The data sets will ensure that architects, engineers, emergency planners and others involved in building design have a strong technical basis for safer, more cost-effective building evacuations.
"While stairs have been used in buildings for ages, there is little scientific understanding of how people use them," explained NIST researcher Erica Kuligowski. "For example, we know little of how the width of the stair affects the flow rate, whether people grow fatigued as they descend from tall buildings, or how people merge into a crowded stairwell."
Working with the Public Buildings Service at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), NIST researchers made video recordings of evacuation drills in stairwells at nine buildings ranging in height from six to 62 stories tall. The first data sets being released (available at www.nist.gov/bfrl/fire_research/building-occupant-evacuation.cfm) come from four of the buildings and include movement information on more than 3,000 people. Other evacuation data will be posted on the NIST Web site as it becomes available.
NIST researchers have already reported analysis of some of the underlying data at human behavior and fire conferences and will report more in the future. These reports, like most egress studies, provide their findings, but without the raw data.
"The raw data NIST is providing will help to ensure that GSA and others have the scientific basis necessary to provide safe and cost-effective building evacuation," said Kuligowski.
GSA provided research funding support for the project. NIST researchers hope that making the data available will help to develop new evacuation models, provide assessment of the accuracy of existing egress models, and ensure that building owners and managers have a sound basis for evacuation planning.
Before each drill, researchers positioned video cameras to record an overhead view of the evacuation that would not interfere with occupants evacuating the building. Images were pixilated to protect the identity of the building occupants. In most experiments, cameras captured a view of that floor's main landing, the door opening into the stairwell and two to three steps on both sides of the main landing.
Using the videos, researchers developed spreadsheets of data on people's movements. For each occupant, researchers noted the time the individual first entered the video and captured data about their movements until they left the building. Additionally, researchers noted other factors that might influence speed, including the number of people in close proximity, whether they were helping another person, and whether they were carrying something. They also noted if the occupant handrail was used and how much space the person occupied in the stairwell.
"These data will allow researchers to calculate movement speeds of people traveling down stairs as a function of stair width, occupant density, total distance traveled, and merging characteristics at stair landings that could influence updating building safety requirements," Kuligowki said.
This knowledge also will assist in building design and perhaps influence standards on how occupants evacuate during emergencies, she added.
Evelyn Brown | EurekAlert!
Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice
17.01.2017 | EML European Media Laboratory GmbH
Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes
16.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction