Modelling social identification and helping in evacuation simulation

I. Von Sivers, A. Templeton, F. Künzner, G. Köster, J. Drury, A. Philippides, T. Neckel, H.-j. Bungartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Social scientists have criticised computer models of pedestrian streams for their treatment of psychological crowds as mere aggregations of individuals. Indeed most models for evacuation dynamics use analogies from physics where pedestrians are considered as particles. Although this ensures that the results of the simulation match important physical phenomena, such as the deceleration of the crowd with increasing density, social phenomena such as group processes are ignored. In particular, people in a crowd have social identities and share those social identities with the others in the crowd. The process of self categorisation determines norms within the crowd and influences how people will behave in evacuation situations. We formulate the application of social identity in pedestrian simulation algorithmically. The goal is to examine whether it is possible to carry over the psychological model to computer models of pedestrian motion so that simulation results correspond to observations from crowd psychology. That is, we quantify and formalise empirical research on and verbal descriptions of the effect of group identity on behaviour. We use uncertainty quantification to analyse the model’s behaviour when we vary crucial model parameters. In this first approach we restrict ourselves to a specific scenario that was thoroughly investigated by crowd psychologists and where some quantitative data is available: the bombing and subsequent evacuation of a London underground tube carriage on July 7th 2005.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-300
JournalSafety Science
Early online date13 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • pedestrian dynamics
  • evacuation simulation
  • social identity
  • helping behaviour
  • uncertainty quantification


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