School of Engineering

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School of Engineering Faculty and Students receive the Best Track Paper Award at the 2015 Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (IEOM) conference for their work: “Evacuation of a Highly Congested Urban City: The Case of Beirut”

In recognition of the outstanding research entitled: “Evacuation of a highly congestion urban city: the case of Beirut”, Dr. John Khoury, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at LAU, Dr. Jean-Paul Arnaout, a former Industrial Engineering faculty member at LAU, and LAU Industrial Engineering student Ms. Caline El Khoury, received the Best Track Paper Award at the 2015 Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (IEOM) conference held in Orlando, Florida on September 10, 2015.

This CNRS-funded research effort aimed at identifying routes and route schedules that minimize evacuate times for vulnerable population centers within Beirut due when faced with an imminent disaster. The three-year-long study that was led by Dr. Khoury developed an optimized approach that maximizes the number of evacuees for short notice evacuation situations caused by natural or man-made disasters. The methodology is scaled to Beirut city with a transportation network capacity well below daily peak demands. Given the computationally-challenging evacuation route planning, an evacuation scheduling algorithm was developed to expedite the solution process. The developed approach uses Dijkstra’s algorithm to find the shortest path(s), and a modified greedy algorithm to assign maximum flows to selected paths given a specific schedule per time interval. A case study using real population and transportation network data was tested using the proposed methodology. The research shows Beirut to be in grave danger when disasters similar to the one simulated occur. Its high population density and disproportionate network capacity are shown to be the main culprits behind the city’s vulnerability.

Dr. Grace Abou-Jaoude received a second PEER grant to develop a comprehensive landslide risk index maps for Lebanon



After receiving a USD 100,000 research grant from the PEER program in 2011, Dr. Grace Abou-Jaoude, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at LAU, was recently awarded a second PEER grant for USD 76,100  to develop landslide risk mapping in Lebanon. Earthquakes and landslides are common natural hazards in Lebanon given the country’s location on top of the seismically active Yammouneh fault that separates the Arabian and African tectonic plates. Historical records of damages and induced landslides from earthquakes have been reported to be proportional to the building density in the affected area. The latest discovery of an active thrusting fault close to the country’s coastline significantly raises Lebanon’s risk of being affected by a high magnitude earthquake (Elias et al. 2007). Additionally, Lebanon is categorized among countries that have high landslide hazard scores (Arnold et al. 2006). Climate change, specifically lower amounts but more intense rainfall, add a new critical factor to landslide hazards in the country (GRIP 2010). This project (PEER-RISK) builds upon the findings of the initial project (PEER-HAZARD). By developing comprehensive landslide risk index maps, the project seeks to identify areas with high risks of human loss and infrastructure damage associated with rainfall- and earthquake-induced landslide failures. The focus on landslide dangers stems from existing literature identifying these threats as highly critical even at times when first responders   are engaged in rescue and recovery operations in a disaster-hit area (USGS 2010, AGS 2007).


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