FSEG LOGO FIRE SAFETY ENGINEERING GROUP The Queen's Anniversary Prize 2002 The British Computer Society IT Awards 2001 The European IST Prize Winner 2003 The Guardian University Awards Winner 2014
The Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities


Ashish Kirori



The ability to use signage information to wayfind and determine the location of facilities within buildings is an important component in the successful use of the space. In reality, there are various types of signs (routes, services, location, etc.) for general circulation and evacuation procedures, which normally form a chain along the intended route that leads to the desired target location within the premises or a place of safety; the signs do not work in isolation. Despite the importance of signage information in helping occupant identify and follow the intended route, the effectiveness of signage, depending on the design of the signage system, the environmental conditions and the viewer attributes, etc. have been generally ignored in most evacuation/pedestrian models. A few evacuation models such as PEDROUTE, buildingEXODUS and MASSEgress do have a representation of emergency exit signs allowing agents to detect signs and use this information to find a way out of the structure. However, this is mostly based on the detection and interaction with a single sign. Representing the interaction between agents and a series of signs is crucial to properly simulate peopleís wayfinding behaviour, especially in an unfamiliar environment.

The work presented in this thesis is about a new signage-based navigation model developed specifically to improve the representation of the interaction between agents and series of signs in evacuation modelling (and potentially circulation modelling). The enhancement to evacuation modelling in terms of the agent wayfinding through this work includes: combining signage (with direction) and navigational graph to expand agentís visual perception of the environment and sense of direction, introducing a preliminary form of cognitive understanding of the building layout through memory and providing individual level decision-making capability for wayfinding in both familiar and unfamiliar environments. The new model allows the simulation of the agentís active wayfinding behaviour through detecting the signs in a chain to follow the intended route. The model also allows the agents to build up and use individual navigational experiences to search a way out when there is imperfect signage information (e.g. an incomplete signage chain) or even a lack of signage information.

The new signage-based navigation model was implemented within the buildingEXODUS evacuation simulation tool using C++ programming language. The model can also potentially be implemented within other evacuation and circulation simulation tools to allow the study of the effectiveness of signage systems in a built environment. The enhanced capability of the new model has been verified through a series of verification cases and the improvement over the existing signage model within buildingEXODUS has been demonstrated through evacuation analysis performed over a hypothetical evacuation scenario.

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