Flows: Directed Crowds of people flowing across each other, in NYCSubway
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12/12/2016 at 10:22:23 PM GMT
Posts: 12
Flows: Directed Crowds of people flowing across each other, in NYCSubway

Is there a literature on the the movement of crowds of people, call them flows, where they are directed (that is they are deliberately going in a direction), and how those flows interact with flows of people going against them or across them. This should be a standard issue in urban planning and transport. What got me thinking about this was watching two crossflows at the Union Square station of the New York City Subway. Each flow was coming out of a different stairway onto the Mezzanine-- and eventually they crossed paths. Of course, some people split off in their own paths, but there was a remarkable coherence of each flow. and both flows maintained themselves as people emerged from the intersection area. (What might be happening is that whatever mess there is in the intersection area, the people know where they are going and just resume their directed flow.) At football halftimes there are such phenomena, highly choreographed, often by the bands. But what is interesting to me is how these flows are apparently self-organized in the Subway Mezzanine. There are no marked paths, etc. Again, this might be simply a matter of people attending to where they are going, the intersection with cross flows not having much consequence.

I suspect this is a big topic, and my request for some leads will only reveal my ignorance of the literature. Please help.



12/19/2016 at 7:28:35 PM GMT
Posts: 1

There is a large literature on pedestrian dynamics. Some of it even uses simulations of ants to see how people move in the ways you describe, and much of it is based on both subway station flows, but also evacuation planning. VISSIM, a traffic simulation model has a pedestrian simulation method http://vision-traffic.ptvgroup.com/en-uk/products/ptv-viswalk/ I believe this is based on the social forces model of Dirk Hebling http://vision.cse.psu.edu/courses/Tracking/vlpr12/HelbingSocialForceModel95.pdf (lots of math here, I don't pretend to follow it all). A quick search also turned up this ant dynamics paper: http://www.thp.uni-koeln.de/~as/Bionics.pdf I think there is more recent work in this area, but I have not followed it.


12/19/2016 at 7:31:31 PM GMT
Posts: 1
Hi Martin,

In 1975 Pushkaren and Zupan in the book Urban Space for Pedestrians pulled together a number of studies of pedestrian behavior. Indeed, they noted that pedestrians often formed packs, which they called "platoons," and called the process "platooning." The attributed this to effects of pedestrian street crossings (people would back up at the red light, then set off together) and even the opening and closing of elevators. The opening and closing of subway doors could do the same. Ernie Sternberg, University at Buffalo

12/19/2016 at 10:19:09 PM GMT
Posts: 1
As noted, there is a lot of research on pedestrian crowd dynamics, often focusing on large, recurring events (e.g. Hajj in Mecca, sporting events, etc.) or evacuation planning. For example, a search of the TRID database using "pedestrian crowd" found this (among many others)

Title: A hybrid simulation-assignment modeling framework for crowd dynamics in large-scale pedestrian facilities
Record URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2016.02.011
Record URL: http://www.sciencedirect....icle/pii/S0965856416000458


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