Pedestrian Crowd Dynamics Observed at Merging Sections: Impact of Designs on Movement Efficiency

The need for reliable crowd simulation tools has necessitated an accurate understanding of human behavior and the rules that govern their movements under normal and emergency escapes. This paper investigates the dynamics of merging streams of pedestrians. In the merging sections, the interaction between pedestrians and geometric features of merging sections can significantly impede the collective motion and can increase the possibility of flow breakdown, particularly under emergency conditions. Therefore, to create safe and efficient designs, it is important to study human movement characteristics associated with these types of conflicting geometries. In this study, empirical data collected from large numbers of high-density experiments with people at different desired speed levels were used to explore the effect of different merging configurations (i.e., design and angle) on dynamics of merging crowds. For the first time, this study examined the impact of elevated speed regimes (as a behavioral proxy of emergency escapes) on the movement efficiency of crowds in merging sections with different geometric designs. In particular, this study investigated the impact of these conflicting geometric settings on the average waiting time in the system as a measure of movement efficiency. Results suggest that the experienced delay is dramatically greater in asymmetrical setups compared with the delay in symmetrical setups and that the difference is even more pronounced at elevated levels of pedestrians’ desired speed. These findings give significant insights into the implications of inefficient designs of merging sections for pedestrians’ safety, notably when quick movement of crowds is necessary (e.g., in emergencies).


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01628727
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309441889
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 17-04277
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 8 2016 11:37AM