CEE Seminar: Alternative Fuel Vehicle Evacuation and Refueling Infrastructure Location Planning

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)
Eleftheria (Ria) Kontou, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Abstract: Climate change exacerbates the frequency and impacts of hazardous events, such as hurricanes, wildfires and extreme flooding. During emergencies that require preemptive evacuation, drivers using alternative fuel vehicles are left vulnerable under conventional evacuation routes that do not provide access to refueling/charging stations on their way to safety. In this talk, I will discuss a novel evacuation routing problem considering multiple fuel vehicle types. An evacuation tree problem with hop constraints that capture each vehicle fuel type's refueling/charging needs, as they are routed to safety, is introduced. Numerical experiments in South Florida and planning insights are presented. Even though refueling/charging infrastructure is deployed to meet daily travel demand, in the second part of my talk I will focus on the extension of the alt-fuel evacuation problem to decide on the deployment of emergency refueling/charging stations on the transportation network.

Bio: Kontou is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on planning sustainable transportation systems. She earned her doctorate in civil engineering, focusing on transportation systems, from University of Florida, and holds a master's degree from Virginia Tech, and a diploma from the National Technical University of Athens in the same field. 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. Kontou is a 2023 NSF CAREER awardee, a 2022 Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Faculty Scholar, a 2021 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Invited Participant, and a Levenick Sustainability Teaching Fellow at the University of Illinois. She is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Alternative Transportation Fuels and Technologies and the chair of TRB’s Young Members Coordinating Council.