A Pilot Study Using Virtual Reality to Investigate the Effects of Emergency Egress Signs Competing with Environmental Variables on Route Choices
Emergencies (e.g., fire egress) into complex buildings are stressful situations which can provoke unexpected, undesired and sometimes unsafety behaviors in the users. Thus, the main objective of this pilot study was to investigate the relative influence of new technology-based exit signs, when compared to the conventional static ISO-type counterparts, in the users’ wayfinding behavior during an emergency egress. A critical situation was designed in which the environmental variables and exit signs, at the 12 decision points, were giving conflicting directional information. Thirty participants were randomly assigned to the two groups (i.e., Static signs and dynamic signs), and their route-choices in the 12 decision points displaced along a route into a virtual hotel were collected using a Virtual Reality-based methodology. Findings suggest that for the group exposed to static ISO-type exit signs, the reliance on environmental variables decreased along the egress route, and for the first intersection about 73% of participants preferred to follow by the direction which was the opposite of that posted on the egress sign. However, when technology-based signs were used, the influence of the environmental variables was weak from the first decision point to the end, as suggested by a compliance rate with the exit signs reaching almost 98% along the entire route.
KeywordsEmergency egress wayfinding virtual reality technology-based signs exit signs
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 3.Vilar, E.: Using Virtual Reality to Study the Influence of Environmental Variables to Enhance Wayfinding within Complex Buildings. In: Ergonomics 2012. University of Lisbon, Lisbon (2012)Google Scholar
- 5.Ishihara, S.: Test for Colour-Blindness, 38th edn. Kanehara & Co., Ltd., Tokyo (1988)Google Scholar
- 6.Vilar, E., et al.: The influence of environmental features on route selection in an emergency situation. Applied ErgonomicsGoogle Scholar
- 7.International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Graphical Symbols - Safety Colors and Safety Signs. Part 1: Design Principles for safety Signs in Workplaces and Public Areas. ISO 3864-1. International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland (2002)Google Scholar
- 8.Kennedy, R.S., Hettinger, L.J., Lilienthal, M.G.: Simulator sickness. In: Crampton, G.H. (ed.) Motion and Space Sickness, pp. 317–342. CRC Press, Boca Raton (1990)Google Scholar