Transportation of hazardous materials, notably crude oil by rail are increasing in Canada and the USA. Due to the July 2013 Lac Megantic Train Derailment Disaster and increased concerns raised by municipalities across the country, Canadian Government issued a “protective direction” that requires railway companies to share dangerous goods data with municipalities and first responders.
A GIS agent-based model was developed to assist local emergency managers to assess better the risks and develop contingency plans. The intended application of the simulation tool is to facilitate the use of dangerous goods transportation data by municipalities. The model provides a valuable decision tool for local emergency managers to assess dynamically the risks of different categories of dangerous goods transported by rail.
The model answers the question, of what is the risk to the population of the city at any given time and space by a particular train carrying hazardous materials. Dr. Asgary tested the model utilizing the City of Toronto’s rail system, but the model can be quickly adopted for other municipalities.