Scientists at the Fire Safety Engineering Group of the University of Greenwich have released the next generation of the world's most advanced evacuation and crowd simulation software, buildingEXODUS. Version 6.0 incorporates capabilities to simulate human behaviour associated with the use of lifts/elevators for both evacuation and circulation. This new capability is based on data collected from an international survey involving 468 people from 23 countries, which revealed that in the event of an emergency people are less willing to wait for a lift then previously assumed.
The software enables building engineers to perform realistic desk top simulations of people in both normal and emergency conditions. The software simulates not only how individual people interact with each other and the built environment, but also how they are debilitated by hazards such as heat, smoke and toxic gases. To simulate these complex relationships, the software uses sophisticated rule based systems to control the interaction of five advanced sub models. The software draws extensively on data and experience captured from experiments, real life incidents and international surveys. For example, the human behaviour submodel includes rules governing the behaviour of people interacting with smoke in fire situations; how people interact with wayfinding signage; and how people select whether to use a lift/elevator or an adjacent stair. The arrival of this level of sophistication on the desk top means that the building engineer can test more designs in less time to reach the optimal solution, free from costly and unrealistic assumptions.
"buildingEXODUS Version 6.0 provides building engineers with a sophisticated and powerful analysis tool to simulate and analyse crowd circulation and evacuation," says Professor Ed Galea, Director of the University's Fire Safety Engineering Group and developer of buildingEXODUS. "The capability to simulate the use of lifts for evacuation provides safety engineers with an unrivalled ability to simulate every conceivable evacuation scenario in 21st century buildings. Unlike other models, the buildingEXODUS lift model not only considers the kinematics of lift movement, it also takes into consideration human behaviour in using lifts such as the willingness for people to wait for a lift in a crowded environment during an emergency. These new capabilities represent a quantum leap in the sophistication offered by buildingEXODUS, and will help to maintain the software as one of the most advanced crowd simulation packages available."
The new release, Version 6.0, incorporates significant new modelling features allowing for the first time the simulation of evacuation and circulation in buildings using lifts/elevators. The new features include:
The sophistication of buildingEXODUS has made it one of the World's leading design tools for simulating evacuation from buildings. Since its launch in October 1996, the package has been used by engineering consultancies, architects, research laboratories, regulatory authorities, police forces, fire brigades and universities in 38 countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK and the USA. The package has been used to model the evacuation capabilities of a wide range of proposed or existing buildings and crowd situations, from the Love Parade disaster analysis to the Beijing Olympics, from the 911 WTC investigation to the Statue of Liberty redevelopment. The software is used in design analysis for underground stations, high-rise buildings, hospitals, shopping complexes, school buildings, museums, theatres, airport terminals, sports stadia, external crowd events -- virtually any type of situation involving the gathering or movement of people.
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