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Critical Review of Emergency Evacuation Simulation Models.

pdf icon Critical Review of Emergency Evacuation Simulation Models. (130 K)
Santos, G.; Aguirre, B. E.

NIST SP 1032; January 2005.

Workshop on Building Occupant Movement During Fire Emergencies. Proceedings. Session 3.3. June 10-11, 2004, Gaithersburg, MD, Peacock, R. D.; Kuligowski, E. D., Editor(s)(s), 27-52 pp, 2005.


occupants; people movement; emergencies; evacuation; fire models; egress; simulation; psychology; human actions; human behavior


The paper presents a critical review of selected simulation models including (1) flow based, (2) cellular automata, (3) agent-based, and (4) activity-based models, as well as of three simulation models that incorporate social scientific processes--FIRESCAP, EXODUS, and the Multi-Agent Simulation for Crisis Management. It concludes by pointing out the so far ignored insights that could be derived from the fields of social psychology and social organization. A number of predictions regarding the effects of social organizational variables on the timing and movement of evacuating groups are presented. We offer a critical review of selected simulation models of evacuation behavior based on published descriptions of their characteristics rather than on empirical tests of their claims (compare to Kuligowski, 2003). A second section of the paper identifies social sciences approaches that could improve present day simulation models. Our argument is that the social sciences could provide important new directions to simulation models of emergency evacuations; to the extent that simulation models are attempting to incorporate actual human social behavior, a dialogue among engineers, computer scientists, fire scientists, and social scientists would render such models more accurate and realistic. So far, as we will show, the absence of this dialogue has impacted many of these models.