zbMATH — the first resource for mathematics

Self-organization phenomena in pedestrian crowds. (English) Zbl 0926.91068
Schweitzer, Frank (ed.), Self-organization of complex structures. From individual to collective dynamics. Foreword by Hermann Haken. Reading: Gordon and Breach. 569-577 (1997).
Although group dynamics has always been a fascinating field of research, many phenomena of collective behavior patterns are still only qualitatively understood. Apart from the complexity of social phenomena, one serious problem is that many variables (quantities) which influence human behavior are hardly measurable. For this reason, pedestrian crowds are an ideal object of social research: All essential quantities like places, speeds, and walking directions of pedestrians as well as locations of obstacles and attractions, etc. can be easily and exactly determined. Moreover, a large amount of data has already been collected.
We describe some of our observations concerning pedestrian motion. Afterwards a new model for the behavior of pedestrians and their interactions with the developed environment and other pedestrians will be presented. By means of computer simulations we will demonstrate that this model is able to explain the formation of the observed self-organization phenomena. Finally, it is shown that self-organization effects can be utilized for an optimization of pedestrian flows. That means, computer simulations like the ones presented can provide a powerful tool for designing and planning pedestrian facilities like subway or railway stations, pedestrian precincts, shopping malls, or big buildings.
For the entire collection see [Zbl 0913.00025].

91D99 Mathematical sociology (including anthropology)