Bottom-up insight into crowd dynamics

Bottom-up insight into crowd dynamics

Stampedes unfortunately occur on too regular a basis. Previously, physicists developed numerous models of crowd evacuation dynamics. Their analyses focused on disasters such as the yearly Muslim Hajj or of the Love Parade disaster in Germany in 2010. Unfortunately, the casualties at these events may have been linked to the limitations of the crowd dynamics models used at the time. Now, a new study outlines a procedure for quantitatively comparing different crowd models, which also helps to compare these models with real-world data. In a paper published in European Physical Journal B, Vaisagh Viswanathan, a PhD student from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and colleagues have demonstrated that these crowd evacuation dynamics models are a viable decision-making tool in safety preparation and planning concerning real-world human crowds.

The trouble with such models, however, is that they rely on real-world data of crowds that is limited and incomplete. Often only top-down, macroscopic scale measurements of data such as flow, density, and average speed are used. It is not clear whether these metrics can validate the modelled at the individual level.

Instead of using data that is so difficult to source, Viswanthan and colleagues adopted a quantitative study comparing the simulated congestion flow rates, among other things, of three so-called bottom-up models. These focus on the individual behaviour of school children evacuating their classroom during the May 2008 Sichuan Earthquake.

They found that a referred to as the social force model—based on the idea that pedestrians move in response to fictitious attractive or repulsive social forces—best matches the real-world data showing how pupils exit their classrooms.

They also identified a new macroscopic metric, 'the zoned evacuation time', as the one observable parameter that can best discriminate between these models, and also between models and real-world data.


Explore further

Computer models that predict crowd behaviour could be used to prevent the spread of infections at mass gatherings

More information: V. Viswanthan et al. (2014), Quantitative Comparison Between Crowd Models for Evacuation Planning and Evaluation, European Physical Journal B, DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2014-40699-x
Journal information: European Physical Journal B

Provided by Springer
Citation: Bottom-up insight into crowd dynamics (2014, February 7) retrieved 19 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-02-bottom-up-insight-crowd-dynamics.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more