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  6. Optimizing Tsunami Evacuation through ICT:

Optimizing Tsunami Evacuation through ICT:

A Proposal towards Co-Developing a Safer Society

November 2016

Senior Research Associate, Ryo Ueda


In this research, an evacuation simulation was conducted with the aim of suggesting measures to optimize tsunami disaster mitigation, using a multi-agent model of Onagawa Town, Miyagi Prefecture, which was affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Based on surveys distributed to the affected individuals, and GIS data and surveys conducted by the Japanese Government and others, a multi-agent model where four types of agents interact was devised. This simulation corresponds comprehensively to actual damage data, and was broadly valid.

Although the timely start of evacuation activities did contribute to decreasing the numbers of disaster victims due to late evacuation, a certain amount of damage was incurred because evacuees did not have a clear, safe evacuation site. For this reason, as an improvement measure, it was indicated that all evacuees could be provided with a smartphone or other smart device to inform them of the most suitable evacuation site, to reduce exposure to risk in the evacuation process.

However, providing all people with a smartphone, and ensuring that they use it, is no simple matter. In light of this fact, this paper proposes a recommendation based on current technological trends and projections for the future. This paper proposes that some smart device owners utilize a projection function to visualize evacuation routes, providing guidance to those around them and ensuring human crowds flow smoothly, thereby enabling the provision of effective evacuation instructions using fewer smart devices. This “Human Centric” social technology could be realized utilizing both the phenomena of the human tendency to adhere to instructions and the functionality of smart devices.

This research proposes that the concept of using the projection functionality of individual smart devices to create a macro-level image as a group, thereby inducing a certain human behavior or to convey a message, has a number of advantages and possibilities, not only in times of disaster but also in everyday life. Toward the realization of such a platform, it is expected that the Internet of Things (IoT) of today will continue to develop into the “Internet of Phenomena” (IoP), which could function to make use of abstract phenomena such as light. With the IoP, it will become possible to co-create functions and "forms" that smart devices would not be able to achieve individually, so that users and those around them can each participate, creating value through the process of this shared task. This paper asserts that in this way, the phenomena of people co-creating real space can be considered a new concept, unique from current VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality), which can be termed "ER" (Emergent Reality). As ER becomes more entwined with peoples’ daily lives, it has the potential to lead to the natural and agile manifestation of a resilient evacuation structure in times of disaster.

More Information

  • The full text of this report is not available in English.
    The original Japanese text is here (3.31 MB ).