Due, perhaps, to the historical division of crowd dynamics research into psychological and engineering approaches, microscopic crowd models have tended toward modelling simple interchangeable particles with an emphasis on the simulation of physical factors. Despite the fact that people have complex (non-panic) behaviours in crowd disasters, important human factors in crowd dynamics such as information discovery and processing, changing goals and communication have not yet been well integrated at the microscopic level. We use our Microscopic Human Factors methodology to fuse a microscopic simulation of these human factors with a popular microscopic crowd model. By tightly integrating human factors with the existing model we can study the effects on the physical domain (movement, force and crowd safety) when human behaviour (information processing and communication) is introduced. In a large-room egress scenario with ample exits, information discovery and processing yields a crowd of non-interchangeable individuals who, despite close proximity, have different goals due to their different beliefs. This crowd heterogeneity leads to complex inter-particle interactions such as jamming transitions in open space; at high crowd energies, we found a freezing by heating effect (reminiscent of the disaster at Central Lenin Stadium in 1982) in which a barrier formation of nave individuals trying to reach blocked exits prevented knowledgeable ones from exiting. Communication, when introduced, reduced this barrier formation, increasing both exit rates and crowd safety.

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Keywords Cellular automata, Evacuation, Human factors and behaviour, Non-equilibrium physics, Pedestrian dynamics, Social dynamics
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physa.2010.05.045
Journal Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Henein, C.M. (Colin Marc), & White, A. (2010). Microscopic information processing and communication in crowd dynamics. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 389(21), 4636–4653. doi:10.1016/j.physa.2010.05.045