Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Evacuating 70,000 sports fans in less than an hour?

12.04.2010
Rehearse it with 70,000 avatars

What sports fan hasn't grumbled while waiting in a long, snaking lines to get into the stadium for the big game? It's enough to discourage even a diehard fan. But if you think it's a hassle getting into a sold-out game, imagine trying to get out after a bomb explodes—or even to get out under a bomb threat, for that matter.

Let's start with the emergency lights failing. If you're thinking of feeling your way out by the light of your cell phone, join the crowd—they're right beside you, pushing fifty-across and a thousand-deep in a stampede. It's everyone for himself.

Scenes like this may sound like a trailer for a Hollywood thriller (think Black Sunday), but their grim prospect is all-too-real. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI jointly warned of terrorist interest in attacking crowded stadiums. Small wonder: A bomb or noxious plume released over a throng of captive sports fans would cause major-league mayhem and terror.

Mindful of the threat, stadium sentinels have been laying plans to manage and minimize the anarchy that would follow such an attack. Just how would authorities whisk 70,000 people out the gates and onto the roads quickly and safely? For an evacuation on this scale, there are no dress rehearsals or practice drills—just simulation software.

Now, a new breed of simulation software—dubbed SportEvac—is being funded by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) as part of the Southeast Region Research Initiative (SERRI), and developed and tested by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi.

"SportEvac isn't simply more realistic," says program manager Mike Matthews of S&T's Infrastructure and Geophysical Division. It will become a national standard."

Using blueprints from actual stadiums, the developers are creating virtual, 3D e stadiums, packed with as many as 70,000 avatars—animated human agents programmed to respond to threats as unpredictably as humans. Security planners will be able to see how 70,000 fans would behave¯and misbehave¯when spooked by a security threat.

But a SportEvac avatar need not be a sports fan. The simulation includes make-believe stadium workers, first responders, even objects, such as a fire trucks or a fan's car. SportEvac tracks them all, accounting for scenarios both probable and improbable.

Simulating thousands of people and cars can impose a crushing load on software and hardware. That's why, unlike SportEvac, most evacuation software apps are unable to simulate a crowd much larger than 5,000. For a college or NFL football game, that's bush-league.

Beyond scaling problems, earlier simulators did not account for the myriad variations that make human behavior hard to predict and human structures hard to simulate. How adversely, for example, would an evacuation be impaired if an audible were called—a wet floor, a wheelchair, a stubborn aisle-seater, a fan fetching a forgotten bag, or an inebriated bleacher bum?

Conventional evacuation simulators couldn't say. SportEvac can. And like an open-source Web browser, the SportEvac software will get better and better because it's built on open, modular code. If your IT intern creates a module that can more accurately predict parking lot gridlock, just plug it in. This also means it can be customized for any sports arena.

By simulating how sports fans would behave in the minutes following an attack, SportEvac will help security experts across the country to plan and train and answer key questions, such as:

How can my stadium be evacuated in the shortest time?
How can civil emergency workers quickly get in as fans are dashing out?
How can our stadium guards and ushers provide valuable information to civil responders and assist them as the evacuation unfolds?

"Interoperability is also a key goal," says Lou Marciani, NCS4 Director, who serves as the S&T project's principal investigator. Stadium security officers can use SportEvac to rehearse and refine procedures with civil responders. During a real evacuation, guards might use the same radios as the civil responders. And for every usher with a smartphone, a "SportEvac Lite" application will graphically show where fans or cars are bottlenecked.

Drawing on actual architectural CAD data, the Mississippi researchers are creating 3D virtual models of seven of the state's college sports stadiums. This year, in summits and workshops, security teams from the university athletic departments will test and refine SportEvac, with help from local police, Mississippi Homeland Security agents, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, and security specialists from pro sports. It will then be deployed to the seven state universities. Once the schools give it the green light, S&T will make the advanced version available to other universities, pro sports venues, and amateur sports organizations.

While not quite as immersive as the recent 3-D movie Avatar, SportEvac will create a safe, virtual stadium where security teams can practice guiding fans to safety, without risking life, limb, or lawsuit.

John Verrico | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dhs.gov

Further reports about: DHS Evacuating Homeland NCS4 Security Forum SportEvac homeland security sports fan

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano
20.10.2017 | Brown University

nachricht New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>