Evacuation Assessment in Transport Planning Models



Evacuation Assessment in Transport Planning Models

Authors

Ewa Prawdzik, Mott MacDonald Limited, Paul Clifford, Mott MacDonald Limited, Sonja Nightingale, Mott MacDonald Limited

Description

Transport planning models operate in a wide range of macro and micro levels. At the micro level pedestrian simulation models are an important tool in the capacity assessment of transportation hubs and urban spaces. The dynamic crowd movement analyses can assist in effective planning and design of cities, transport networks and building structures.

As the utilisation of transportation systems increases, globally, greater focus is being applied to safety and this includes evacuation assessment. A pedestrian simulation model is a tool that assists in the planning and design of an assets emergency route and capacity provision.

This study focuses on the aspect of the passenger evacuation modelling and outlines its principles. It presents a comparison of the results from a real-life evacuation experiment undertaken in a multi-level building with the predicted evacuation assessment using computer simulation software. The document considers the relative performance of the static calculation method as set in the transport industry standard for fixed guideway transit and passenger rail systems NFPA 130 and a dynamic pedestrian simulation model. Finally, the study presents a sample of results from evacuation modelling for different transport studies where a computer simulation has been used to support the standard evacuation time calculations.

Abstract

Transport planning models operate in a wide range of macro and micro levels. At the micro level pedestrian simulation models are an important tool in the capacity assessment of transportation hubs and urban spaces. The dynamic crowd movement analyses can assist in effective planning and design of cities, transport networks and building structures.

As the utilisation of transportation systems increases, globally, greater focus is being applied to safety and this includes evacuation assessment. A pedestrian simulation model is a tool that assists in the planning and design of an assets emergency route and capacity provision.

In recent years significant resources have been applied to research, operational standards and fire prevention, but the prediction of outcome is still developing. Safety control measures for evacuation in underground, railway stations or during sport and cultural events are constantly under review and the benefit of assessing how design or crowd control could assist evacuation is extremely important to assist in the effectiveness of the evacuation systems for transport interchanges, worldwide.

Human behaviour is difficult to predict and individuals’ reactions during an emergency even more so. There has been a consensus that people tend to choose to evacuate by the same route they have entered a building, station or other transport interchange. During times of confusion they may be unaware of the nearest emergency exit, or be looking for their friends or family. Panic may also occur, when safer routes are missed as people follow others. Despite these behavioural factors, evacuation during an emergency situation is an action which can be greatly assisted by the provision of appropriately located and sized means of escape, usage of appropriate building materials and construction methods, smoke control systems and appropriately trained personnel for assisting the evacuation process.

Many research studies and experiments have been undertaken to identify the potential impact of the different behavioural and physical factors on safety during emergency evacuations. Additionally, there are evacuation time calculation methods which are used in design of means of escape.

In recent years passenger simulation models have addressed these factors and have been used to assist in safe design of buildings, transport interchanges or a public space. By using such software designers seek to ensure appropriate clearance times and to minimise the risk of injuries in an emergency situation.

In a computer simulation in evacuation mode virtual people are instructed to make their way to the nearest available exit of which they are aware, with their movement modified according to a range of individual behavioural principles. The models calculate evacuation times, exit usage and other criteria essential for fire-engineering design.

The models can import computer calculations of the interaction of smoke with surfaces - Computer Fluid Dynamics - represented using smoke isosurfaces, which affect the walking direction and speed of the evacuated individuals.

This study focuses on the aspect of the passenger evacuation modelling and outlines its principles. It presents a comparison of the results from a real-life evacuation experiment undertaken in a multi-level building with the predicted evacuation assessment using computer simulation software. The document considers the relative performance of the static calculation method as set in the transport industry standard for fixed guideway transit and passenger rail systems NFPA 130 and a dynamic pedestrian simulation model. Finally, the study presents a sample of results from evacuation modelling for different transport studies where a computer simulation has been used to support the standard evacuation time calculations.

Publisher

Association for European Transport