Incidents in high-volume elongated crowd facilities: A simulation-based study

Ahmed Abdelghany*, Hani Mahmassani, Khaled Abdelghany, Hasan Al-Ahmadi, Wael Alhalabi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper presents the main findings of a simulation-based study to evaluate incidents in pedestrian/crowd tunnels and similar elongated confined facilities, with high-volume heterogeneous traffic. These incidents, when occur, imposes hazardous conditions that always result in significant number of fatalities. The aim of this study is to understand how these facilities perform under different irregular scenarios and possibly identify potential causes of accidents. The problem of studying incidents in large-scale high-volume pedestrian facilities is that these incidents are difficult to expect or replicate. Thus, studying these facilities through real-life scenarios is almost impossible. Accordingly, a micro-simulation assignment model for multidirectional pedestrian movement is used for this purpose. The model adopts a Cellular Automata (CA) discrete system, which allows detailed representation of the pedestrians’ walkways in the tunnel. The modeling approach captures crowd dynamics through representation of behavioral decisions of heterogeneous pedestrians at the individual level. Several experiments are conducted to study the pedestrian flow in the proposed tunnel considering different operational scenarios including demand levels, heterogeneous traffic, evacuation scenario, and tunnel blockage. Results show that flow of large pedestrian volumes through a long confined linear structure, such as a tunnel, are subject to the same flow dynamics as we observe with vehicular traffic. In particular, they are subject to the formation of “clumps” and shock waves that can rapidly propagate and lead to inefficient operation, including flow breakdown with stop-and-go waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-843
Number of pages21
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Pedestrians
  • accidents
  • cellular-automata
  • crowds
  • evacuation
  • incidents
  • micro-simulation
  • tunnels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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