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!
Modular storage tank for tight spaces
16.03.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice
17.01.2017 | EML European Media Laboratory GmbH
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences