Evacuation Modelling – Application To An Office Building Using Several Simulation Tools

Quentin Jullien - CSTB

Abstract

Numerical simulation is one of the tools available for emergency evacuation planning. Its main advantage is its capability to represent impact of dynamic elements on outcomes. These elements include walking speeds and travel times, and variations in the use of circulation space based on route selection, local navigation and interactions with the building and other pedestrians. The appropriate use of a simulation tool allows the examination of multiple scenarios. In comparison with real-life exercises, this presents a cost-effective approach that is able to examine scenarios that could not otherwise be examined. Tools and methods that can be used for emergency evacuation planning are usually governed by the regulatory structure in place. In France, regulation is mainly prescriptive and does not require the use of simulation tools. This may change in the medium term as France prepares to host several major events such as the Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games. This requires building new infrastructure on a large scale, often requiring innovative designs that fall outside regulatory capabilities. Changes to the French regulatory structure may be required to accommodate this demand for new innovative construction. A predominantly French collaboration between seven institutes was started a year ago to evaluate the capability of several simulation tools to reproduce a real evacuation. The examined tools are EVAC, Pathfinder, buildingEXODUS and MARCOE PAULO. To provide a benchmark for comparison, an evacuation drill was carried out in an eight-storey office building, with a footprint of 2100 m2. Data on various aspects of evacuee performance was collected for comparison. This paper focuses on the comparison of the results achieved using different modelling tools and from the drill. The ability of the different tools to reproduce certain phenomena, such as exit congestion, are analyzed. The capabilities and limitations of each simulation tool is then discussed.

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