Counterflow in computational evacuation modelling: The hydraulic model, modelling tools and trials

Matthew Arnott*, Michael Spearpoint, Steve Gwynne, Anne Templeton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

The hydraulic model calculates the flow through a door constriction for a unidirectional flow of people primarily based on physical constraints. The method requires the physical door opening width to be reduced by a boundary layer adjustment to determine the effective width. However, the hydraulic model does not provide any guidance on what the flow might be when there is a counterflow condition. One option might be to simply represent counterflow with an equivalent half-door opening effective width.This paper compares the results from two agent-based, computational evacuation tools (Pathfinder and Evacuationz) to assess counterflow against the hydraulic model and data collected from people movement trials. The trials consisted of around 90 people travelling through an open doorway to generate unidirectional and counterflow scenarios. The trials also investigated how group identity might affect the counterflow measurements by gathering data when such identity was present or absent. Results suggest that the flow through the doorway in a given direction under counterflow conditions is greater than assuming half of the unidirectional flow. There appears to be an effect when in-group psychological behaviour is introduced such that the flow can show an overall increase when compared to having random groups. However, should participants interact then the in-group counterflow also exhibits a greater variability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th Fire and Evacuation Modelling Technical Conference 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Sept 2022
EventFEMTC 2022 - Czech Republic, Brno
Duration: 12 Sept 202214 Sept 2022


ConferenceFEMTC 2022
Abbreviated titleFEMTC 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • computational evacuation
  • evacuation
  • evacuation model
  • fire
  • multi-occupancy high-rise fire


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