Keywords: travel behaviour, Gisborne earthquake, earthquakes, information retrieval, information seeking, response behaviours, simulation, disaster response, New Zealand, emergency management, disaster management, crisis management, likelihood of travel
Travel behaviours following the 2007 Gisborne earthquake: evidence for the use of simulation in earthquake research
Travel behaviours were examined following the earthquake of 6.8 magnitude in Gisborne, New Zealand, on 20 December 2007. Surveys were returned from 438 households detailing their travel and information-seeking immediately after the earthquake. Although 85% of people experienced the earthquake at home, a volume of traffic that approximated peak weekday conditions was generated within an hour of the event. Within three hours of the event 37% of people had travelled. People away from their home were five times more likely to travel than those at home. Nearly all trips were undertaken in motor vehicles. Official warning not to travel long trip distances, dangerous conditions and the possibility of traffic jams did not decrease the likelihood of travel. People stayed at home only if they had no reason to travel. People initially travelled to meet other people and assess property damage. The findings support the use of simulation in disaster research.