This project has received funding from the European Union's 7th Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under Grant Agreement (GA) N° #607798

Preparation phase
in the Netherlands

The trial “The Netherlands” was based on the experiences and lessons learned of the first two DRIVER+ trials and could therefore be prepared more efficiently. Furthermore, the trial guidance methodology (TGM) had already matured to such an extent that it could be used as a very good basis for planning.

The DRIVER+ trial focused on a flash flood scenario simulating a lock breach caused by severe weather conditions. This resulted in the flooding of a large part of The Hague city centre, damaging infrastructure and threatening a large portion of the city’s inhabitants. Cascading effects included power outage, flooded roads and railway infrastructure, affecting the population living in those areas. The aim of this tabletop trial was to improve current Crisis Management capabilities by identifying solutions that address potential shortcomings in the planning of resources for response during large scale and long-term crises, the ability to exchange crisis-related information between agencies and organisations as well as in the planning and management of large scale evacuations of population in urban areas.

The three identified gaps were:

  • Limitations in the planning of resources (qualified personnel and equipment) for response during large scale and long-term crisis,
  • Shortcomings in the ability to exchange crisis-related information among agencies and organisations (also related to as interoperability), and
  • Shortcomings in planning and managing the side effects of large scale evacuation of population in urban areas.

Research Question
Three research questions, each addressing a gap, were identified in an iterative process between practitioners, solution providers and the trial management team.

  • How can simulation tools improve resource planning activities in large scale and long-term disaster operations?
  • How can net-centric data exchange improve information sharing between relevant parties andthus improve the shared understanding of the current situation?
  • How can simulation tools support the planning and management of a large-scale evacuation under consideration of real-time traffic information?

Data Collection Plan
The data collection plan forms the basis of the 3-dimension evaluation of the solutions in trial activities (including trial, crisis management and solutions) which was carried out using the trial guidance methodology approach. For the trial dimension the set of predefined KPIs used in every trial was used. To evaluate the trial dimension performance a questionnaire was designed for all involved persons in the trial 4 (trial committee & staff, participants, observers and solution providers). Data for the solution dimension was collected two ways, both using the OST:

  1. For each solution there was – per scenario block – a questionnaire dedicated to the use of the solution in that particular block of the trial.
  2. Checklists were prepared per practitioner group (e.g. action center “Water Board”) for the observers to specifically track the use of the solution for particular tasks and assignments. Furthermore, so-called ‘walking observers’ observed the interaction of solution use between different practitioner groups providing output to each other (e.g. action center “Water Board” sending information to action center “Police”).

In addition to the questionnaires the digital communication between action centers and the solutions was monitored and stored. For the crisis management dimension assignments were formulated on the tasks and expected actions from the practitioner groups during the trial. Based on these assignments checklists were formulated for each observer to observe behaviour and e.g. oral conclusions of the practitioners in executing the assignments.

For all three dimensions, short debriefings or first impression reviews were held to collect feedback on any issue relevant in the trial. The observers held a meeting directly after each scenario block; practitioners and technical staff after each day.

According to the TGM the evaluation was divided into the three main topics: trial, solution and crisis management. For each part, a number of relevant KPIs was collected and analysed. A basic scenario without the new solutions was discussed and documented in interviews with practitioners. Afterwards, the innovation scenario was played with the solutions to assess the differences and to see which improvements the solutions could achieve.

A north-western storm over the North Sea was expected to hit the Dutch coast in two days. Once it arrived, the high water and bad weather conditions caused a failure of the lock in Scheveningen and endangered dikes. Subsequently, three major regions in The Hague were flooded. A cascading effect of floods was the threat to critical infrastructure. A power failure quickly lead to a shortage of drinking water and the failure of heating systems. Since traffic infrastructure flooded, covered in debris or damaged, the transport system was severely affected or came to a complete standstill. In order to keep the number of casualties as small as possible, a fast and effective evacuation of the population before, during and after the disaster had to be organised. SRH was cooperating with other stakeholders like the water board, power companies and communication providers. The scenario that was played during the trial covered the threat phase before the flooding as well as the impact phase after the flooding and was split in four different blocks: 1) cascading effects (threat phase), 2) evacuation (threat phase), 3) damage assessment (impact phase), 4) damage control (impact phase).

Selected Solutions
25 applications were originally received in response to a call for applications. After a meticulous selection process, face-to-face meetings, trial rehearsals, five innovative crisis management solutions were chosen, based on their ability to solve a series of gaps identified by practitioners earlier in the project. These were:

  1. 3Di-DEM edit 3Di is an interactive water simulation model that enables crisis managers to construct a common operational picture of the dynamics of floods and allows a quick calculation of the effects of mitigation measures.
  2. SIM-CI SIM-CI visualizes the flooding event and its cascading effects on critical infrastructures in The Hague by means of a digital twin city. With its simulation, crisis managers can see how water spreads through the area, including buildings and critical infrastructures such as roads and the electricity and telecoms networks.
  3. CrisisSuite CrisisSuite is an online crisis management software application that enables organisations to successfully manage information during a crisis. CrisisSuite supports the net-centric working methods of crisis teams by creating a universal picture of the crisis and share it horizontally and vertically with the other teams in the crisis organisation.
  4. Airborne and Terrestrial Situational Awareness It provides reliable traffic information, prediction and visualization based on various traffic data sources (e.g. satellite/airborne imagery), also providing routing advice taking into account the current traffic and crisis situation (e.g. flooded areas). Additionally, satellite/airborne based 2D and 3D information are provided.
  5. HumLogSim is a performance assessment platform that serves logistic processes in crisis management. The functionality comprises strategic planning support as well as tactical and operational decision support by assessing and comparing the network performance under given situations and realistic crisis management actions.