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The Effect of Raised Walkway Design on Evacuation Behaviour in Rail Tunnels

Vermina Lundström F., Ahlfont J. and Nilsson, D., 2014. The Effect of Raised Walkway Design on Evacuation Behaviour in Rail Tunnels. Fire Safety Science 11: 1091-1102. 10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.11-1091


The use of raised walkways in rail tunnels has the potential to significantly improve evacuation conditions, however there is limited research that has so far focused on walkway design from an evacuation perspective. An experiment was therefore performed to explore the effect of walkway design, namely walkway width and evacuation aids, on evacuation behaviour, e.g., people’s perception, movement speeds and flow rate. The results indicate that a walkway width of more than approximately one metre (0.9 to 1.05 m) leads to higher movement speeds and increased sense of safety. Handrails and a tactile edge marker are often appreciated evacuation aids as they are perceived as facilitating and safety-enhancing features. Based on the results, a correlation between flow rate and walkway width has been developed. This correlation and the collected data may potentially be used in future cost-benefit analyses to shed light on the most appropriate walkway design for specific tunnels.


rail tunnels, evacuation, human behaviour, walkway, experiment, underground rail transportation system

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