Empirical investigation on safety constraints of merging pedestrian crowd through macroscopic and microscopic analysis

A recent crowd stampede during a New Year's Eve celebration in Shanghai, China resulted in 36 fatalities and over 49 serious injuries. Many of such tragic crowd accidents around the world resulted from complex multi-direction crowd movement such as merging behavior. Although there are a few studies on merging crowd behavior, none of them have conducted a systematic analysis considering the impact of both merging angle and flow direction towards the safety of pedestrian crowd movement. In this study, a series of controlled laboratory experiments were conducted to examine the safety constraints of merging pedestrian crowd movements considering merging angle (60°, 90° and 180°) and flow direction under slow running and blocked vision condition. Then, macroscopic and microscopic properties of crowd dynamics are obtained and visualized through the analysis of pedestrian crowd trajectory data derived from video footage. It was found that merging angle had a significant influence on the fluctuations of pedestrian flows, which is important in a critical situation such as emergency evacuation. As the merging angle increased, mean velocity and mean flow at the measuring region in the exit corridors decreased, while mean density increased. A similar trend was observed for the number of weaving and overtaking conflicts, which resulted in the increase of mean headway. Further, flow direction had a significant impact on the outflow of the individuals while blocked vision had an influence on pedestrian crowd interactions and merging process. Finally, this paper discusses safety assessments on crowd merging behaviors along with some recommendations for future research. Findings from this study can assist in the development and validation of pedestrian crowd simulation models as well as organization and control of crowd events.


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  • Accession Number: 01613896
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 2 2016 9:09AM