Pedestrian dynamics

Pedestrians can be considered an instance of active matter, a special case of granular media in which grains propel themselves. Obviously, only a few features of human behaviour can be explained with this paradigm. In this research line we try to better understand the clogs of a swarm of people when they exit an enclosure through a door. If panic develops, ending can be tragic. Maybe some strategies specifically designed to tackle the problem of clogging in inert grains may be useful for the case of people.

To this end, we carried out several series of experiments. One of them was done in a farm at Cubel (Zaragoza, Spain), where we recorded a sheep flock. Every morning, the farmer switched on a video camera we placed over the door, and then opened it to let the sheep enter the barn where fodder awaited them. The analysis of the animal passage through the door revealed many similarities with granular media. Afterwards, we conducted several series of evacuation drills with students from the School of Architecture, Universidad de Navarra, and soldiers from the America 66 regiment (quarters at Aizoain, Navarra). The study of exit time, velocity and pressure should help us to better understand the process, and perhaps to devise a method to reduce the probability of clogging at the exit door.

More information in:

Dinámica de peatones


Granular Media Laboratory
31008 Pamplona

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