generation heuristic that models contraflows and a web-based intelligent system targeted at local authorities and emergency services. The contributions of this paper are threefold: first, we propose the first scalable approach to produce actionable evacuation plans that simultaneously plan the evacuation and select contraflow roads; second, we present NICTA Evacuation Planner, a user oriented tool to model, plan, and simulate evacuations; finally, we illustrate the benefits of contraflows on two large-scale case studies.