Fire Technology

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 29–42 | Cite as

Experimental Study of Elevator Loading and Unloading Time During Evacuation in High-Rise Buildings

  • Ning Ding
  • Tao ChenEmail author
  • Hui Zhang


To date, there are various types of elevators, such as evacuation elevators, that are being utilized during high-rise building evacuations in several countries, in accordance with their respective building codes. In order to enhance the effectiveness of elevator evacuation, evacuees’ behaviors should be better understood, in this way taking human behavior into consideration will allow for elevators to be better utilized. However, there are few studies on this topic since nearly no elevator evacuation events or experiments have been previously recorded. In this paper, 64 experiments were carried out to study how evacuees behave and what factors influence their behaviors during evacuation. Several key data, such as elevator loading and unloading time, time to open and close elevator doors were collected. We found that loading time (6.0 s) is much shorter than the time to open and close the doors (15.4 s). According to our findings, the number of evacuees influences evacuees’ behaviors when using elevators, but smoke does not. Furthermore, the shapes of queuing, such as arch and line, will influence the duration of time for evacuees going through elevator doors. The evacuees in the arch shape (5.3 s) pass faster than those in the line shape (6.4 s). Several interesting phenomena were observed in our experiments, such as push, hesitation, re-entering the elevator, stair-preference, and social bonding. Finally, several suggestions, such as the width of doors and the design of elevator lobbies, are proposed to building designers on the issues mentioned above. The basic data of our experiments can be used to calibrate and validate elevator evacuation simulations.


Elevator evacuation Loading/unloading time Experiments Human behaviors 



This work was partially supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program No. 2012CB719705), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 91224008, 91024032), Tsinghua-UTC Research Institute for Integrated Building Energy, Safety and Control Systems, and the United Technologies Research Center. The authors appreciate support for this paper by the Collaborative Innovation Center of Public Safety.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Criminal Investigation SchoolPeople’s Public Security University of ChinaBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Public Safety ResearchTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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