Natural Hazards

, Volume 82, Issue 2, pp 1259–1278 | Cite as

Experimental study of the stability of pedestrians exposed to urban pluvial flooding

  • Eduardo Martínez-GomarizEmail author
  • Manuel Gómez
  • Beniamino Russo
Original Paper


Populations in urban environments are extremely mobile throughout the day and in various weather conditions; accounting for this pedestrian mobility and security becomes high importance. Research into the security and stability of the pedestrian environment under exposure to critical water flows provides an essential knowledge base with which the associated hazard unto them can be critically evaluated. This research seeks to analyse degrees of hazard in relation to persons exposed to high-volume rain events in urban areas. Several human trials of critical urban flows were conducted in order to determine the stability limits of pedestrians, crossing through a water flow in a real-scale physic model. Additionally, the critical first step from a dry footpath into fast-flowing water is considered and an assessment of the tested subjects’ emotional responses when entering and crossing flooded roadways was carried out. Results from this study are compared with various proposed human stability criteria as well as alternatives proposed in other written works. The presented study offers a stability threshold focused on shallow depths and high-velocity conditions, the most common urban flooding conditions.


Urban flood risk Hazard Drainage system Pedestrian stability 



The corresponding author wishes to thank the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness for the personal financial collaboration in relation to the Scholarship with reference: BES-2012-051781.

Compliance with ethical standards


This work is framed on the research project Criterios de riesgo a aplicar en el diseño de sistemas de captación ante inundaciones en medio urbano. This research project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness with code CGL2011-26958.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 24237 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FLUMEN Research InstituteTechnical University of CataloniaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Group of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, Technical College of La Almunia (EUPLA)University of ZaragozaZaragozaSpain

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