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Behavioural Performance of People during Circulation and Movement in Building Environments



Over the next few months the Fire Safety Engineering Group of the University of Greenwich will be undertaking a series of experimental trials investigating people interaction within the built environment.  This research will contribute to improving the design of buildings for both normal people circulation and emergency movement.  We are looking for test subjects to contribute to this important and worthwhile research.   Volunteers will be required to enter a building via a staircase, climb a single flight of stairs unaided and navigate around the first floor of the building. Volunteers will not be exposed to any conditions that would not be expected during normal movement within an office environment. The trials will take place  in one of the historic buildings on the Maritime Campus of the university located in Greenwich.

If you are interested please read on.


The purpose of this study is to better understand the nature of human interaction with building configuration and layout. The project will attempt to collect human performance data relating to the behavioural responses of people during circulation and movement within arbitrarily complex building environments. The study consists of a number of trials involving volunteers simply moving through an unfamiliar building space.  The actions of the volunteers will be recorded on video allowing for later detailed analysis of their actions and performance.  The data collected will extend our understanding of how people interact with building spaces and ultimately to the design of more people friendly and safer building environments.  The data collected will also contribute to improving computer simulation tools used to simulate both pedestrian movement and evacuation in buildings.

The nature of the experiments cannot be revealed at this point in time as knowledge of the precise purpose of the experiments will bias the results generated.  However, it can be stated that participants will not be expected to do anything that they would not normally do in moving around a typical building environment.

This work is sponsored by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.



The trials will take place in one of the historic buildings on the Maritime Campus of the University of Greenwich located in Greenwich. Some 120 volunteers representing a broad distribution of age ranges, genders, mobility levels and social backgrounds are required.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of these trials, people under the age of 18 or who have severe mobility impairments/disabilities or who have severe vision impairment cannot participate.

Individual participants will be asked to navigate their way around the selected building interior until they reach a defined exit.  Participants will be free to select their own route through the building and will proceed until the end point is reached or a member of staff indicates the trial has ended. 

Participants will be equipped with head gear fitted with a video recording device that will effectively record what they see.  The actions and behaviour of the participants will also be recorded by video cameras located at fixed points throughout the building.

At the end of the trials, participants will be requested to complete a questionnaire and participate in a one-to-one interview.  Once started, the entire process will require approximately 25 minutes however, participants may be requested to wait prior to the start of the trial or prior to completing the questionnaire/interview (The start time and the duration can be flexible to meet your own preference).




(a) Miniaturized recording equipment, with digital camera fixed to head gear worn by participants. (b) Participant wearing head gear and camera.


Trials are planned for to take place throughout the next six months. More  information will be available on this web site when it is available. A full schedule will be posted when available.


If you are interested in participating in the trials please contact the following people:

Mr Hui Xie
Email: H.Xie@gre.ac.uk

At this stage we simply require to know your age and gender, contact information (phone number and email address) and availability.  If you have any date/time preferences please let us know.