In today’s society there is more and more opportunity for us to find ourselves within a crowd. From riding the subway at peak hour to attending the State of Origin we will often find ourselves in crowds such that we will not be able to make many decisions ourselves, but must follow the crowd. It is important that engineers recognize the implications of this, so that they can incorporate safety measures into new facility designs and upgrade older facilities to meet appropriate safety standards. This new focus on crowd dynamics could change the way facilities are designed by replacing old building codes with computational models of how a crowd will act within the design.
This thesis verifies a number of ideas about how certain boundary geometries will affect a crowd flow, as well as presenting a number of different designs to increase the efficiency and safety of bottlenecks. The analysis uses Helbing, Farkas and Vicsek’s (2000) model for simulating pedestrian behaviour, which incorporates the pedestrian’s desires and surroundings. The analysis looks at the effects of shock waves within crowd flows. It shows that for differently designed bottlenecks we have a linear relationship between the inflow and the shock wave velocity. The analysis shows that the efficiency of the bottlenecks is reduced for low shock wave velocities.
Helbing, Farkas and Vicsek (2000) have shown that a finite widening in a corridor reduces the efficiency of the corridor, and that introducing a disturbance in front of a bottleneck (such as a column) increases the bottleneck’s efficiency. Here we look at a corridor with a finite widening upstream of the bottleneck and show that this increases the efficiency of the bottleneck, without the seemingly impractical positioning of a column in front of a doorway. The increase in efficiency is due to the widening and can be easily predicted by comparing the results from a corridor with a widening with those of a square bottleneck with no disturbance.
Other efficiency improvement designs presented are bottlenecks with converging funnels towards the doorway. This funnelling effect is logical yet may seem impractical, but due to the nature of the converging walls, whether they be angled or curved, they are easily established into designs by using funnelling walls in corridors or by introducing rounded or angled walls between doors on multiple door walls.
The simple yet effective design measures presented and analysed in this report shows there is potential for the optimization of facility designs to create safer and more efficient environments for use by crowds.