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The Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities

Vertical Transport Evacuation Modelling

Michael Kinsey



Within any high-rise structure or underground/subway station, occupants often heavily rely on vertical transport devices (e.g. escalators, lifts, etc) to travel vertically between levels. Typically such devices provide a faster and more comfortable means to travel than the equivalent stairs. Such devices also provide an additional means for occupant egress. However, the provision for utilising such devices in actual buildings for evacuations is rare. Despite a select number of structures throughout the world allowing the use of vertical transport devices within evacuation scenarios, little is understood with regards to evacuation vertical transport strategies and to what extent such strategies may be influenced by associated human factors. This thesis is intended to address this lack of understanding.

The thesis provides an in depth review of evacuation usage of vertical transport devices in actual evacuations, their provision in building codes, empirical studies analysing human factors, representation within simulated environments, and analysis of previously explored operational strategies. The review provides a broad set of research questions that the thesis is intended to address. Human factors data associated with vertical transport device usage have been collected via an online survey and video analysis. The data analysis has instructed the development of the vertical transport device models and associated agent models within the buildingEXODUS evacuation software. The models include the representation of device selection, the influence of local conditions in close proximity to a device, and the influence of wait time upon device selection. The developed models have been used to demonstrate the influence of different vertical transport strategies and to what extent such strategies are influenced by human factors. Finally, the thesis concludes by summarising the increased understanding achieved through the work presented.



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