Researchers led by PhD student Vaisagh Viswanathan from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a new model for crowd dynamics prediction and suggested that these models could prove to be viable decision-making tools in safety preparation and planning concerning real-world human crowds.
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 model 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.
The study has been published in the EPJ B.