Waiting pedestrians in the social force model

Publisher's full text

Microscopic simulation of pedestrian traffic is an important and increasingly popular method to evaluate the performance of existing or proposed infrastructure. The social force model is a common model in simulations, describing the dynamics of pedestrian crowds given the goals of the simulated pedestrians encoded as their preferred velocities.

The main focus of the literature has so far been how to choose the preferred velocities to produce realistic dynamic route choices for pedestrians moving through congested infrastructure. However, limited attention has been given the problem of choosing the preferred velocity to produce other behaviors, such as waiting, commonly occurring at, e.g., public transport interchange stations.

We hypothesize that: (1) the inclusion of waiting pedestrians in a simulated scenario will significantly affect the level of service for passing pedestrians, and (2) the details of the waiting model affect the predicted level of service, that is, it is important to choose an appropriate model of waiting.

We show that the treatment of waiting pedestrians have a significant impact on simulations of pedestrian traffic. We do this by introducing a series of extensions to the social force model to produce waiting behavior, and provide predictions of the model extensions that highlight their differences. We also present a sensitivity analysis and provide sufficient criteria for stability.

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