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Understanding capacity drop for designing pedestrianenvironments

Cepolina, E; Tyler, N; (2005) Understanding capacity drop for designing pedestrianenvironments. In: (Proceedings) Walk21-VI ?Everyday Walking Culture?, The 6th International Conference on Walking in the 21st Century. : Zurich.

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This paper focuses on pedestrian behaviour along unidirectional corridors and at bottlenecks. This issue isimportant in any pedestrian environment where there is a change in size which might give rise to a changein capacity. Examples include emergency exits, railway stations and pedestrian footways in the streetenvironment.To understand this phenomenon, we need to assess the capacity of a bottleneck, whether or not, inoversaturated conditions, a capacity drop occurs and which variables affect it. We therefore planned someexperiments to evaluate the effects on capacity drop of: the density at the bottleneck entrance, thepedestrians? desired speed and the pedestrian motivation in passing through the bottleneck.Knowing the actual value for capacity and capacity drop is essential for understanding pedestrian routechoice behaviour and for planning the usage of a given environment. For instance, in the case ofevacuation from a building, escape routes should be planned taking into account the actual corridorcapacity and the capacity drop phenomenon: moreover, depending on the entity of capacity drop, theopportunity to give different starting evacuation times in different parts of the building, in such a way toreduce the merging flows, and therefore the upstream density, could be assessed.Knowing at a microscopic level the mechanism that leads to the capacity drop would help in improvingthe environment design.Interesting results from the experiments reported in this paper pertain to the use of space upstream of thebottleneck in the case of congestion. Some empirical studies have been carried out by the DresdenUniversity of Technology for a corridor with bottlenecks to compare the effect of pedestrian counterflows and unidirectional flows and by Delft University of Technology to assess the capacity of thebottleneck. However, none of these empirical studies provides any data about the capacity drop so it isdifficult to convert these results into applications in the real world.The research presented in this paper aims to provide a step forward from that research by introducing amore sophisticated understanding of the capacity drop phenomenon for the benefit of designers of streetenvironments to help them construct a more pedestrian-friendly environment.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Understanding capacity drop for designing pedestrianenvironments
Event: Walk21-VI ?Everyday Walking Culture?, The 6th International Conference on Walking in the 21st Century
Additional information: Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 3rd Dec 2005
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/51655
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