Analyzing Emergency Evacuation Strategies for Mass Gatherings using Agent-Based Crowd Simulation

When planning civil defense, disaster response scenarios can be evaluated, and evacuation plans developed. It is possible to account for environmental variables, human behavior, and technology systems to create a complete situational view for testing responses. Disaster response simulation enables the testing of plans and the development of effective contingency measures that would not be possible otherwise…

A mass gathering, as defined by World Health Organization is: “A planned or unplanned event at a specific location, attended by a huge number of people for a common purpose. This number is sufficient enough to strain the planning and response resources of the community, state or a nation hosting that event”.

The influx of large numbers of people to mass gathering events may give rise to complex disastrous situations, thus requiring extreme planning and operational support for Public Safety & Security (PSS) preparedness by the Civil Defense.

ADGS works in close cooperation with architects and Civil Defense to create an accurate model of a mass gathering at a specific place, simulating the crowd dynamic according to several scenarios, enabling Civil Defense to take the rights measures and decisions in case of disaster

Disasters can be prevented through proper crowd management & control strategies. An effective PSS infrastructure for crowd management & control consists of the following key components:

    •    Monitoring;

    •    Mitigation;

    •    Preparedness & Incidence Response;

    •    Recovery.

Monitoring involves a continuous process of observing real-world activities and supervising the crowd flow.

Mitigation concerns preemptively preventing possible emergencies, planning exit points & escape routes etc.

Preparedness deals with the timely preparations to handle dangerous situations such as firefighting, construction failures, or natural disasters. Incidence response involves timely rescue operations, emergency evacuations, crowd management, shelter and medical services during crisis.

Recovery deal with the actions taken to return to a normal state. An efficient PSS infrastructure relies on smart planning and decision support systems that can provide quick and accurate identification and assessment of optimal strategies to be used for a real-world situation under a specific context.

With the advent of modern Modeling and Simulation (M&S) paradigms, there has been an increasing trend in the use of Modeling and Simulation in PSS planning and decision support. Crowd dynamics simulation models are now becoming useful in replicating scenarios of safety/mission critical systems in a risk-free, low cost, time independent and harmless experimental environment where modelers can exhaust trials of different nature to gain the insights of the system, compare different alternatives or to find best design parameters.

Crowd modeling and simulation plays a vital role in solving evacuation problems. Modeling crowd behavior and the movement of each individual in a crowd can help reduce the number of victims in a building or a public area.

Crowd Modeling and Simulation in Agent-Based Modeling

In recent years, crowd modeling and simulation technologies have gained tremendous momentum for investigating crowd dynamics. It focuses on the realism of behavioral aspects like crowd evacuation simulation, sociological crowd models, or crowd dynamics models. Another classification of crowd simulations is based on the size of the crowd and the approach used. Simulated crowd sizes may vary from tens or hundreds to a couple of hundred thousand or millions of individuals. Usually large crowds are treated as a whole (macro-scale) where the global trend of the crowd is the focus due to the high computational needs. For smaller crowds (microscale), individual behavior is modeled in detail to support the investigation of crowd dynamics at an individual level.