Modelling Impacts

This part of the SESAME project developed a computer model to simulate the behaviours of small businesses and associated organisations during and immediately after a flood – and the effects these have on the damage and disruption caused. Using ‘agent-based modelling and simulation’, experiments were carried out that allowed the research team to explore the interdependencies between the behaviours of different organisations and businesses, and expose the dynamic complexity of organisations' interactions. This work will enable the SESAME team to recommend improvements to the guidelines provided to SMEs in flood risk areas.

Flooded road

The case study for the modelling process was Sheffield's Lower Don Valley, which was flooded in 2007. The team modelled the hydrodynamics of various flood scenarios to estimate water depths at different time intervals. Combining this data with a virtual geographic environment and Ordnance Survey information enabled us to identify the businesses affected by flooding. We then drew on the project’s SESAME interviews with small businesses to add to the model business attributes (type of property, customer characteristics etc) and behavioural responses.

To learn more about the ‘Modelling Impacts’ part of SESAME, contact Dr Graham Coates (Durham University). For details of the hydrological aspects of the modelling, contact Professor Nigel Wright (Leeds University).



ABM diagram

The design of the model draws heavily on the knowledge and understanding generated in the ‘Understanding Behaviour’ part of the SESAME project. It has used the findings of this work to inform the choice of variables that are used in the model and the rules that govern their influence on the outputs.

Flooding town