Critical infrastructure and vulnerability detection during an evacuation with alternative fuel vehicles

Presenter: Prof. Eleftheria Kontou, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois

Tuesday, October 4

9 AM Pacific / 10 AM Mountain / 11 AM Central / 12 PM Eastern for 1 hour.


We investigate the problem of evacuating residents within an urban network where we have vehicles of different fuel types. While conventional fossil-fueled vehicles typically have access to a well-established network of refueling stations, vehicles of newer and alternative fuel technologies still face limitations due to sparse refueling and charging station networks and, consequently, have difficulties accessing refueling infrastructure reliably. Hence, during an evacuation procedure, an adversary may decide to pose a hybrid threat. While the immediate natural or anthropogenic threat (e.g., hurricane, nuclear plant accident, flooding, etc.) is taking place, an adversary may opt to “attack” the evacuation plan to cause the evacuation to fail. The adversarial attack can be physical (as in, attacking existing infrastructure) or virtual (in the form of a cyber-attack or a misinformation campaign). Hence, it becomes important for evacuation planners and managers to know in advance the roads that are fundamental to the plan’s success to fortify them and consider alternatives in case of failure during the evacuation. The novelty in our approach lies in the fact that we consider different vehicles with different refueling needs when making the decisions for fortifying part of the evacuation plan.


Dr. Kontou is an assistant professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on sustainable and electrified transportation systems planning and management. Dr. Kontou’s research group develops quantitative models and data-driven solutions to emerging mobility challenges. She received her PhD in Civil Engineering, focusing on transportation systems, from the University of Florida. She holds a MSc from Virginia Tech in the same field. She graduated with a Diploma in Civil Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. She was a postdoctoral research associate at the Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Alternative Fuels and Technologies and the Chair of the NAE’s TRB Young Members Coordinating Council. She is a 2022 Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Faculty Scholar, was a 2021 US Frontiers of Engineering Invited Participant, and was recognized as a 2020 iSEE Levenick Sustainability Teaching Fellow at the University of Illinois.



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