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Chin. Phys. B, 2023, Vol. 32(1): 018901    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/ac9605

Effect of a static pedestrian as an exit obstacle on evacuation

Yang-Hui Hu(胡杨慧)1,†, Yu-Bo Bi(毕钰帛)1, Jun Zhang(张俊)2,‡, Li-Ping Lian(练丽萍)3,4, Wei-Guo Song(宋卫国)2, and Wei Gao(高伟)1
1 School of Chemical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China;
2 State Key Laboratory of Fire Science, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230027, China;
3 School of Architectural Engineering, Shenzhen Polytechnic, Shenzhen 518055, China;
4 School of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen 518055, China
Abstract  Building exit as a bottleneck structure is the last and the most congested stage in building evacuation. It is well known that obstacles at the exit affect the evacuation process, but few researchers pay attention to the effect of stationary pedestrians (the elderly with slow speed, the injured, and the static evacuation guide) as obstacles at the exit on the evacuation process. This paper explores the influence of the presence of a stationary pedestrian as an obstacle at the exit on the evacuation from experiments and simulations. We use a software, Pathfinder, based on the agent-based model to study the effect of ratios of exit width ($D$) to distance ($d$) between the static pedestrian and the exit, the asymmetric structure by shifting the static pedestrian upward, and types of obstacles on evacuation. Results show that the evacuation time of scenes with a static pedestrian is longer than that of scenes with an obstacle due to the unexpected hindering effect of the static pedestrian. Different ratios of $D/d$ have different effects on evacuation efficiency. Among the five $D/d$ ratios in this paper, the evacuation efficiency is the largest when $d$ is equal to $0.75D$, and the existence of the static pedestrian has a positive impact on evacuation in this condition. The influence of the asymmetric structure of the static pedestrian on evacuation efficiency is affected by $D/d$. This study can provide a theoretical basis for crowd management and evacuation plan near the exit of complex buildings and facilities.
Keywords:  evacuation      exit obstacle      static pedestrian      pathfinder simulation  
Received:  10 August 2022      Revised:  15 September 2022      Accepted manuscript online:  29 September 2022
PACS:  89.40.-a (Transportation)  
  04.25.dc (Numerical studies of critical behavior, singularities, and cosmic censorship)  
  45.70.Vn (Granular models of complex systems; traffic flow)  
  07.05.Tp (Computer modeling and simulation)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 52104186, 71904006, U1933105, and 72174189), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant Nos. DUT21JC01 and DUT2020TB03), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. WK2320000050).
Corresponding Authors:  Yang-Hui Hu, Jun Zhang     E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

Yang-Hui Hu(胡杨慧), Yu-Bo Bi(毕钰帛), Jun Zhang(张俊), Li-Ping Lian(练丽萍), Wei-Guo Song(宋卫国), and Wei Gao(高伟) Effect of a static pedestrian as an exit obstacle on evacuation 2023 Chin. Phys. B 32 018901

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