Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Cruise ships like buildings: Wayfinding solutions to improve emergency evacuation


Wayfinding, complex architectural spaces, emergency evacuation, large ship, passengers’ behaviour


This research aims at demonstrating that wayfinding solutions can improve the effectiveness of the evacuation processes in complex architectural spaces such as those of cruise ships. We investigated the behaviours of passengers in maritime disaster to figure out whether people act similarly during buildings egress and ships evacuation. Data were collected through questionnaires administered in 2015 to passengers boarding various cruise ships at the port of Ancona (Italy), and through the analysis of real footage of the evacuation of the Costa Concordia. The open source software Fire Dynamics Simulator with Evacuation (FDS+EVAC), used in building egress analyses, was adapted to include these behavioural and event information such as familiarity with ship layout, ship rotation and lifeboats boarding. Simulation results on the case study confirmed similarities between ships and buildings evacuations, underlining the effectiveness of wayfinding solutions to improve passengers’ evacuation flows and routes selection. This study also demonstrated that computer simulation could benefit the ship design process, the preparation of safety guidelines, and the crewmembers during naval emergency management training.


Tsinghua University Press