People Choice Modelling for Evacuation of Tall Buildings


Modelling people behaviour during emergencies has become an essential issue in attempting to increase safety aspects in buildings. This paper evaluates people’s choice behaviour for evacuation of tall buildings. A Stated Preference (SP) questionnaire was designed to understand underlying factors behind people behaviour and predict the likelihood of selecting evacuation lifts as opposed to stairs. Various scenarios including six different navigational cases, three levels for the density of people on stairs, three different number of people in the lift lobby and three vertical positions for refuge floors were administrated to 566 participants. A mixed logit model approach was then used to investigate how those factors influence the occupant’s decision-making as well as to capture the heterogeneity of different preferences among people. Traditionally, lifts were not allowed to be used in case of emergency, but the results indicate that people would tend to choose evacuation lifts in situations when they are suggested as the main exit option, and situations when stairs are overcrowded. Thus, if people are navigated by dynamic signs to use evacuation lifts, the percentage of lift users could go approximately from 70% to 80% for refuge floors between 15 and 55, respectively. In contrast, in situations when people have to make a decision between using lifts or stairs to evacuate, stairwells with fewer people as well as overcrowded refuge floors could lead to a decision in favour of stairs. This study represents the first SP experiment combining people decisions, pre-event opinions and beliefs related to evacuation lifts and stairs to understand their route choices for evacuation from tall buildings. The findings of this study can be used in the development of behavioural models for evacuation simulations of tall buildings.

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Correspondence to Mitko Aleksandrov.

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Aleksandrov, M., Rajabifard, A., Kalantari, M. et al. People Choice Modelling for Evacuation of Tall Buildings. Fire Technol 54, 1171–1193 (2018).

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  • Evacuation
  • Human behaviour
  • Refuge floors
  • Evacuation lifts
  • Tall buildings