Protective Actions in the Modern Information Environment: Agent-Based Modeling of Hurricane Evacuation Decisions
To better understand how information moving through digital and non-digital social networks affects risk assessment and decisions to take protective actions, we have developed an agent-based model (ABM) implementation of Lindell and Perry's (2012) Protective Action Decision Model (PADM) in the context of an approaching tropical cyclone. Simulations of our ABM are run on the well-known NetLogo platform. Unlike previous ABMs of short-term behavioral responses to hurricanes -- which have studied, for example, the feasibility and logistics of evacuating specific locations -- this model instead focuses on the information acquisition and cognitive processes that influence agents' decisions to take protective actions. This model is focused on helping researchers (in both social science and meteorology) to explore decision-making in the modern information environment in a virtual laboratory that can simulate the days leading up to a hurricane landfall.
The current version is an abstract (rather than semi-realistic) ABM of social processes, but is designed to be integrated with computational models of tropical cyclones and related storm surges as part of the NSF-supported Communicating Hazard Information in the Modern Information Environment (CHIME) project. The model has been calibrated initially using published social science survey data about protective actions during hurricane events -- and will be further refined with input from social media studies (e.g., Twitter) and focus groups.