Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

A modified universal pedestrian motion model: Revisiting pedestrian simulation with bottlenecks


bottleneck, pedestrian crowd simulation, exit location, bottleneck length, obstacles location


Pedestrian flow through narrow exits is one the most important features of crowd dynamics and evacuation. This is a particularly important aspect of pedestrian simulation models in that the accuracy is highly dependent on their ability to produce realistic exit flow rates. We firstly identified the four parameters that are most critical for physical interactions of the social force model and then calibrated them against two well-controlled pedestrian experiments. With these calibrated parameters, we discussed the reasonable settings of sensitive parameters for different levels of pedestrian competitiveness. Then, we revisited the basic questions about the effect of the exit location, the bottleneck length, and the effect of obstacles on pedestrian egress. Our simulation results indicated that: (1) The effect of the exit location on the pedestrian egress efficiency is uncertain, and the evacuation efficiency is also related to the exit width and the level of urgency. (2) The "pass-way" after the exit also named as the bottleneck length has a negative impact on the evacuation performance only in the scenarios that the bottleneck length is not more than 2.0 meters. When the bottleneck length exceeds 2.0 meters, pedestrian outflow efficiency reaches an asymptotic. (3) Setting an obstacle near an exit is not leading to a longer pedestrian evacuation time, instead, it is effectively improving pedestrian evacuation.